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Spike Lee says he owes career start to camera

Spike Lee says his mother was his biggest influence. But it was a Super 8 camera that changed his life.

"My mom made me read Dickens and Ralph Ellison and Zora Neale Hurston when I was 13," the director said in Sunday's editions of the New York Post. "When I was in college, she would send me back my letters, correcting my grammar in red ink. She gave me high standards, telling me 90 percent wasn't good enough. I had to be twice as good as my white classmates."

The camera helped Lee choose his career path at age 18.

"That's when I decided to become a filmmaker. I went all around the city, shooting everything I could see," said Lee, 43.

Lee's new film Bamboozled, which spoofs fame, fads, rap music and race, opens next month in New York.

_ Compiled by Times wires.