Melvin Van Peebles Biography – Wiki
Melvin Van Peebles was an American actor, filmmaker, playwright, novelist, and composer, he passed away. He was known for creating and starring in the Sweet Sweetback film Baadasssss Song. He was the father of actor and director Mario Van Peebles.
Born Melvin Peebles, in Chicago, Illinois, his father was a tailor. In 1954, Melvin graduated with a B.A. in literature from Ohio Wesleyan University and, thirteen days later, he joined the Air Force, serving for three and a half years.
The author, who created classic films like ‘Watermelon Man’ and ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song’, was notably the father of famous actor and director Mario Van Peebles. News of Melvin’s death on September 21 was announced in a joint statement by his family, Janus Films, and The Criterion Collection: “In an incomparable career distinguished by relentless innovation, boundless curiosity, and spiritual empathy, Melvin Van Peebles left an indelible mark on the international cultural scene through his films, novels, plays, and music.
Melvin Van Peebles has died at the age of 89-years-old.
The statement adds: “His work remains essential and is being celebrated at the New York Film Festival this weekend with a 50th-anniversary screening of his landmark film ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song’; a Criterion Collection box, Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films, next week, and a rerun of his play ‘A Natural Death Isn’t Supposed To Die,’ scheduled to return to Broadway next year. ” The Chicago-based director served as an inspiration for today’s black filmmakers like Spike Lee and John Singleton.
Van Peebles is known for ushering in the era of ‘Blaxploitation’ in Hollywood, who was described by The New York Times as “the first black man in show business to beat the white man at his own game.” The filmmaker, novelist, actor, composer, musician, and painter was born on August 21, 1932, as the son of a tailor in Chicago. He earned a BA in literature from Ohio Wesleyan University and also served in the Air Force.
His encounter with film began in his youth while he was working as a cable car driver in San Francisco. One passenger, who discovered that he was a passionate creator, suggested that he should try his hand at the movies. His debut occurred with the short film ‘Pickup Men for Herrick’ in 1957. After making a series of three short films, Van Peebles landed in Hollywood to seek work as a director. But he was unsuccessful and even decided to move to the Netherlands with his family where he wanted to study astronomy.
Fortunately, however, he met the founder of the avant-garde Cinema 16 Amos Vogel on his way to Europe. Vogel placed two of Van Peebles’s short films in his catalog.
Van Peebles still moved to the Netherlands and studied at the Dutch National Theater. In fact, it was in Holland that he added the epithet Van to his last name.
Wife & Children
Melvin Van Peebles married Maria Marx. They lived in Mexico for a period in the late 1950s, where he painted portraits. His son, actor, and director Mario Van Peebles was born while they were residing in Mexico. Later, the family returned to the United States.
Aside from directing, Van Peebles had also starred in movies like ‘O.C. and Stiggs’, ‘Jaws: The Revenge’, ‘Boomerang’, ‘Last Action Hero’, ‘Peeples’ and’ The Hebrew Hammer ‘. He also acted in television series such as ‘All My Children’, ‘Living Single, ‘In the Heat of the Night’ and ‘Girlfriends’. Van Peebles, the winner of a Daytime Emmy and Humanitas Award, is also the author of several books.
Cause of Death
African-American filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles often hailed as the godfather of modern film noir tragically died. Van Peebles died on September 21, 2021, at his home in Manhattan at the age of 89.
While the cause of his death is not exactly certain, it is believed that he passed away from natural age-related complications.