1. “Do The Right Thing” 25 Years Later
It’s been 25 years since Spike Lee’s iconic film, “Do The Right Thing” was released. While the movie launched the careers of many of today’s successful actors such as Martin Lawrence, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosie Perez and others, the film is more than just a classic “black” movie but a testament to the racial injustices that occurred throughout urban cities in America in the late 1980s. Now, in 2013, the film still resonates with us all too well. Let’s take a look at the cast and see just where they are now!
2. “Mookie” (Spike Lee)
Spike Lee is a household name. He is the mastermind behind “Do The Right Thing” and is also credited with writing, directing and starring as “Mookie” in the film. Since getting recognition as a film producer in the early 1980s, Lee has directed and produced over 35 films, won numerous awards including Emmys and two Academy Award nominations. Spike Lee is mostly known for bringing issues in the Black community to light through his films, examining race relations, urban crime, poverty, colorism and more.
3. “DJ, Mr. Senior Love Daddy” (Samuel L. Jackson)
In the late 1980s, Samuel L. Jackson was just an upcoming actor and known for his small role in the 1988 film, “Coming to America,” but gained recognition when he was cast as the voice of the neighborhood’s radio “DJ, Mr. Senior Love Daddy,” in “Do The Right Thing.” Since then, Jackson has appeared in over 100 films, including “Pulp Fiction,” “Jurassic Park” and “Jungle Fever.”
In 1980, Samuel L. Jackson married LaTanya Richardson, an actress and sports channel producer and together the couple has one daughter, Zoe, born in 1982.
4. “Cee” (Martin Lawrence)
Before we knew him as Gina’s silly boyfriend in the sitcom “Martin” or one of the heroic cops in the movie “Bad Boys,” Martin Lawrence was cast as “Cee,” the comedic character in the movie, “Do The Right Thing.” “Do The Right Thing” was Lawrence’s big break as he was only in his 20s at the time and looking to make a name for himself amongst the heavy hitters in “Black Hollywood.”
Since Martin’s role as Cee, he went on to star in films such as “House Party,” “A Thin Line Between Love And Hate” and “Big Mommas House.” When Lawrence wasn’t acting on the big or small screens, he can be found hosting his own stand-up comedy specials giving comics a platform just the way he came up under Def Comedy Jam.
Martin and his wife, Shamicka Lawrence, recently went through a divorce. The ex-couple have two daughters together.
5. “Mother Sister” (Ruby Dee)
Iconic actress Ruby Dee played the Brooklyn neighborhood’s matriarchal figure, “Mother Sister,” in “Do The Right Thing.” She is best known for her co-starring role in the 1960’s film, “A Raisin in the Sun” and later for her role in the film, “American Gangster.” Ruby Dee has won Grammy, Emmy, Obie, Drama Desk and Screen Actors Guild Awards. She was the recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Awards and the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors. It’s safe to say that Ruby Dee is a living legend.
Ruby Dee celebrated her 90th birthday last year with a huge celebration in Harlem, New York that highlighted her lengthy career with a special documentary entitled, “Life’s Essentials With Ruby Dee” that showcased the actress’ life and times as told through he eyes of her grandson. Ruby Dee is the widow of actor Ossie Davis, who also starred in the film “Do The Right Thing.” Ossie and Ruby are often referred to as the “original Will and Jada.”
6. “Da Mayor” (Ossie Davis)
When screenwriter and Broadway actor, Ossie Davis, was cast as “Da Mayor” in “Do The Right Thing,” he brought more than just a great performance on screen, but offered an in depth African-American history lesson to his young cast-mates, off screen as well. Davis was a civil rights icon who was heavily involved in the American Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. He was close friends with Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson and Malcolm X and even spoke at both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King’s funerals. He married actress Ruby Dee, in the late 1940s and together the couple had three children, a son and two daughters.
Davis died in 2005 in a Miami, Florida hotel room. Although the cause of death was not released, it was reported that he often suffered from heart complications.
7. “Tina” (Rosie Perez)
“Do The Right Thing” was Rosie Perez’s very first movie. After being spotted by Spike Lee in a New York night club, Perez was cast as “Tina” in the film–the girlfriend of “Mookie” and the mother of their son. Perez is perhaps best remembered for her sexy dance routine to “Fight The Power” during the opening credits of the movie in addition to her breakout performance. Aside from acting, Rosie Perez was also known as a “Soul Train” dancer and she went on to choreograph dances for Janet Jackson, LL Cool J and more.
Perez married artist Eric Hayes this past September following the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez fight in Las Vegas. She dished to a gossip magazine that she would get only walk down the aisle if Mayweather won the fight. She was previously married to Seth Zvi Rosenfeld, a filmmaker and playwright, but the two divorced in 2001.
8. “Radio Raheem” (Bill Nunn)
Bill Nunn gained recognition after playing “Radio Raheem” in “Do The Right Thing” but that wasn’t the only Spike Lee film that Nunn stared in. He actually made his acting debut a year prior in Spike Lee’s “School Daze.” Nunn’s other acting credits include “New Jack City,” “Runaway” and “Sister Act” to name a few. In recent years, Bill Nunn can be seen as the newspaper editor ‘Robbie’ Robertson in the “Spider-Man” films.
9. “Jade” (Joie Lee)
Actress, Joie Lee, played the role of “Mookie’s” sister, “Jade,” in the film, “Do The Right Thing” but didn’t have to do much acting for the role as she is Spike Lee’s sister in real life. She’s appeared in many films written and directed by her brother including, “She’s Gotta Have It”, “School Daze” and more. She also co-wrote Spike Lee’s semi-autobiographical film, “Crooklyn” in 1994.
10. “Eddie” (Richard Habersham)
Richard Habersham was only 14 years old when he was cast in “Do The Right Thing” as the young “Eddie,” who was saved from a car accident by Da Mayor. Habersham decided to switch from screen acting to Broadway plays and is widely recognized for his role in “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” on Broadway.
Richard Habersham is recently married and currently works for a education non-profit organization in New York City.