Bill Lee, father of producer Spike Lee, passes away at 94

 May 25, 2023

Bill Lee, the father of producer Spike Lee, passed away Wednesday at the age of 94.

He was a well-known composer behind many of his son's films.

The details

"Bill died on Wednesday morning in Brooklyn at 94, the Oscar winner confirmed on Instagram, sharing a link to his New York Times obituary. The jazz bassist served as composer on several of Spike's movies, including She's Gotta Have It (1986) and Do the Right Thing (1989)," People reported.

"According to the NY Times, Bill is also survived by his wife, his kids David, Cinque, Arnold and Joie, and two grandchildren. His first wife, Jacquelyn (Spike's mom) died in 1976, and their other son Christopher died in 2013," it added.

A falling out

"Bill Lee and Spike Lee were estranged after a falling out in the 1990s that the father attributed to his remarriage to Susan Kaplan," the Grio reported.

"In addition to Kaplan and Spike Lee, the elder Lee is survived by his sons, David, Cinque and Arnold; a daughter Joie; a brother, A. Clifton Lee; and two grandchildren," it continued.

"Lee was a session bassist who has played on albums by Odetta, Woody Guthrie, Cat Stevens, Gordon Lightfoot, John Lee Hooker and Peter, Paul and Mary, among many others," Billboard noted.

"He can be heard on Dylan’s 'It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue' and Lightfoot’s 'Oh, Linda.' He played on Aretha Franklin’s Columbia album debut in 1960 Aretha," it added.

Lee's death tragically occurred on the same day as the death of music icon Tina Turner who passed away at the age of 83.

“The words legendary, iconic, diva, and superstar are often overused and yet Tina Turner embodies them all and so many more – an incredible performer, musician and trailblazer,” Mariah Carey wrote. “To me, she will always be a survivor and an inspiration to women everywhere. Her music will continue to inspire generations to come. Rest in Peace, Queen."

The loss of Lee adds to the tragic loss of two music industry leaders passing away on the same day with many fans in mourning.

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