Net Worth: $40 Million
- Source of Wealth Film
- Birth Place Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
- Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)
- Full Name Shelton Jackson Lee
- Nationality American
- Date of Birth March 20, 1957
- Ethnicity African American with Cameroonian, Nigerien roots
- Occupation Actor, Director, Producer, Screenwriter
American film director, producer, writer, and actor, Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee has an estimated net worth of $40 million. While African-American filmmakers have been a staple of the cinematic landscape since the pioneering work of Oscar Micheaux during the ’20s, none have had the same cultural or artistic impact as Spike Lee. As a writer, director, actor, producer, author, and entrepreneur, Lee has revolutionized the role of black talent in Hollywood, tearing away decades of stereotypes and marginalized portrayals to establish a new arena for African-American voices to be heard. His movies — a series of outspoken and provocative socio-political critiques informed by an unwavering commitment toward challenging cultural assumptions not only about race but also class and gender identity — both solidified his own standing as one of contemporary cinema’s most influential figures and furthered the careers of actors including Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, and Laurence Fishburne. Along the way, Lee even cleared a path for up-and-coming black filmmakers such as John Singleton, Matty Rich, Darnell Martin, Ernest Dickerson (Lee’s one-time cinematographer), and Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes. Born Shelton Jackson Lee in Atlanta, GA, on March 20, 1957, he was raised in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. The son of jazz musician Bill Lee, his first love was sports; an obsessive fan of the New York Knicks basketball club, his initial goal was to become a major-league baseball player. Only while attending Atlanta’s prestigious Morehouse College did Lee’s affection for film begin to surface, and while earning a degree in mass communications he returned to New York to make his first movie, 1977′s Last Hustle in Brooklyn, a portrait of the area’s Black and Puerto Rican communities shot with a Super-8 camera during the height of the disco craze. Upon graduating from Morehouse, he enrolled in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, earning his Master of Fine Arts Degree in film production. His senior feature, 1982′s Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, was the first student effort ever showcased in Lincoln Center’s “New Directors, New Films” series, and also garnered the Student Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The success of Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop encouraged Lee to hire representation at the William Morris Agency, but when no studio contracts were forthcoming, he began exploring alternate means of independent financing. After a series of setbacks, he managed to secure 125,000 dollars to produce the stylish and sexy 1986 comedy She’s Gotta Have It, which took the Prix de Jeunesse award at Cannes and earned close to 9 million dollars at the box office. Hollywood soon came calling, and in 1988, he released his major studio debut School Daze; however, it was his third film, 1989′s Do the Right Thing, which launched Lee to the forefront of the American filmmaking community.