Born: January 15, 1957
Date of Birth: January 15, 1957
Hailing from Mexico City, Van Peebles was dead keen on having a job in the entertainment business, like his dad. Taking his father's advice on getting an education first, Van Peebles attended Columbia University to study economics. After graduating, he entered the work force as a budget analyst for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
A year later, he decided it was time to start his acting career, and left his job to get work on the stage. Using modeling and theater work in off-Broadway plays to pay the bills, Van Peebles received his first television acting gig in the early '80s, with a role on the soap opera One Life to Live as Doc Gilmore. The exposure led to more work, most notably, guest appearances on The Cosby Show and parts in feature films like The Cotton Club, Exterminator II, Rappin', and Heartbreak Ridge (1986).
In the late '80s, Van Peebles received his first chance to direct his own starring series, Sonny Spoon (1988). He enjoyed the experience and went on to direct episodes of Wiseguy, 21 Jump Street, and others, including an afterschool special, Malcolm Takes a Shot, in which he also appeared. He has directed music videos for the Coconuts, Nighttrain, and Kid Creole as well.
The '90s saw his directing talent in feature films for the first time. New Jack City was released in 1991, along with much controversy over the violent content of the film. Although some theatres refused to show it, the film became one of the largest hits of the year. He went on to direct other films like Posse (1993) and Panther (1995), but neither was capable of duplicating the success of New Jack City.
Never abandoning time in front of the camera, Van Peebles took the lead role in the action flick, Solo (1996), about a humanoid android designed not only to follow his programming, but also to learn. He also landed starring roles in the telefilm Mama Flora's Family, and features such as Love Kills (1998) (which he also wrote) and Ali (2001) playing Malcolm X.
He played his father, actor Melvin Van Peebles, in the biographical homage Baadasssss! (2004).
The Hebrew Hammer (2003)
Raw Nerve (1999)
Love Kills (1998)
Crazy Six (1998)
Los Locos (1997)
In the Living Years (1994)
Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)
New Jack City (1991)
Identity Crisis (1989)
Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
Heartbreak Ridge (1986)
Last Resort (1986)
South Bronx Heroes (1985)
The Cotton Club (1984)
Delivery Boys (1984)
Exterminator 2 (1984)
Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song (1971)