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Biography #2 (for The Hebrew Hammer)

Mario Van Peebles has established himself as one of the industry's most versatile actors while also earning acclaim as a director, writer and producer.

Van Peebles recently portrayed political icon Malcolm X in Columbia Pictures' epic feature Ali directed by Michael Mann. He next appeared in the Showtime telefilm Ten Thousand Black Men Named George as the historical figure Ashley Totten, who helped start America's first Black union of Pullman train porters.

His feature-directing debut came with the critically acclaimed, Warner Bros. box office hit New Jack City, in which he also starred. Next, he would redefine the Old West directing and starring in the multicultural western Posse. Mario received a Director's Guild Award Nomination for his telefilm, Malcolm Takes A Shot. He directed and co-produced the controversial, historical drama Panther, a film about the Black Panther Party written by his father, Melvin Van Peebles for which he would win the Silver Leopard Award (among others) at the Locarno Film Festival.

Van Peebles' other acting film credits include Raw Nerve, Love Kills, Solo, Los Locos, Stag, Gunmen and Clint Eastwood's Heartbreak Ridge, for the last of which he won a NAACP Image Award. Van Peebles has starred in the acclaimed telefilms, Alex Haley's Mama Flora's Family, The Ricky Bell Story, The Sally Hemmings Story, The Emperor Jones, Gang in Blue and Riot. He earned a Cable ACE Award nomination for his work in Third & Oak: The Pool Hall, co-starring with James Earl Jones and was awarded the Bronze Halo Award for Children of the Night. He also starred in NBC's Sonny Spoon and Showtime's comedy series Rude Awakening.

Van Peebles' most recent stage work includes War Letters, produced by the Sundance Theatre Lab at the Canon Theatre and his portrayal of the acclaimed turn-of-the-century poet Paul Laurence Dunbar in the play Oak and Ivy at the Vineyard Playhouse in Martha's Vineyard. His additional theatre credits include 1000 Clowns, The Champeen, The Legend of Deadwood Dick, Mozart and Salieri and Take Me Along. He also appeared on Broadway in Waltz of the Stork, which was directed by his father.

A graduate of Columbia University with an economics degree, Van Peebles has also been awarded a doctor of humane letters degree from Hofstra University, where he has established a scholarship for film studies. In addition, Van Peebles was recently honored as Columbia's Southern California Alumnus of the Year.

for "The Hebrew Hammer" updated 01-Jan-2000