Stan Lathan

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 has produced and directed numerous stand-up comedy specials starring comedian Dave Chappelle, including Killin' Them Softly, Equanimity, The Bird Revelation, and Sticks & Stones.

Stan Lathan
Stanley Lathan

(1945-07-08) July 8, 1945
EducationPennsylvania State University (1967)
OccupationDirector, producer
Years active1969–present
Marguerite (m. 1982)
Partner(s)Eleanor McCoy (1970–1977)
Children5 (including Sanaa Lathan)
Awards2019 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album
2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special for Dave Chappelle: Equanimity
2018 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album
2003 Tony Award for Def Poetry on Broadway
2003 Peabody Award for Def Poetry on HBO
Six NAACP Image Awards
2013 Lifetime Achievement Award

Early life

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.[3][4][5] His mother was a clerical employee.[6] His brothers are William Lathan of New York, a medical doctor,[7] and Charles Lewis, a musician living in Phoenix, Arizona.[8]

Lathan graduated from Overbrook High School in 1963. He earned his bachelor of arts in theater at Pennsylvania State University[9] 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.[10]


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.[5]

Lathan was the executive producer and director of the stand-up comedy special Dave Chappelle: Killin' Them Softly, written by and starring comedian Dave Chappelle. It was Chappelle's first hour-long HBO special, and premiered in 2000. Lathan would go on to produce and direct several more of Chappelle's specials, including For What It's Worth, which was produced in 2004 for Showtime. In 2017, Lathan produced and directed four Chappelle specials for Netflix: The Bird Revelation, Equanimity, The Age of Spin,[11] and Deep in the Heart of Texas.[11] He also produced and directed Chappelle's fifth Netflix special, Sticks & Stones, which was released in 2019.

He 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.[5] He directed three seasons of the popular PBS music series, SOUL!, and he was one of the first directors of Sesame Street.[10]

In 1989, Lathan partnered with Russell Simmons to create the stand-up comedy franchise Def Comedy Jam on HBO.[13] This series ran for 8 seasons and showcased many of today's popular television & movie stars.[14]

Lathan also received a Peabody Award for the series Def Poetry on HBO. That same year, Lathan co-produced Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, which won a Tony Award for best special theatrical event and has toured both domestically and internationally.[15]

In 2006, Lathan co-created Run's House, a five-season reality series for MTV that spawned a spinoff series, Daddy's Girls. He also co-executive produced Running Russell Simmons, an eight-part series for Oxygen. In 2012, he executive produced and directed The Ruckus, a stand-up series 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 2014 by the Directors Guild of America for his directing career.[19] In 2017, he received the Trailblazer Award from the Apollo Theater in Harlem.[20] In 2018, he was nominated for a DGA Award for his direction of the comedy special Dave Chappelle: The Age of Spin.[21] and received a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for the same special and Dave Chappelle: Deep In The Heart Of Texas.[22]

In 2018, Lathan directed a Netflix stand up comedy special[23] Mo Amer: The Vagabond and an HBO stand up comedy special Amanda Seales: I Be Knowin'.[24]

Lathan executive produced and directed Dave Chappelle: Equanimity[25](2017) which received a Primetime Emmy [26] for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded).

Recently, Lathan has won another Grammy Award for the 2019 Best Comedy Album for Dave Chappelle: Equanimity and Dave Chappelle:The Bird Revelation.[27]


  1. "Movies & TV - Stan Lathan". New York Times. 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  2. "BET Networks' Award-Winning Comedy "Real Husbands of Hollywood" Returns for a Third Season This Fall". 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  5. "The HistoryMakers: Stan Lathan". The HistoryMakers. 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  6. "Julia Lathan in the 1940 Census". 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  7. "Pursuing a Boxing Passion, but as a Judge". May 18, 1997. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  8. "State jazz figure Charles Lewis celebrates 81st birthday with party, intimate concert". September 24, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  9. "African American Chronicles: Black History at Penn State". BlackHistory.PSU.EDU/. 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  10. "SOUL! Interview: Director Stan Lathan". Thirteen - WNET - New York Public Media. WNET New York. January 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  11. "Dave Chappelle Netflix Specials Get Trailer, Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  12. "MOVIE REVIEW Beat Street (1984) MOVIE: 'BEAT STREET'". June 8, 1984. Retrieved February 12, 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. June 19, 1989. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  14. "The Def Jam Generation: The Arrival of Def Comedy Jam". The Paley Center for Media. 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  15. "Spread the Word: Tony Award-Winning Def Poetry Jam Launches Tour in Philadelphia, Oct. 16". 2003. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  16. "Simmons Lathan Media Group". Rush Communications. 2009. Archived from the original on January 19, 2015. Retrieved January 18, 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". March 24, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  18. "Diversity Award". 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  19. "A Celebration of African American TV Directors". Directors Guild of America. May 15, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  20. Williams, Brennan (June 9, 2017). "Cedric The Entertainer Returns To The Apollo Theater To Honor His Hollywood Mentor". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  21. Pedersen, Erik (January 10, 2018). "DGA Awards: Curtain Raised On TV & Documentary Nominations". Deadline. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  22. "Winners". Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  23. "Mo Amer is ready for the bright lights in Netflix special, 'The Vagabond'". The Daily Dot. October 10, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  24. PR, HBO (December 3, 2018). "AMANDA SEALES: I BE KNOWIN' Debuts Saturday, Jan. 26 on HBO". Medium. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  25. Dave Chappelle: Equanimity, retrieved January 25, 2019
  26. "Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)", Wikipedia, January 5, 2019, retrieved January 25, 2019
  27. "Dave Chappelle Wins Best Comedy Album". February 3, 2019. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
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