As I write on this blog I am beginning to think that Poughkeepsie is so much more than just a silly quote from The French Connection, “You pick your toes in Poughkeepsie?” Bill Duke is an actor and director from Poughkeepsie, NY. The first time he came into Coppola’s my sons recognized him right away from the movie Predator, 1987 starring Arnold Schwazzeneagar. They both exclaimed “There’s Mac!” Mac was his character name in Predator. (But as coincidence would have it – when he was growing up Bill Duke’s cat’s name was Maccintosh and Bill was long nicknamed by family and friends in Poughkeepsie as Maccy Bub).
Bill Duke would often come to Poughkeepsie from Los Angeles to visit his mom and bring his family and friends to eat at our restaurant. I was looking at the dates of my autographs and noticed that he came on Easter Sunday, April 3, 1994. I thought this would be a good time to write about him. Whenever he was in town visitng his mom he would make Coppola’s on Main Street one of his stops until his mom died in 1999. He was a quiet and unasuming man. Never did he make a bid deal when he came in with his group.
You can see by our autographs that he would amuse us by taking pictures and giving out his autograph. The picture you see above is with our long time bartender, Leo that has since passed away. It was taken in our bar. Bill Duke would usually come in on weekdays during the late afternoons. Did you all know that Bill Duke went to Dutchess Community College? He continued onto Boston university and furthered his education at New York University‘s Tisch School of Arts and the AFI Conservatory. He was the first of his family to attend college and went on the be one of the most accomplished African Americans currently working in TV and cinema.
Not only is he an actor but has directed quite a few films and TV shows. He has a credit list as long as some of the great names in Hollywood – and a quite a few awards to accompany it. Quite an accomplishment for a Poughkeepsie native! And of course he always made time to stop at Coppola’s!