Spike Lee

Born Shelton Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Ga., Spike Lee moved with his parents to Brooklyn, N.Y., when he was just a boy. He attended the Tisch School of the Arts graduate film program and won a student Academy Award for his short film Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (1983).

Lee caught the nation's attention with She's Gotta Have It (1986), in which he also starred. His racially charged works continued with School Daze and Do the Right Thing (1989), which earned Lee an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Throughout his career, Lee has balanced controversial subjects in works such as Jungle Fever, Malcolm X and Bamboozled with more mainstream profiles of New York life, such as Clockers, Summer of Sam and 25th Hour. He also made a name for himself as a documentary filmmaker with the Oscar-nominated 4 Little Girls (1997) and Jim Brown: All American (2002).