- 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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