|Birthname:||WIlliam Henry Duke|
|Born:||February 26, 1943|
|Birthplace:||Poughkeepsie, NY, U.S.|
|Actor, Director and Screenwriter|
|Years active:||1956 – present|
|Series involved with:||Good Times|
|Job on series||Co-writer, "Cousin Raymond" (Season 6) with Walter Smith|
William Henry "Bill" Duke, Jr. (born February 26, 1943) co-wrote the Season 6 episode "Cousin Raymond" with Walter Smith. In addition to being a screenwriter, Bill is noted and gifted actor and film director. Known for his physically imposing frame, Duke's work frequently dwells within the action film idiom as well as crime and drama genres but also includes comedy.
Life and careerEdit
Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, Bill attended Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Hyde Park and later received his first instruction in the performing arts and in creative writing at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie under Professor Constance Kuhn in drama and Professor Howard Winn in creative writing. His first major acting role at Dutchess was as the lead in Eugene O'Neill's Emperor Jones. After graduation from Dutchess he went on to Boston University for further instruction in drama and for his B.A. After studying at New York University's Tisch School of Arts and the AFI Conservatory, he appeared on Broadway in the 1971 Melvin Van Peebles musical Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death. He directed episodes of several noteworthy 1980s television series, including Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice.
Standing an imposing 6 ft 4½ in and featuring a closely shaved head, Duke first became a familiar face to moviegoers in Car Wash (1976) where he portrayed fierce young Black Muslim revolutionary Abdullah Mohammed Akbar (formerly known as Duane), and expanded his repertoire with American Gigolo (1980) where he played a gay pimp. And in the early 1980s he produced and starred in a short-lived CBS TV series Palmerstown, USA about the life, times and relationships between a black family and a white family in a small rural town in the 1930s.
As the action-film-oriented genre became more popular, Duke's presence was perfect to portray a myriad of "tough guy" roles, chiefly alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando and Predator, as well as a DEA chief in The Limey (1999) which was an uncredited role; and a police chief in the Carl Weathers movie Action Jackson. Duke also played a Police Chief opposite Steven Segal, in Exit Wounds. He played a detective investigating a murder in Menace II Society, in which he uttered the famous line, "You done fucked up you know that don't you?". He played a corrupt law enforcement agent in two films opposite Mel Gibson - Bird on a Wire (as FBI) and Payback (as a police detective). Duke appears in X-Men: The Last Stand as Trask and in the 2005 film Get Rich or Die Tryin' as Levar.
Bill began directing theatrical films in the 1990s with crime dramas A Rage in Harlem (1991), Deep Cover (1992) and Hoodlum (1997). He also directed The Cemetery Club (1993) and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993), starring Whoopi Goldberg. For television, Duke directed the A&E Network original film, The Golden Spiders: A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2000). In 2007 he directed the reenactments in the award-winning, PBS-broadcast documentary Prince Among Slaves produced by Unity Productions Foundation. Duke continues to act and direct for both the small and silver screens. He is also a mentor for young African Americans aspiring to work in the performance arts.