Stan Lathan

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Stan Lathan
Born (1945-07-08) July 8, 1945 (age 71)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Education Pennsylvania State University (1967)
Occupation Director, producer
Years active 1969–present
Spouse(s) Marguerite (1982 – present; 3 children)
Partner(s) Eleanor McCoy (1970-1977; 1 child)
Children Sanaa Lathan, Tendaji Lathan, Lilane Lathan, Arielle Lathan, Colette Lathan
Awards 2003 Peabody Award for Def Poetry
2003 Diversity Award, Caucus of Producers, Writers and Directors
2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, Caucus of Producers, Writers and Directors
Six NAACP Image Awards

Stan Lathan (born July 8, 1945) is an American television and film director and television producer.[1] He is executive producer and director of BET's Real Husbands of Hollywood.[2] He is also directing the TV Land sitcom The Soul Man.[3]

Early life[edit]

The youngest of three boys, Lathan was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is the son of Julia Elizabeth (Dunston) and Stanley Edward Lathan.[4][5][6] His mother was a clerical employee.[7] His brothers are William Lathan of New York, a medical doctor,[8] and Charles Lewis, a musician living in Phoenix, Arizona.[9]

Lathan graduated from Overbrook High School in 1963. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in theater at Pennsylvania State University[10] in 1967 and moved to Boston to pursue a master's degree from Boston University. In response to the heightened tension surrounding the civil rights movement at that time, he was recruited by television station WGBH-TV in 1968 to help create and direct the country's first magazine show entirely produced by, for, and about African Americans-- Say Brother.[11]


Lathan has directed the pilots for many sitcoms, including Martin, Moesha, The Parkers, The Steve Harvey Show, Amen, South Central, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, All of Us, Eve!, The Soul Man and Real Husbands of Hollywood.[6]

He was executive producer and director of Dave Chappelle's comedy specials Killin’ Them Softly for HBO and For What It's Worth for Showtime. He also executive produced and directed "Cedric The Entertainer: Taking You Higher"—a one-hour comedy special for HBO—and It's Black Entertainment—a two-hour musical documentary for Showtime.

Lathan began directing network television in 1973, when he was brought to Los Angeles to direct multiple episodes of Sanford & Son. He went on to direct Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, Cagney & Lacey, Frank's Place, Roc and others. He also directed the 1984 feature film Beat Street for Orion Pictures.[12]

Lathan directed dramas for public television's Great Performances, American Playhouse and The American Short Story. For PBS, he directed Alvin Ailey: Memories & Visions and other dance specials featuring the Martha Graham Company, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Agnes de Mille.[6] He directed three seasons of the music and African-American arts series, SOUL!, and he was one of the first directors of Sesame Street.[11]

In 1989, Lathan partnered with Russell Simmons to create the comedy franchise Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam on HBO.[13] This franchise showcased many of today's popular television & movie stars.[14]

Lathan and Simmons developed the Russell Simmons Presents brand and received a Peabody Award for their series "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry" on HBO. The same year, they produced—and Lathan directed—Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. The show won a Tony Award for best special theatrical event, and has since toured both domestically and internationally.[15]

In 2006, Lathan and Simmons created Run's House, a five-season program for MTV that spawned a spinoff, Daddy's Girls. The duo also executive-produced Running Russell Simmons, an eight-part series for Oxygen and Russell Simmons Presents: The Ruckus for Comedy Central.[16]

In 2008, Lathan was the creator and executive producer of Brave New Voices, a seven-part docu-reality series for HBO.[17] As a follow up, in 2009, Lathan staged and directed An Evening of Poetry, Music and Spoken Word, hosted by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in the White House.

Lathan received both the 2003 Diversity Award, and the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors.[18] He has received six NAACP Image Awards for his achievements in film and television. He was honored in May 2014 by the Directors Guild of America for his directing career.[19]


  1. ^ "Movies & TV - Stan Lathan". New York Times. 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "BET Networks' Award-Winning Comedy "Real Husbands of Hollywood" Returns for a Third Season This Fall". 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "TV Land Begins Production On "The Soul Man," Starring Cedric "The Entertainer" And Niecy Nash". 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  4. ^,%20Story%2045:9906%5D
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c "The HistoryMakers: Stan Lathan". The HistoryMakers. 2015. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Julia Lathan in the 1940 Census". 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "Pursuing a Boxing Passion, but as a Judge". 18 May 1997. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "State jazz figure Charles Lewis celebrates 81st birthday with party, intimate concert". 24 September 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "African American Chronicles: Black History at Penn State". BlackHistory.PSU.EDU/. 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "SOUL! Interview: Director Stan Lathan". Thirteen - WNET - New York Public Media. WNET New York. January 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "MOVIE REVIEW Beat Street (1984) MOVIE: 'BEAT STREET'". 8 June 1984. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Simmons Lathan Media Group Announces Corporate Launch: Entertainment Trailblazers Russell Simmons and Stan Lathan Introduce New Production, Acquisition and Distribution Model". PR Newswire. 19 June 1989. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Def Jam Generation: The Arrival of Def Comedy Jam". The Paley Center for Media. 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "Spread the Word: Tony Award-Winning Def Poetry Jam Launches Tour in Philadelphia, Oct. 16". 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Simmons Lathan Media Group". Rush Communications. 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Premiere Screening of Brave New Voices, a New HBO Series About Youth Speaks Poets, Draws Stars Robert Redford, Stan Lathan, Benjamin Bratt, Peter Bratt and Dave Eggers". 24 March 2009. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Diversity Award". 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  19. ^ "A Celebration of African American TV Directors". Directors Guild of America. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 

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