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BILL DUKE (Levar) has a wide range of credits to his name in almost every film discipline, including acting, directing, producing and writing. Duke has had co-starring roles in such films as "Never Again” with Jill Clayburgh, "Exit Wounds” with DMX and Steven Segal, "Foolish” with Master P and Eddie Griffin, "The Limey” with Peter Fonda, "Fever” with Henry Thomas, Walter Mosley's "Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned” with Laurence Fishburne, "Payback” with Mel Gibson,” "Blackjaq” with Nia Long, and John Landis' "Susan's Plan” with Dan Aykroyd, Natassja Kinski and Billy Zane.

Earlier credits include "American Gigolo” with Richard Gere, "Predator” and "Commando” with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and "Bird on a Wire” with Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn.

Also in the film world, Duke made an auspicious directorial debut with "The Killing Floor,” starring Damian Leak and the late Moses Gunn. The film garnered a total of 10 awards at film festivals across the globe and was chosen for Director's Fortnight at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival. He followed with "A Rage in Harlem,” based on Chester Himes celebrated novel, starring Forrest Whitaker, Gregory Hines, Danny Glover and Robin Givens. He went on to direct the emotionally harrowing drama "Deep Cover” starring Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum; the romantic comedy "The Cemetery Club,” starring Ellen Burstyn, Olympia Dukakis and Diane Ladd; the hit sequel, "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” starring Whoopi Goldberg and Lauryn Hill; and the powerful Prohibition era drama "Hoodlum” starring Lawrence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Tim Roth, Cicely Tyson, and Vanessa Williams.

Duke has been especially successful in television. He has taken on socially conscious, educational and mind-stimulating projects such as "Deacons for the Defence,” a telefilm about a group of World War II veterans, directed by Duke and starring Forrest Whitaker, Jonathan Silverman and Ossie Davis; and "Partners of the Heart,” a documentary about a young black man named Vivien Thomas who, with only a high school education, was responsible for the first successful infantile heart surgeries at Johns Hopkins University. In addition, Duke recently directed an episode of Michael Mann's episodic drama "Robbery Homicide,” directed and acted episodes of the TV show "Fastlane.”

Duke received a Cable ACE Award for his direction of "American Dream: The Boy Who Painted Christ Black.” He directed award-winning segments of "Cagney and Lacey,” "Hill Street Blues,” as well as episodes of "Knot's Landing,” "Falcon Crest,” "Dallas,” as "Miami Vice.” Duke has also directed several award-winning high profile dramas and two teleplays for PBS, which received a NAACP Image Award nomination: "The Meeting” and "A Raisin in the Sun,” the latter of which earned Duke an Emmy nomination.

Duke's talents and credit also extend into publishing. In 1994, he completed Black Light: The African American Hero, an inspiring photo essay celebrating 90 of the greatest black heroes of the 20th century. The Journey, a book for people of all ages, was published in 1997.

Duke is the founder of Duke Media, formerly Yagya Productions, which has been in existence for approximately 20 years. For three years, Duke served as the Time Warner Endowed Chair in the Department of Radio Television and Film at Howard University in Washington, DC. He was then appointed to the national endowment of the Humanities by former president Bill Clinton. He now serves on the Board of Trustees at the American Film Institute, and was recently appointed to the California State Film Commission by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.


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