Cast (in order of appearance)
ST. CLAIR BOURNE
Documentary filmmaker Bourne has directed Paul Robeson: Here I Stand and Making “Do the Right Thing” and produced Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks, among many other titles.
The director of more than 20 films, including Inside Man, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and She’s Gotta Have It, Lee cites Melvin Van Peebles as one his primary inspirations for becoming a filmmaker.
A former film critic for The New York Times, Mitchell is the entertainment critic for NPR’s “Weekend Edition with Scott Simon” and has been the host of “The Treatment” for KCRW radio in Santa Monica, CA, since 1985.
A renowned photographer, author, filmmaker and musician, Parks burst onto the national stage as a photojournalist for Life magazine in the 1960s. He later adapted for the screen and directed the film version of his novel The Learning Tree in 1969 and went on to direct Shaft and Shaft’s Big Score. Parks passed away in March 2006.
MARIO VAN PEEBLES
Actor and director Mario Van Peebles made an auspicious film debut as the young Sweetback in his father Melvin Van Peebles’s film, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. He has gone on to act in more than 50 movies, and has directed New Jack City, Panther, Posse and Baadasssss!, a biographical account of his father’s efforts to make Sweetback.
MELVIN VAN PEEBLES
MAX VAN PEEBLES
Melvin Van Peebles’ youngest son; served as assistant director on his father’s 2000 film, Le Conte du ventre plein.
MEGAN VAN PEEBLES
Melvin Van Peebles’ only daughter (and Mario’s sister), Megan is a former model and actor; she passed away in March 2006.
Mary McCall was a high-school classmate of Melvin Van Peebles at Thornton High School, in the Chicago suburb of Harvey, IL.
The late cartoon artist and illustrator Gébé (born Georges Blondeau) is one of the founders of the legendary French satirical weekly Hara Kiri, and was the publication’s chief editor from 1969 to 1985.
Another of Hara Kiri’s founders, Wolinski collaborated in 1965 with Melvin Van Peebles on a graphic novel of Chester Himes’s A Rage in Harlem (La Reine des Pommes).
French film critic and editor Euvrard is a longtime friend of Melvin Van Peebles.
French film producer Thivat produced Melvin Van Peebles’s first feature film, La Permission, in 1967.
Along with her husband Jerome, owned Martineau Press, a publishing house that published Melvin Van Peebles’s French novels in the 1960s.
The late author, journalist and magazine editor was the editor of Billboard magazine from 1985 to 2002.
Music legend Scott-Heron wrote and performed such classics as “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” “Johannesburg” and “Winter in America.” He is widely recognized as one of the forefathers of rap music.
Composer, arranger and producer Dwellingham is Melvin Van Peebles’ longtime musical collaborator, serving as the musical director of Roadkill, Van Peebles’ late-’90s cabaret act, as well as the touring company of Dont Play Us Cheap.
BILLY “X” JENNINGS
Former Black Panther Billy Jennings served as the assistant to Panther cofounder Huey Lewis in the 1970s.
Casting director Stewart worked on Greased Lightning and is a longtime friend of Melvin Van Peebles.
Legendary theater producer Azenberg has produced more than 50 Broadway shows, including Private Lives, Lost in Yonkers and Biloxi Blues. Has been nominated for 23 Tony Awards (including for Aint Supposed to Die a Natural Death, with Melvin Van Peebles), winning eight times.
A longtime friend of Van Peebles, Bonus is an astronomer at the Mount Wilson Observatory outside Los Angeles.
A longtime friend of Van Peebles, Allen is the owner of the Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem.
Weissman was the executive producer of the film version of Dont Play Us Cheap; he is a longtime friend of Van Peebles.
WOODIE KING, JR.
Playwright, director and producer King is the founder and director of NYC’s New Federal Theatre.
Anthropologist Milner, a longtime friend of Van Peebles, is one of the world’s leading authorities on Charles Darwin and the author of the Encyclopedia of Evolution. Milner is a contributing editor at Natural History magazine.
Nichols is a former Wall Street colleague of Melvin Van Peebles’ on the American Stock Exchange.
Psychiatrist, investment banker and Wall Street financier, Dr. Jarecki is a longtime friend of Van Peebles’ and is the founder of Mocatta Metals, Inc., and the former Chairman of Moviefone.
Shaw is a former Wall Street colleague of Van Peebles’ on the American Stock Exchange.
A former magazine editor at Time, Jarecki is a longtime friend of Van Peebles’.
A longtime fixture as a New York City newscaster, Roland recently retired as a news anchor at Fox News.