Who is Mario Van Peebles?
Mario was born in Mexico City, on 15 January 1957 – his zodiac sign’s Capricorn, and he holds American nationality, as he was born to American parents. He’s an actor, film producer and director, with more than 100 acting credits to his name, while he’s perhaps still known best for his portrayal of Corporal Stitch Jones in the popular 1986 war movie “Heartbreak Ridge”, directed by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in it alongside Marsha Mason and Everett McGill. It follows Marine Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway who’s taken command of a recon platoon; and the movie won three of the five awards for which it was nominated, including an Oscar nomination for Best Sound.
Early life and education
Mario grew up in New York State, as his family moved there not long after he was born; he was raised alongside his siblings Megan and Max, by their mother Maria Marx who was an actress and photographer, and their father Melvin Van Peebles who was a popular actor, moviemaker and composer.
Mario became interested in acting at quite an early age, and was 14 when he made his debut film appearance, playing Sweetback in the 1971 action crime drama “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song”, written and directed by his father, who also starred in it; the same year saw Mario appear in the crime movie “Crosscurrent”, and he didn’t appear in any movies or TV series in the following 10 years, wanting to focus on his education.
Upon matriculating in 1975, Mario enrolled at Columbia College, from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in economics in 1979.
Roles in TV series
Mario made his debut TV series appearance with his portrayal of Nicholas in the 1981 drama mini-series “The Sophisticated Gents”, and the remainder of the ‘80s saw him appear in an episode or two of various series, such as the romantic drama “One Life to Live”, the romantic family comedy “The Cosby Show” and the mystery crime drama “21 Jump Street”.
He only gained recognition in 2000, when cast to play Marcus Adams in the comedy “Rude Awakening”, created by Claudia Lonow, and which stared Sherilyn Fenn, Jonathan Penner and Lynn Redgrave. The series follows alcoholic actress Billie Frank who’s befriended alcoholic non-celebrity man Dave Parelli, it aired from 1998 to 2001 and was nominated for three awards.
In 2002, Mario played Alton Davis in two episodes of the crime drama “Robbery Homicide Division”, and was then cast to play Quentin James in the 2004 episode “Don’t Think This Hasn’t Been Fabulous” of the drama “Soul Food”, and Attorney Carsley in the 2007 episode “Murder Book” of the mystery crime drama “Law & Order”.
— mariovanpeebles (@MarioVanPeebles) August 14, 2018
The year 2008 saw him portray Samuel Woods in 43 episodes of the soap opera “All My Children”, created by Agnes Nixon, and which starred Susan Lucci, David Canary and Michael E. Knight. It follows the lives of Erica Kane and her several husbands, the series aired from 1970 to 2011 and won 192 of the 767 awards for which it was nominated.
Three of Mario’s most recent TV series roles have been in the 2019 episode “Got on My Knees to Pray” of the musical drama “Empire”, the 2020 episode “Black History Month Spectacular” of the musical comedy “Sherman’s Showcase” and a recurrent role in six episodes of the romantic comedy drama “A Million Little Things” since 2019.
Roles in movies
In 1984, Mario played X in the action crime drama “Exterminator 2”, but what marked the ‘80s for him was perhaps his portrayal of Dancer in the 1984 musical crime drama “The Cotton Club”, written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and which starred Richard Gere, Gregory Hines and Diane Lane. It follows the lives of jazz musicians and dancers who are performing at Harlem’s The Cotton Club in the second half of the 1920s, and the movie won one of the 11 awards for which it was nominated, including two Oscar nominations for Best Film Editing and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration.
A couple of Mario’s most notable performances in the ‘90s were perhaps in the 1991 action crime drama “New Jack City”, the 1994 romantic action fantasy “Highlander: The Final Dimension” (lead role), and the 1995 drama “Panther”.
He portrayed Malcolm X in the critically acclaimed 2001 biographical sports drama “Ali”, directed by Michael Mann, and which starred Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Jon Voight. It follows the life of Muhammad Ali, one of the best boxers of all time, and the movie won 10 of the 39 awards for which it was nominated, including two Oscar nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Will Smith), and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jon Voight).
Mario played Pirate Captain in the 2008 adventure comedy “Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha”, and Rocky in the 2010 romantic comedy drama “Multiple Sarcasms”.
Three of his most recent film roles have been in the 2019 thriller “Immortal”, the 2020 action thriller “Seized”, and the 2021 musical drama “Salt-N-Pepa”; he’s currently shooting for the upcoming movies “The Price for Freedom” and “Outlaw Posse”.
Mario received special thanks for the 2006 romantic comedy movie “Paris, Je T’aime”.
He has 12 writing, 15 producing and 51 directing credits, with some of the most popular movies which he’s directed having been the 1995 drama “Panther”, the 2003 biographical drama “Baadasssss!”, and the 2011 sports drama “All Things Fall Apart”.
Mario’s been featured in many documentary series, most recently in the 2015 “Snoop & Son: A Dad’s Dream”, the 2017 “Unsung Hollywood”, and the 2020 “AFI Movie Club”.
He’s made a guest appearance in a number of talk-shows, such as “Sidewalks Entertainment”, “Golic and Wingo” and “Really Famous with Kara Mayer Robinson”.
Awards and nominations
Mario’s won eight of the 22 awards for which he’s been nominated.
Some of these wins include 1987 and 1989 Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, for his performance in “Heartbreak Ridge”, a 2003 Phoenix Film Festival Copper Wing Tribute Award, and a 2005 Black Reel Award for Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted, for “How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass”.
Love life and wife
Mario prefers to keep the details of his love life away from the media’s attention, but it’s still widely known that he’s married twice. He was married to Lisa Vitello, an American actress with only five credits to her name, perhaps still known best for her portrayal of Nurse in the 1994 romantic fantasy action movie “Highlander: The Final Dimension”; it’s widely believed that Mario and Lisa met on the set of the movie, although this hasn’t been confirmed. They have two children together.
He hasn’t shared the date of when he exchanged vows with his second wife Chittra Sukhu, an American yoga instructor, actress and dancer, but it’s believed that they’ve been together for over a decade; they have three children.
Mario hasn’t mentioned any other women whom he’s perhaps been with, and as of August 2022, he’s married to his second wife Chittra Sukhu, and has three children with her, while he has two children with his first wife Lisa Vitello.
Hobbies and interesting facts
In 1991, the magazine “People” ranked Mario amongst 50 most beautiful men in the world.
He’s also a businessman, as he’s today running his own production company – MVP Filmz.
Mario was physically highly active in his 20s, 30s and 40s, mostly because it was important for his acting career to stay in shape; he rarely works out nowadays.
He’s passionate about photography, and many pictures taken by him can be found uploaded onto his Instagram account; Mario’s quite active on the network, and is today followed by close to 100,000 people, while he’s uploaded nearly 300 pictures.
One of Mario’s favorite hobbies is travelling, and he’s been all around the world for both work and pleasure – his dream travel destination’s Miami, Florida.
He has his own favorite actors and actresses, some of whom are Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway and Will Smith, while some of his favorite films include “Mr. and Mrs Smith”, “Men in Black” and “Bad Boys”.
Age, height and net worth
Mario’s age is 65. He has short black hair and brown eyes, his height is 5ft 10ins (1.8m) and he weighs around 165lbs (75kgs).
As of August 2022, his net worth’s been estimated at over $12 million.