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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Bill Lee, famed musician and Spike Lee’s father, dies at 94 -

Bill Lee, famed musician and Spike Lee’s father, dies at 94

Bill Lee Spike Lee

Bill Lee, center, appears with son Spike Lee, right, and daughter Joie Lee, at a screening of "Do The Right Thing" in New York on June 29, 2014. Bill Lee, a well-regarded jazz musician who accompanied such artists as Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel and Harry Belafonte as well as scoring four of his son Spike’s early films, died Wednesday, May 24, 2023, according to Theo Dumont, a publicist for Spike Lee. He was 94. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)Andy Kropa /Invision/AP

"BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Bill Lee, a jazz bassist and Spike Lee’s father, has died at age 94.

Bill died Wednesday at his home in Brooklyn. Spike confirmed his father’s death in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

Throughout his career as a jazz bassist, Bill worked with a number of well-known musicians, including Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Simon and Garfunkel, Harry Belafonte, Cat Stevens and more. He played on more than 250 recorded albums, according to The New York Times.

Bill also worked with his son, Spike, serving as a composer on several of his movies, including “She’s Gotta Have It,” “School Daze,” “Mo’ Better Blues” and “Do The Right Thing,” which Bill also appeared in.

However, Bill and Spike became estranged after a falling out in the 1990s, which both attributed to Bill’s marriage to Susan Kaplan after his first wife and Spike’s mother, Jacquelyn, died in 1976. The two ended up reuniting during a 20th anniversary screening of “Do The Right Thing” in 2009 in New York and a 25th anniversary event in 2014 in Brooklyn.

Bill is survived by his wife, Kaplan; his children, Spike, Arnold, Cinque, David, and Joie; his brother, A. Clifton Lee; and two grandchildren."

Bill Lee, famed musician and Spike Lee’s father, dies at 94 -

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