Mario Van Peebles (born January 15, 1957) is an American film director and actor best known for directing New Jack City in 1991. He is the son of actor and filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, whom he portrayed in the 2003 biopic Baadasssss! that he also co-wrote and directed.

Early life and education

Mario "Chip" Cain Van Peebles was born Mario Cain Van Peebles in Mexico City, Mexico, the son of writer, director and actor Melvin Van Peebles and German actress and photographer Maria Marx. He graduated from Saint Thomas More School in Connecticut in 1974 and from Columbia University in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in economics.


Van Peebles played the lead in the short-lived detective show Sonny Spoon. The show ran for two brief seasons, both of which aired in 1988, before being canceled. He directed several episodes of the show as well as episodes of 21 Jump Street. Van Peebles also directed Malcolm Takes a Shot, a CBS Schoolbreak Special about an aspiring high-school basketball star whose obstacles include epilepsy and his own arrogance. Van Peebles appeared in the special in a cameo, as Malcolm's doctor.

He made his feature film directorial debut in 1991 with New Jack City. This was followed by Posse in 1993, Panther in 1995 and Love Kills in 1998. In that period he also co-directed Gang in Blue with his father.

His 2004 biopic BAADASSSSS! describes the making of his father's seminal film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. He directed the film, and also portrayed his father in the lead role.

Van Peebles guest-starred on the television show Damages, as Agent Harrison. Van Peebles was first brought on to the FX series to direct a few Season 1 episodes, and was then cast in a small role as an agent. He appeared in eleven episodes.

Personal life

Van Peebles is married to Chitra Sukhu Van Peebles, an Indo-Guyanese author and children's yoga expert, and has five children: Makaylo, Mandela, Marley, Maya and Morgana (three boys, two girls).


Actor (film)

Actor (TV)


Actor (stage)