Melvin Van Peebles Biography – Melvin Van Peebles Wiki
Melvin Van Peebles was an American actor, filmmaker, playwright, novelist and composer. He was known for directing productions such as the 1971 indie classic “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” “The Story of a Three-Day Pass,” “Watermelon Man” and “Don’t Play Us Cheap.”
Melvin was the father of director and actor Mario Van Peebles. Melvin and Mario Van Peebles teamed on the 1989 film “Identity Crisis,” with Melvin directing and Mario scripting and starring as a rapper possessed by the soul of a dead fashion designer. Melvin appeared in the 1993 Mario Van Peebles-directed “Posse,” in which Mario also starred, as well as in Mario’s Black Panther drama “Panther” (1995), with Melvin adapting the script from his own novel, the Mario Van Peebles-directed “Love Kills (1998) and the Mario-directed “Redemption Road” (2010).
Melvin also acted in the work of others, appearing in the 1991 feature comedy “True Identity”; Reginald Hudlin’s Eddie Murphy vehicle “Boomerang” (1992); big-budget Arnold Schwarzenegger action film “Last Action Hero” (1993); Charlie Sheen action film “Terminal Velocity” (1994); 2003 comedy “The Hebrew Hammer,” in which Melvin reprised the role of Sweetback and Mario also appeared; and Tina Gordon Chism’s 2013 romantic comedy “Peeples,” in which he played Grandpa Peeples.
In 1988 Mario Van Peebles starred in the brief NBC sitcom “Sonny Spoon,” about a private detective, in which his father was also a series regular as the private eye’s bar-owning father. On TV he also made guest appearances on series including “In the Heat of the Night,” “Dream On,” “Living Single” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.”
Melvin was born in Chicago and attended West Virginia State College and then Ohio Wesleyan University, where he earned a B.A. in English literature. He served in the Air Force as a navigator-bombardier for three years.
Van Peebles experimented with career as a painter, and, growing appalled by the racist portrayal of African Americans in movies, made some film shorts as an amateur in the late ’50s and early ’60s. He did stints as a postal worker and, in San Francisco, a cable-car grip — about which he wrote his first book, “The Big Heart,” in 1957. He spent some time in Mexico; in Holland he studied astronomy at the University of Amsterdam and acting at the Dutch National Theater.
Melvin Van Peebles Age
Melvin Peebles was born on August 21, 1932, in Chicago, Illinois. He died on September 21, 2021. He was 89.
Melvin Van Peebles Wife
Melvin was married to German-born actress and photographer Maria Marx in the 1950s. The marriage ended in divorce, but they shared daughter Megan Van Peebles and son Max Van Peebles.
Melvin Van Peebles Children
He had three children, Mario Van Peebles, Megan Van Peebles, and Max Van Peebles.
Melvin Van Peebles Family
In addition to son Mario, Melvin is survived by daughter Megan Van Peebles, an occasional actress, and son Max Van Peebles, an occasional actor and assistant director, and grandchildren.
Melvin Van Peebles Death
Melvin Van Peebles died on Sept. 21 at the age of 89 at his home in Manhattan surrounded by his family, the Criterion Collection and Janus Films announced. The Criterion Collection said: “On behalf of the Van Peebles family, The Criterion Collection and Janus Films are saddened to announce the passing of a giant of American cinema, Melvin Van Peebles, who died last night, at home with family, at the age of 89.
“In an unparalleled career distinguished by relentless innovation, boundless curiosity and spiritual empathy, Melvin Van Peebles made an indelible mark on the international cultural landscape through his films, novels, plays and music. His work continues to be 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 set, Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films next week; and a revival of his play Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, slated for a return to Broadway next year.”
In a brief statement on his father’s passing, Mario Van Peebles, his son and longtime creative collaborator, said, “Dad knew that Black images matter. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what was a movie worth? We want to be the success we see, thus we need to see ourselves being free. True liberation did not mean imitating the colonizer’s mentality. It meant appreciating the power, beauty and interconnectivity of all people.” The Criterion Collection added: “We offer our deepest sympathies to the Van Peebles family.”
Melvin Van Peebles Cause of Death
Melvin Van Peebles’ cause of death was not revealed.
Melvin Van Peebles Net Worth
Melvin Van Peebles’ net worth is estimated to be $3 Million.