On this day in comedy on July 17, 1969 Director, Felix Gary Gray (known professionally as F. Gary Gray) was born in New York City, NY.
Educated at L. A. City College, Gray began his directing career shooting music videos. In 1989, he broke out the gate with the Ice Cube video, “It Was a Good Day”. He went on to shoot videos for many major artists in hip hop: Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre, Cypress Hill, Tupac, Jay Z, Stevie Wonder, Outkast and many more.
At the age of 24, Gray directed his first film – Friday, with Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Faizon Love, Bernie Mac, John Witherspoon, Tiny Lister and the phrase “Bye Felecia”. This cultural hit put Gray on the map as a strong commercial and skilled director. He went on to helm, Set It Off, The Negotiator, The Italian Job, A man Apart, Be Cool, Law Abiding Citizen and Straight Outta Compton.
Gray also proved to be an award winning director. For The Negotiator he took home Best Director at the 1998 Acapulco Film Festival and again in 2004 for The Italian Job at the Black American Film Festival. He has The Ivan Dixon Award of Achievement from the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center. He was honored with the Artist Empowerment Coalition’s Artist Empowerment Award and received the Pioneer Director award from the Pan-African Film and Arts Festival in 2010.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: