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George Tillman

George Tillman, Jr. 

Hollywood producer, film director - Marshall High School


Before he wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed “Soul Food,” before he produced “Barbershop” and before he directed the biopic “Notorious,” George Tillman, Jr. was making films at Milwaukee Public Schools’ John Marshall High School, now part of Samuel Morse - John Marshall School for the Gifted and Talented.

George Tillman, Jr. is a graduate of MPS’ John Marshall High School, class of 1987.

“MPS was very essential in the beginning of my career because it was the first place where I learned about what filmmaking really was,” Tillman, Jr. said. “I had some great teachers. I still remember their names.”

The Hollywood producer and director credits three outstanding Marshall teachers who taught broadcasting and journalism – John Holmes, Thomas Kaye and Marilyn Leys – with giving him the tools to begin to learn the craft of film-making.

Today, Morse•Marshall’s focus is on Gifted and Talented and STEM (science/technology/ engineering/math) education, while video production coursework lives on in MPS at Audubon Technology and Communication Center High School.

In addition, students can explore video/audio editing at MPS’ Harry and Lynde Bradley Technology and Trade School (Bradley Tech).

Tillman, Jr. says that being exposed to many career options throughout his high school coursework helped him to discover his true calling.

“I was learning all the processes of what filmmaking takes,” the filmmaker said. “And I learned at MPS.”


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