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John Singleton

Famed Director, Oscar Nominee Dead at Age 51

Famed director John Singleton, who made one of Hollywood’s most memorable debuts with the Oscar-nominated “Boyz N the Hood,” died after suffering a stroke.

He was 51.

Mr. Singleton’s family said he died in Los Angeles surrounded by family and friends after he was taken off life support.

The director suffered from a massive stroke in April.

Mr. Singleton graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, and wrote, directed and produced “Boyz N the Hood” in his early 20’s.

The low-budget production was based on Singleton’s upbringing and shot in his old neighborhood.

The movie starred Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ice Cube, the film centered on three friends in South Central Los Angeles, where college aspirations competed with the pressures of gang life.

“Boyz N the Hood” was received a 20-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, and was a critical and commercial hit.

The film was praised as a ground-breaking extension of rap to the big screen, a realistic and compassionate take on race, class, peer pressure and family. Mr. Singleton called it a “rap album of film.”

Mr. Singleton became the first Black director to receive an Academy Award nomination both for best original screenplay and best director.

At age 24, he was the youngest director nominee in Oscar history.

“I think I was living this film before I ever thought about making it,” Mr. Singleton told Vice in 2016.

“As I started to think about what I wanted to do with my life, and cinema became an option, it was just natural that this was probably gonna be my first film.

“In fact, when I applied to USC film school they had a thing that asked you to write three ideas for films. And one of them was called ‘Summer of ‘84,’ which was about growing up in South Central LA.”

In 2002, the Library of Congress added “Boyz N the Hood” to the National Film Registry, calling it “an innovative look at life and the tough choices present for kids growing up in South Central Los Angeles.”

Mr. Singleton had been in intensive care in a Los Angeles hospital since his stroke on April 17.

Family members made opposing court filings regarding his health.

Shelia Ward, Mr. Singleton’s mother, requested in a court filing that she be appointed temporary conservator to make medical and financial decisions while he was incapacitated.

Mrs. Ward’s filing said that Mr. Singleton was in a coma. However, Mr. Singleton’s daughter, Cleopatra Singleton, 19, filed a declaration disputing this account.

She maintained that her father was not in a coma and that doctors were struggling to give a “concrete diagnosis.”

She opposed her grandmother becoming conservator, or guardian.

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