Date of Birth: January 6, 1968
Son of a mortgage broker and a pharmaceutical company sales executive, this Los Angeles-born director was raised in separate households by his unmarried parents. Singleton attended the Filmic Writing Program at USC after graduating from high school in 1986. While studying there, he won three writing awards from the university, which lead to a contract with Creative Artists Agency during his sophomore year.
Columbia Pictures bought his script for Boyz N the Hood (1991) and budgeted it at $7 million. At the time, Singleton noted that much of the story came from his own experiences in South Central LA and credited his parents with keeping him off the street.
The film's widespread acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival that year extended to American audiences and critics that summer. Boyz was remembered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences the following February, when Singleton garnered two Oscar nominations: one for Best Original Screenplay and the other for Best Director—becoming the first African-American and the youngest person to be nominated for the latter honor.
His next three films didn't match the critical and financial success of Boyz—1993's Poetic Justice, a surrealistic probe of street violence distinguished by the performance of Janet Jackson; 1994's Higher Learning, a sledgehammer study of racial polarization in America's colleges; and Shaft, a remake of the popular film and television show about a private eye in New York. He went on to land the job of directing 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), a sequel to 2001's highly successful The Fast and the Furious, followed by Four Brothers (2005), starring Mark Wahlberg.
Awards earned by Singleton over the course of his career include a Black Reel Award and an Image Award, both in 2017 for the TV mini-series American Crime Story - The People v. O.J. Simpson,
Singleton, who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6915 Hollywood Boulevard, married actress Akosua Busia, who landed a role in his film Rosewood (1997). The marriage lasted less than a year, but produced a daughter, Hadar. He also has a daughter, Cleopatra, from a previous relationship.
He died of a stroke in Los Angeles at age 51 on April 29, 2019.
Luke Cage (2006)
Four Brothers (2005)
Luke Cage (2006)
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Baby Boy (2001)
Higher Learning (1995)
Poetic Justice (1993)
Boyz N the Hood (1991)