Born: July 17, 1969
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
Felix Gary Gray (born July 17, 1969), known professionally as F. Gary Gray, is an American film director, film producer, music video director and actor. Gray directed Friday, Set It Off, The Negotiator, The Italian Job and Straight Outta Compton. He also directed the eighth installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, The Fate of the Furious, which had the highest-grossing worldwide opening ever and is the 11th highest-grossing film of all-time. He also directed such critically acclaimed and award-winning music videos as "It Was a Good Day" by Ice Cube, "Natural Born Killaz" by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" by Dr. Dre, "Waterfalls" by TLC and "Ms. Jackson" by OutKast.
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Gray was born in New York City and raised primarily in South Los Angeles. He began his career in 1989 when he appeared uncredited in the satire comedy film Major League. Three years later, he directed the music video for Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day". The video is a literal adaptation of the lyrics. He would go on to direct subsequent videos for Ice Cube, as well as artists such as Cypress Hill, Outkast, Dr. Dre, and Queen Latifah.
At age 23, Gray directed his first film, the urban comedy Friday with rapper-producer Ice Cube and Chris Tucker. Next, he directed the film Set It Off, with Jada Pinkett and Queen Latifah. He then directed The Negotiator, which starred Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson, and earned Gray both Best Film and Best Director awards at the 1998 Acapulco Film Festival.
Gray also directed The Italian Job, an action-thriller starring Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg. Gray garnered the Best Director award at the 2004 Black American Film Festival for his work on the film, which surpassed the $100 million mark in the domestic box office.
His next film was A Man Apart, an action thriller starring Vin Diesel. He would later direct Be Cool, an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel of the same name. The John Travolta vehicle was panned by critics but went on to grossed over $95 million worldwide.
Gray received The Ivan Dixon Award of Achievement from the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center and was named one of the “50 Best and Brightest African Americans Under 40” by Black Enterprise magazine. He was honored by the African American Film Critics Association with their 2004 Special Achievement Award and was recognized by the Artist Empowerment Coalition with the Artist Empowerment Award that same year. He also received the Pioneer Director award from the Pan-African Film and Arts Festival in 2010.
Gray also directed the 2015 drama Straight Outta Compton, a biographical film about the rap group N.W.A. In 2017, Gray directed The Fate of the Furious, the eighth film in The Fast and the Furious franchise, which was released on April 14, 2017. Upon release, both films set the record for best opening by a film with a black director and The Fate of the Furious became the first film directed by an African-American to gross over $1 billion worldwide.
During the 2016 Oscar nominations that sparked the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag due to lack of diversity, F. Gary Gray was noted by many sources to have missed out on a nomination for Best Director for his work on Straight Outta Compton.
|1995||Friday||Yes||No||Yes||Cameo as “Black Man at Store”|
|1996||Set It Off||Yes||Yes||Yes||Gangster talking to Cleo in the lowrider|
|1999||Ryan Caulfield: Year One||Yes||Yes||No||Television pilot|
|2003||The Italian Job||Yes||No||No|
|A Man Apart||Yes||Yes||No|
|2009||Law Abiding Citizen||Yes||No||Yes||Cameo as prison investigator|
|2015||The Sea of Trees||No||Yes||No|
|Straight Outta Compton||Yes||Yes||Yes||Cameo as “Greg Mack”|
|2017||The Fate of the Furious||Yes||No||No|
|2019||Men in Black spin-off||Yes||No||No|
|Actor||Friday (1995)||The Negotiator (1998)||A Man Apart (2003)||The Italian Job (2003)||Be Cool (2005)||Straight Outta Compton (2015)||The Fate of the Furious (2017)||Total|
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