Fast Facts

  • As a child, lived in various parts of Europe before his family moved to San Francisco, where they settled.   
  • First movie role was in the 1971 crime-drama Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which was produced and directed by his father, Melvin Van Peebles.
  • In 1979, worked as a budget analyst for New York City Mayor Ed Koch's office.  
  • Earned an NAACP Image Award for his performance as Stitch in the 1986 drama flick Heartbreak Ridge.  
  • First regular prime-time TV role was the lead in the 1988 NBC crime-drama Sonny Spoon. He also directed several episodes.  
  • Received a Directors Guild Award nomination in 1990 for work on Malcolm Takes a Shot, an ABC After School Special. 
  • Film directorial debut was the 1991 crime-drama New Jack City, in which he also starred.     
  • Directed episodes of the 2011 Starz drama show Boss.


  • 2005, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Screenplay: Nominee
  • 2005, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Feature: Nominee
  • 2005, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Director: Nominee


  • Maria Marx — Mother
  • Morgana Van Peebles — Daughter
  • Max Van Peebles — Brother
  • Chitra Sukhu Van Peebles — Wife
  • Megan Van Peebles — Sister
  • Makaylo Van Peebles — Son
  • Marley Van Peebles — Son
  • Maya Van Peebles — Daughter
  • Melvin Van Peebles — Father
  • Mandela Van Peebles — Son


  • Columbia University, New York, NY (BA in Economics)

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  • Birth Place: Mexico City, Mexico
  • Birthday: January 15, 1957, Capricorn
  • Profession: Actor, Director
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