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George Tillman Jr.

After seeing the film COOLEY HIGH, George Tillman became inspired to make films of his own. In 1994, George wrote and directed his first feature film, SCENES FOR THE SOUL. It was shot entirely in Chicago, using local talent and resources. The film, which cost $150,000 to make, caught the attention of Doug McHenry and George Jackson who acquired it for Savoy Pictures for $1 million. Following on the momentum of this success, George began to write a script, loosely based on his own life: SOUL FOOD.

SOUL FOOD would go on to assemble a cast that included Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Beach, Irma P. Hall and Brandon Hammond. Modestly budgeted at $7 million, SOUL FOOD opened to critical and financial success, grossing over $43 million domestically. As a result, George and his producing partner, Robert Teitel, landed a two-year, first look deal at Fox 2000. State Street Pictures became their company's new name-a reference to their earlier years as a filmmaking team in Chicago.

George's next directorial effort was MEN OF HONOR, an epic story inspired by the life of Carl Brashear, a man who battled the obstacles of racism, a lack of education and the loss of his leg to become the United States Navy's first African-American Master deep sea diver. The film starred Oscar winning actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert De Niro with an ensemble cast that included Charlize Theron, Michael Rapaport, Lonette McKee, Glynn Turman, and Hal Holbrook. The film opened nationwide on November 10th 2000 and grossed $85 million worldwide.

After the success of MEN OF HONOR, George ventured into producing. In addition to his role as Executive Producer of the beloved SOUL FOOD: The Series for Showtime Networks, George co-produced with partner, Bob Teitel the MGM film BARBERSHOP, about a day in the life of a Southside Chicago barbershop. The film starred Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson, Sean Patrick Thomas, Eve and Cedric the Entertainer. Widely praised by moviegoers and critics alike, BARBERSHOP opened on September 13th to record-breaking box office success. With a domestic gross upwards of $75 million, BARBERSHOP has become the most profitable African-American themed film of all time.

Hot on the heels of BARBERSHOP, came the sequel BARBERSHOP 2: BACK IN BUSINESS. It was released February 6th, 2004. The film, directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan, was number one in an opening weekend that was even bigger than its predecessor, raking in more than $24.2 million. This was followed in 2005 by BEAUTY SHOP, directed by Bille Woodruff and starring Queen Latifah, Alicia Silverstone, Djimon Hounsou, Mena Suvari, Kevin Bacon, Andie MacDowell, Alfree Woodard and Bryce Wilson.


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George Tillman Jr. Facts

OccupationDirector
BirthplaceMilwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Selected Filmography

Faster
Soul Food
Mister & Pete
Notorious
Men Of Honor
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