Burnett, Charles(1944– ) film scriptwriter/director; born in Mississippi. Raised in Los Angeles, he attended the film school at the University of California: Los Angeles, where his thesis project, Killer of Sheep (1977), received acclaim within the film community and launched his career as a leading African-American independent filmmaker. Often working at odd jobs to support his family, he continued to make critically acclaimed films and he received numerous grants, including a MacArthur Foundation "genius" fellowship; but To Sleep With Anger (1990) was his first film to get wider circulation.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.