Bill Duke has directed and acted in feature films, television series, movies for television and theater. He received his MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and studied directing at the American Film Institute. His short film, The Hero, received the AFI's Award for Best Young Director and the Gold Award at the Houston International Film Festival. Duke's first directing job was on the television series Knot's Landing. He went on to direct episodes of such long-running series as Falcon Crest; Hill Street Blues; Cagney & Lacey; Matlock; Miami Vice and many more.
In 1991, Duke's feature film A Rage in Harlem was nominated for a Golden Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival. He received a Career Achievement Award at the Acapulco Black Film Festival in 1997 and was nominated for Best Director for Hoodlum at the Black Film Awards in 1998. Other features include The Cemetery Club; Deep Cover; and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Duke has also directed movies for television, including The Killing Floor (winner of the 1985 Special Jury Prize and nominated for Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival); A Raisin In the Sun (nominated for three Emmys); America's Dream: The Boy Who Painted Christ Black (winner of three CableAce Awards and two Images Awards); Deacons for Defense (2004 Black Reel Award for Best Television Director); and Miracle's Boys (nominated for the 2006 Black Reel Award for Directing).
Duke has served on the DGA's Violence and Social Responsibility Task Force, the Creative Rights Committee, and the Movies for Television Directors Committee. He was an alternate on the Western Directors Council from 1994-1995 and 1996-1997.