William Henry 'Bill' Duke, Jr. (born February 26, 1943) is an American actor and film director with over 35 years of experience. Known for his physically imposing frame, Duke's work frequently dwells within the action/crime and drama genres but also includes comedy. Duke was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, the son of Ethel Louise (ne Douglas) and William Henry Duke Sr. He received his first instruction in the performing arts and in creative writing at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie under Professor Constance Kuhn in drama and Professor Howard Winn in creative writing. His first major acting role at Dutchess was as the lead in Eugene O'Neill's Emperor Jones. After graduation from Dutchess he went on to Boston University for further instruction in drama and for his B.A. After studying at New York University's Tisch School of Arts and the AFI Conservatory, he appeared on Broadway in the 1971 Melvin Van Peebles musical Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death.
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