Archive for the ‘Actor/Actress’ Category
Williams was born in New York City. His grandfather was Clarence Williams, the jazz pianist and composer. He was raised by his grandmother.
His first major acting role was as Lincoln B. Hayes on Aaron Spelling‘s TV series The Mod Squad. He has guest-starred in television shows such as Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, The Highwayman, Twin Peaks, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Burn Notice, Everybody Hates Chris, and in a recurring role as Philby Cross in the Mystery Woman movie series on the Hallmark Channel. He has appeared in feature films such as Life, Sugar Hill, The Cool World, Deep Cover, Tales from the Hood, Half-Baked, Hoodlum, Frogs for Snakes, Starstruck, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, The General’s Daughter, The Legend of 1900, and Purple Rain. He also played a supportive role as George Wallace’s fictional African-American butler and caretaker in the 1997 TNT TV movie George Wallace.
He portrayed Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Johnson in American Gangster in 2007. Williams is not listed in the movie credits for the film.
Williams married African-American actress Gloria Foster in 1967, but divorced in 1984. One of Williams’s closest friends is actor Eric Braeden
Paul Edward Winfield (May 22, 1939 – March 7, 2004) was an American television, film, and stage actor. He was known for his portrayal of a Louisiana sharecropper who struggles to support his family during the Great Depression in the landmark film Sounder which earned him an Academy Award nomination. Winfield portrayed Captain Terrell of the Starship Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and he also portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the television miniseries King, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award.
Winfield was born in Los Angeles, California to Lois Beatrice Edwards, a union organizer in the garment industry. His stepfather from the age of eight was Clarence Winfield, a city trash collector and construction worker. He attended Manual Arts High School, the University of Portland, Stanford University, Los Angeles City College and the University of California at Los Angeles.
Winfield carved out a diverse career in film, television, theater and voiceovers by taking ground breaking roles at a time when African-American actors were rarely cast. His first major feature film role was in the 1969 film, The Lost Man starring Sidney Poitier. Winfield first became well-known to television audiences when he appeared for several years opposite Diahann Carroll on the groundbreaking television series Julia. Filmed during a high point of racial tensions in the United States, the show was unique in featuring an African-American female as the central character. He also starred as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1978 miniseries King.
In 1973, Winfield was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1972 film Sounder, and his co-star in that film, Cicely Tyson, was nominated for Best Actress. Prior to their nominations, only three other African Americans – Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier and James Earl Jones – had ever been nominated for a leading role. He also appeared, in a different role, in the 2003 Disney-produced television remake of Sounder, which was directed by Kevin Hooks, his co-star from the original. Winfield played the part of “Jim the Slave” in Huckleberry Finn (1974) which was a musical based on the novel by Mark Twain. Winfield would recall late in his career that as a young actor he had played one of the two leads in Of Mice and Men in local repertory, made up in whiteface, since a black actor playing it would have been unthinkable. Winfield also starred in the miniseries, including Scarlett, and two based on the works of novelist Alex Haley: Roots: The Next Generations and Queen: The Story of an American Family.
Winfield gained a new segment of fans for his brief but memorable roles in several science fiction TV programs and movies. He portrayed Starfleet Captain Clark Terrell of the U.S.S. Reliant, an unwilling minion of Khan Noonien Singh, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Lt. Traxler, a friendly but crusty cop partnered with Lance Henriksen in The Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 1996 he was part of the ‘name’ ensemble cast in Tim Burton‘s comic homage to 1950′s science fiction Mars Attacks!, playing the complacently self-satisfied Lt-Gen. Casey. On the small screen Star Trek franchise, he appeared as an alien captain who communicates in metaphor in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Darmok“. He also appeared in the second season Babylon 5 episode “Gropos” as General Richard Franklin, the father of regular character Dr. Stephen Franklin and on the fairy tale sitcom “The Charmings” as The Evil Queen‘s wise-cracking Magic Mirror.
Winfield also took on roles as gay characters in the films Mike’s Murder in 1984 and again in 1998 in the film Relax…It’s Just Sex. He found success off-camera due to his unique voice. He provided voices on the cartoons Spider-Man, The Magic School Bus, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, Batman Beyond, Gargoyles, K10C, and The Simpsons, on the latter voicing the Don King parody Lucius Sweet. In his voiceover career, he is perhaps best known as the narrator for the A&E true crime series City Confidential, a role he began in 1998 and continued with until his death in 2004.
Throughout his career, Winfield frequently managed to perform in the theater. His only Broadway production, Checkmates, in 1988, co-starring Ruby Dee, was also the Broadway debut of Denzel Washington. He also appeared in productions at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Winfield was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance in the King and Roots: The Next Generations. He won an Emmy Award, in 1995, for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, for his appearance as Judge Harold Nance in an episode of the CBS drama Picket Fences.
Personal life and death
Winfield was openly gay in his private life, but remained discreet about it in the public eye. His partner of 30 years, architect Charles Gillan, Jr., died on March 5, 2002 of bone cancer.
Winfield long battled obesity and diabetes. He died of a heart attack in 2004 at the age of 64, at Queen of Angels–Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles. Winfield and Gillan are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Danny Lebern Glover (born July 22, 1946) is an American actor, film director, and political activist. Glover is well known for his roles as Mr. Albert Johnson in The Color Purple, as Michael Harrigan in Predator 2, as corrupt cop James McFee in Witness, as Detective Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film franchise, as Detective David Tapp in Saw and as George Knox in Angels in the Outfield. He has also appeared in many other movies, television shows, and theatrical productions. He is an active supporter of various humanitarian and political causes.
Glover was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Carrie (née Hunley) and James Glover. His parents, postal workers, were active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), working to advance equal rights. Glover’s mother, daughter of a midwife, was born in Louisville, Georgia and graduated from Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. Glover grew up with a love for sports, like his father. Glover suffered from epilepsy in his teens and as a young adult. According to his own account, he “developed a way of concentrating so that seizures wouldn’t happen.” Using this technique, which he describes as “a type of self-hypnosis“, Glover says he has not suffered a seizure since age 34.
Glover originally worked in city administration. Conservatory Theater, a regional training program in San Francisco. Glover also trained with Jean Shelton at the Shelton Actors Lab in San Francisco. In an interview on Inside the Actor’s Studio, Glover credited Jean Shelton for much of his development as an actor. Deciding that he wanted to be an actor, Glover resigned from his city administration job and soon began his career as a stage actor. Glover then moved to Los Angeles for more opportunities in acting, where he would later go on to co-found the Robey Theatre Company with actor Ben Guillory in honor of the actor, radical activist, and concert singer Paul Robeson in Los Angeles in 1994.
Glover has had a variety of film, stage, and television roles, and is best known for playing Los Angeles police Sergeant Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon series of action films. During his career, he has made many cameo appearances. For example, he appeared in the Michael Jackson video Liberian Girl of 1987. He has also appeared as the husband to Whoopi Goldberg‘s character Celie in The Color Purple, and as Lieutenant James McFee in the film Witness. In 1994 he made his directorial debut with the Showtime channel short film Override. Also in 1994, Glover and actor Ben Guillory formed the Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles, focusing on theatre by and about Black people.
Glover earned top billing for the first time in Predator 2, the sequel to the sci-fi action film Predator. That same year he starred in Charles Burnett’s To Sleep with Anger, for which he won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead.
In common with Humphrey Bogart, Elliott Gould and Robert Mitchum, who have played Raymond Chandler‘s private eye detective Philip Marlowe, Glover played the role in the episode “Red Wind” of the Showtime network’s 1995 series Fallen Angels.
In 1997, under his former production company banner Carrie Films, Glover executive produced numerous films of first time directors including Pamm Malveaux’s neo-noir short film Final Act starring Joe Morton which aired on the Independent Film Channel.
In addition, Glover has been a voice actor in many children’s movies. Glover was featured in the popular 2001 film Royal Tenenbaums, also starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
In 2004, he appeared in the low-budget horror film Saw as Detective David Tapp. In 2005, Glover and Joslyn Barnes announced plans to make No FEAR, a movie about Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo‘s experience. Coleman-Adebayo won a 2000 jury trial against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The jury found the EPA guilty of violating the civil rights of Coleman-Adebayo on the basis of race, sex, color and a hostile work environment, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Coleman-Adebayo was terminated shortly after she revealed the environmental and human disaster taking place in the Brits, South Africa, vanadium mines. Her experience inspired passage of the Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act).
In 2009, Glover performed in The People Speak a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn‘s “A People’s History of the United States”.
Glover played President Wilson, the President of the United States in 2012, a disaster film directed by Roland Emmerich and released in theaters November 13, 2009.
In 2010, Glover participated in a Spanish film called “I Want to Be a Soldier“.
Planned directorial debut
Glover sought to make a film biography of Toussaint Louverture for his directorial debut. In May 2006, the film had included cast members Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Roger Guenveur Smith, Mos Def, Isaach De Bankolé, and Richard Bohringer. Production, estimated to cost $30 million, was planned to begin in South Africa, filming from late 2006 into early 2007. In May 2007, President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez contributed $18 million to fund the production of Toussaint for Glover, who is a prominent U.S. supporter of Chávez. The contribution annoyed some Venezuelan filmmakers, who said the money could have funded other homegrown films and that Glover’s film was not even about Venezuela. The following June, some Venezuelan filmmakers petitioned for Glover to reconsider using the funds provided by their president while the actor was scouting locations outside the Venezuelan capital Caracas. The petition resulted in the local film guilds Anac and Caveprol being outlawed by Venezuela; the country’s state-backed film institute Cnac was also instructed to sever ties with the guild. In April 2008, the Venezuelan National Assembly authorized an additional $9,840,505 for Glover’s film, which is still in planning.
On September 2, 2009, Glover signed an open letter of objection to the inclusion of a series of films intended to showcase Tel Aviv at the Toronto International Film Festival.
On April 16, 2010, Glover was arrested in Maryland during a protest by SEIU workers for Sodexo‘s unfair and illegal treatment of workers. He was given a citation and later released. The Associated Press reports “Glover and others stepped past yellow police tape and were asked to step back three times at Sodexo headquarters. When they refused, Starks says officers arrested them.”
While attending San Francisco State University, Glover was a member of the Black Students Union which, along with the Third World Liberation Front and the American Federation of Teachers, collaborated in a five-month student-led strike to establish a Department of Black Studies. The strike was the longest student walkout in U.S. history. It helped create not only the first Department of Black Studies but also the first School of Ethnic Studies in the U.S.
Hari Dillon, current president of the Vanguard Public Foundation, was a fellow striker at SFSU. Glover now sits on Vanguard’s advisory board. Glover is also a board member of The Algebra Project, The Black AIDS Institute, Walden House, and Cheryl Byron‘s Something Positive Dance Group. He was charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly after being arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington during a protest over Sudan’s humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
Glover’s long history of union activism includes support for the United Farm Workers, UNITE HERE, and numerous service unions. In March 2010, Danny Glover supported 375 Union workers in Ohio by calling upon all actors at the 2010 Academy Awards to boycott Hugo Boss suits due to Hugo Boss announcement to close a manufacturing plant in Ohio after a proposed pay decrease from $13 to $8.30 an hour was rejected by the Workers United Union.
In January 2006, Harry Belafonte led a delegation of activists, including Glover and activist/professor Cornel West, in a meeting with President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez.
Glover was an early supporter of former North Carolina Senator John Edwards in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries until Edwards’ withdrawal, although some news reports indicated that he had endorsed Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, whom he had endorsed in 2004. After Edwards dropped out, Glover then endorsed Barack Obama.
Glover was an outspoken critic of George W. Bush, calling him a known racist. “Yes, he’s racist. We all knew that. As Texas’s governor, Bush led a penitentiary system that executed more people than all the other U.S. states together. And most of the people who died were Afro-Americans or Hispanics.”
Glover’s support of California Proposition 7 (2008) led him to use his voice in an automated phone call to generate support for the measure before the election.
On April 6, 2009, Glover was given a chieftancy title in Imo State, Nigeria. Glover was given the title Enyioma of Nkwerre, which means A Good Friend in the language of the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria.
Glover has become an active member of Board of Directors of The Jazz Foundation of America. Danny became involved with The Jazz Foundation in 2005, and has been a featured host for their annual benefit A Great Night in Harlem for several years, as well appearing as a celebrity MC at other events for the foundation. In 2006, Britain’s leading African theatre company Tiata Fahodzi appointed Danny Glover as one of its three Patrons, joining Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jocelyn Jee Esien opening the organization’s tenth anniversary celebrations (Sunday 2 February 2008) at Theatre Royal Stratford East, London.
Glover is also an active board member of the TransAfrica Forum.
On January 13, 2010, Glover compared the scale and devastation of the 2010 Haiti earthquake to the predicament other island nations may face as a result of the failed Copenhagen summit the previous year. Glover said “…the threat of what happens to Haiti is a threat that can happen anywhere in the Caribbean to these island nations… they’re all in peril because of global warming… because of climate change… when we did what we did at the climate summit in Copenhagen, this is the response, this is what happens…” In the same statement, he called for a new form of international partnership with Haiti and other Caribbean nations and praised Venezuela, Brazil, and Cuba, for already accepting this partnership.
On November 1, 2011 Glover spoke to the crowd at Occupy Oakland on the day before the Oakland General Strike where thousands of protestors shut down the Port of Oakland.
Activism against Iraq war and invasion
Danny Glover has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war before the war began in March 2003. In February 2003, he was one of the featured speakers at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco where other notable speakers included names such as author Alice Walker, singer Joan Baez, United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. Glover was a signatory to the April 2003 anti-war letter “To the Conscience of the World” that criticized the unilateral American invasion of Iraq that led to “massive loss of civilian life” and “devastation of one of the cultural patrimonies of humanity”. During an anti-war demonstration in Downtown Oakland in March 2003, Danny Glover praised the community leaders for their anti-war efforts saying that “They’re on the front lines because they are trying to make a better America… The world has come together and said ‘no’ to this war – and we must stand with them.”
On Obama administration
On the foreign policy of Obama administration, Glover said, “I think the Obama administration has followed the same playbook, to a large extent, almost verbatim, as the Bush administration. I don’t see anything different… On the domestic side, look here: What’s so clear is that this country from the outset is projecting the interests of wealth and property. Look at the bailout of Wall Street. Why not the bailout of Main Street? He may be just a different face, and that face may happen to be black, and if it were Hillary Clinton, it would happen to be a woman… But what choices do they have within the structure?”.
Honors and awards
In 2010, Glover delivered the Commencement Address and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Utah State University. He was also the recipient of a tribute paid by the Deauville American Film Festival in France on September 7, 2011.
William December “Billy Dee” Williams, Jr. (born April 6, 1937) is an American actor, artist, singer, and writer. He is best known for playing Lando Calrissian in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
Williams was born in New York City, New York, the son of Loretta Anne, a West Indian-born elevator operator from Montserrat, and William December Williams, Sr., an African-American caretaker from Texas. He has a twin sister, Loretta, and grew up in Harlem, where he was raised by his maternal grandmother while his parents worked at several jobs. Williams graduated from the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art in Manhattan, where he was a classmate of Diahann Carroll, who coincidentally played the wife of his character Brady Lloyd on the 1980s prime-time soap Dynasty.
He first appeared on Broadway in 1945 in The Firebrand of Florence. He returned to Broadway as an adult in 1960 in the play version of The Cool Word. He appeared in A Taste of Honey in 1961. A 1976 Broadway production, I Have a Dream, was directed by Robert Greenwald and starred Williams as Martin Luther King, Jr. His most recent Broadway appearance was in August Wilson‘s Fences, as a replacement for James Earl Jones in the role of Troy Maxson in 1988.
He made his film debut in 1959 in the Academy Award nominated The Last Angry Man, opposite Paul Muni, in which he portrayed a delinquent. He rose to stardom after starring in the critically lauded blockbuster biographical TV movie, Brian’s Song (1971), in which he played Chicago Bears star football player Gale Sayers, who stood by his friend Brian Piccolo (played by James Caan), during his struggle with terminal cancer. Both Williams and Caan were nominated for Emmy Awards for best actor for their performances.
After this breakthrough, Williams became America’s leading black film actor in the 1970s after starring in a string of critically acclaimed and popular movies, many of them in the Blaxploitation genre. In 1972, starred as Billie Holliday‘s husband Louis McKay in Motown Productions‘ Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues. The film was a box office blockbuster, becoming one of the highest grossing films of the year and received five Academy Award nominations. Diana Ross starred in Lady Sings the Blues opposite Williams; Motown paired the two of them again three years later in the successful follow-up project Mahogany.
The early 1980s brought Williams the role of Lando Calrissian, which he played in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Calrissian’s charm proved to be popular with audiences and Williams now had a substantial fanbase within the science fiction genre as well. He reprised this role when he lent his voice for the character in the 2002 video game Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, as well as the audio dramatization of Dark Empire, the National Public Radio adaptation of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and two productions for the Star Wars: Battlefront series: Star Wars: Battlefront II and Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron. (However, the appearance in Battlefront II was archive footage and it is unknown whether it was him or another actor in the role of Calrissian in Elite Squadron however he appears through Archive footage for that games full-motion sequences). Between his appearances in the Star Wars films, he starred alongside Sylvester Stallone as a cop in the critically acclaimed film Nighthawks. He co-starred in 1989′s Batman as district attorney Harvey Dent, a role that was planned to develop into Dent’s alter-ego, the villain Two-Face, in sequels (including a pay or play contract that would have guaranteed Williams the chance to play Two-Face). Unfortunately for Williams, that never came to pass; he was set to reprise the role in a more villainous light in the sequel, Batman Returns, but his character was deleted and replaced with original villain Max Shreck. When Joel Schumacher stepped in to direct Batman Forever, where Two-Face was to be a secondary villain, Schumacher decided to pay Williams’ penalty fee to hire Tommy Lee Jones for the part.
Williams’s television work included a recurring guest-starring role on the short-lived show Gideon’s Crossing. He has had a brief cameo in the TV show Scrubs Season 5, where he plays the godfather of Julie (Mandy Moore). Turk hugs him, calling him “Lando,” even though he prefers to be called Billy D. He is also well known for his appearance in advertisements for Colt 45 (a brand of malt liquor) in the 1980s and early 1990s, for which he received much criticism. Williams responded indifferently to the criticism of his appearances in the liquor commercials. When questioned about his appearances, he allegedly replied by saying, “I drink, you drink. Hell, if marijuana was legal, I’d appear in a commercial for it.”
Williams was paired with actress Marla Gibbs on three different TV shows: The Jeffersons (Gibbs’s character, Florence, had a crush on Williams and challenged him on everything because she thought he was an impostor); 227 (her character, Mary, pretending to be royalty, met Williams at a banquet); and The Hughleys (Gibbs and Williams portrayed Darryl’s parents).
In 1992, he portrayed Berry Gordy in The Jacksons: An American Dream.
In 1993, Williams had a guest appearance on the spin off to The Cosby Show, A Different World as Langston Paige, a grumpy landlord.
Williams made a special guest appearance on the hit sketch comedy show, In Living Color, in 1990. He portrayed Pastor Dan in an episode of That ’70s Show.. In this episode entitled “Baby Don’t You Do It” (2004), his character is obsessed with Star Wars, and uses this to help counsel Eric Forman (himself a major “Star Wars” fan) and Donna Pinciotti about their premarital relationship.
Williams made a cameo appearance as himself on the TV series Lost in the episode “Exposé“. He also appears regularly on short clips on the Jimmy Kimmel Live as a semi-parody of himself.
He played Toussaint Dubois for General Hospital: Night Shift in 2007 and 2008. Williams reprised his role as Toussaint on General Hospital itself beginning in June 2009.
Also in 2009 he took on the role of the voice of Admiral Bitchface the head of the military on the planet Titan in the Adult Swim animated series Titan Maximum.
In July 2010, Williams appeared in the animated series The Boondocks, where he voiced a fictionalized version of himself in the episode “The Story of Lando Freeman”.
In February 2011, Williams appeared as a guest star on USA Network’s White Collar as Ford, an old friend of Neal Caffrey’s landlady June, played by Diahann Carroll.
In 1961, Williams recorded a jazz LP produced by Prestige Records entitled Let’s Misbehave, on which he sang several swing standards. The album is currently out of print.
Williams voiced Lando Calrissian in the video game Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars Battlefront as well as the spin-off Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron (however, the Battlefront appearances were archive footage and his voice-appearance in Elite Squadron is left uncredited or unknown). He also played a live-action character, GDI Director Redmond Boyle, in the game Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, which was released in March 2007. This made him the second former Star Wars actor to appear in a Command and Conquer game, with the first being James Earl Jones as GDI General James Solomon in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.
In 2008, Williams reprised his role as Lando Calrissian to appear in a video on FunnyOrDie.com in a mock political ad defending himself for leader of the Star Wars galaxy against vicious attack ads from Emperor Palpatine. The video is titled “Vote for Lando Calrissian! w/ BILLY DEE WILLIAMS” Billy Dee is currently a cast member of Diary of a Single Mom, a web based original series directed by award-winning filmmaker Robert Townsend. The series debuted on PIC.tv in 2009.
Even before he began acting, Williams attended the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design in New York. In the late 1980s, he resumed painting. Some of his work can be seen at his online gallery BDW World Art. He has had solo exhibitions in various galleries around the U.S., and his work hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Institution, and The Schomburg Museum. The covers of the Thelonious Monk Competition programs since 1990 are by him.
Marriages and family
Williams has been married three times:
First to Audrey Sellers, with whom he had a son Corey (b. 1960). They were divorced some years later, after which he apparently became quite depressed. “…. there was a period when I was very despondent, broke, depressed, my first marriage was on the rocks.”
Williams was briefly married to actress Marlene Clark in the late 1960s, and divorced in 1971.
He married Teruko Nakagami on December 27, 1972. She brought a daughter, Miyako (b. 1962), from her previous marriage to musician Wayne Shorter. They have a daughter Hanako (b. 1973). They filed for divorce in 1993, but were reported to have reconciled in 1997.
Williams was arrested on January 30, 1996 after allegedly beating his live-in girlfriend, whom the Police did not identify. He was freed from custody the following day after posting a $50,000 bail. Williams stated through his attorney that he expected to be fully exonerated of the charges. The Los Angeles city attorney’s office filed misdemeanor charges of spousal battery and dissuading a witness against Williams. The woman, identified only as ‘Patricia’, later stated the incident was her fault and that she hoped the police would drop the case. In a plea bargain agreement to dismiss the charges, Williams was ordered to undergo 52 counselling sessions
Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman (born December 10, 1985), known professionally as Raven-Symoné (pronounced “Raven-Symone”, as though unaccented), or simply Raven, is an American actress, singer, songwriter, comedian, dancer, television producer and model. Symoné launched her successful career in 1989 after appearing in The Cosby Show as Olivia. She released her debut album, Here’s to New Dreams in 1993; the single, “That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of” charted number 68 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The next album, Undeniable, was released on May 4, 1999.
Symoné appeared in several successful television series, such as The Cosby Show and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. From 2003 to 2007, Symoné starred in the Disney Channel series, That’s So Raven in which she played Raven Baxter, a psychic teenager who tried her best to keep her psychic powers a secret. During her time on That’s So Raven, Symoné released her third studio album, This is My Time (2004) which was Symoné’s best selling solo album to date, charting at number 51 on the Billboard 200. After a year of the end of That’s So Raven, she released her fourth studio album, Raven-Symoné (2008). The album peaked at number 159 on the Billboard 200. During 2003 to 2006, she participated in four soundtracks from Disney, RIAA-certified double-platinum album, The Cheetah Girls (2003), RIAA-certified gold album, That’s So Raven (2004), That’s So Raven Too! (2006) and RIAA-certified platinum album, The Cheetah Girls 2 (2006). The soundtracks sold a combined 4.1 million copies in the U.S. alone. As of April 2008, Symoné has sold 314,000 albums in the United States.
She transitioned to a film career, starring in several films aimed at young audiences, including Dr. Dolittle (1998), Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001), College Road Trip (2008), and successful television films, including Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999), The Cheetah Girls (2003), its sequel Cheetah Girls 2 (2006), For One Night (2006), Revenge of the Bridesmaids (2010). Raven has also lent her voice to the animated series Kim Possible, for the character Monique and films such as Disney‘s Tinker Bell. Raven-Symoné also owns a “how-to” video website, Raven-Symoné Presents. In 2011, Symoné starred in the short-lived ABC Family comedy series State of Georgia as Georgia Chamberlain, an aspiring actress with a huge ego who moves to New York City to try her hand at an acting career.
1993–1999: Here’s to New Dreams and Undeniable era
Raven-Symoné began her singing career at the age of five, when she signed with MCA Records. She spent that year and the next taking vocal lessons from Missy Elliott. Her debut album, Here’s to New Dreams, was released on June 22, 1993, which spawned two singles: “That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of” and “Raven Is the Flavor“. “That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of” reached #68 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album however was not successful, and due to low sales she was dropped from MCA Records in 1995. The album sold over 73,000 in US.
In 1996, Raven-Symoné and her father founded RayBlaze Records, in which she signed a distribution deal with Crash Records for her second album Undeniable, which was released in May 1999. The album sold over 2,000 in US. The album yielded one single: a cover of Stevie Wonder‘s “With a Child’s Heart“. To support the album Undeniable, Symoné went on tour as the opening act for fellow Jive artist ‘N Sync‘s The ‘N Sync Tour in 1998/1999.
2003–2006: Commercially Successful Soundtracks and This Is My Time era
In 2003, she recorded the classic Stevie Wonder, Superstition, as the main theme for the film, The Haunted Mansion. She signed a deal with Hollywood Records, a Disney-owned label. The film soundtrack, The Cheetah Girls, debuted at #33 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified for Double Platinum sales by the RIAA for sales of 2 million copies, was the second best selling soundtrack of 2004, behind Shrek.
In 2004, Symoné released a five-track EP with Hollywood Records on January 1, 2004 prior to the release of This Is My Time, containing “Backflip”, “Bump”, “Overloved”, “What Is Love?”, and “Mystify”. Released to promote the full-length album, the EP was only available in select stores and is now very rare. On September 21, 2004, she released her third studio album, This Is My Time, which included the single “Backflip“, which received heavy rotation on Disney Channel, and premiered on BET via an Access Granted special. This Is My Time debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and at number fifty-one on the official Billboard 200, with moderately successful first week sales of 19,000 copies (best debut in the chart to date); making it Symoné’s first album to enter the chart in the United States. It was in the top 100 for thirteen weeks, selling about 235,000 copies up to February 2, 2007, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The four songs from the album were incorporated into soundtracks from Disney films: The Lion King 1½ (“Grazing in the Grass“); The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (“This Is My Time”); Ice Princess (“Bump”); and Go Figure (“Life Is Beautiful”). In the same year, also recorded music for That’s So Raven‘s first original television soundtrack. The soundtrack debuted and peaked at #44 on the Billboard 200 and is now certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of 500,000 copies.
In 2006, also recorded music for That’s So Raven Too!‘s second original television soundtrack. The soundtrack debuted and peaked at #44 on the Billboard 200 and selling about 200,000 copies up to April 2007, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album contains five new songs written and sung by Raven, includes hit single, Some Call It Magic, friendship songs like “Friends” with Anneliese van der Pol, there’s also collaborations with Orlando Brown for “Little by Little” and Kyle Massey for “Let’s Stick Together”. The film soundtrack, The Cheetah Girls 2, debuted at #5 on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified for Platinum sales by the RIAA for sales of 1.3 million copies. This soundtrack contained three unreleased songs their soils and seven other songs as part of the group The Cheetah Girls. After the success of Raven’s third album, This Is My Time (2004), Crash Records sold their rights to the material on Undeniable to TMG Records, who in cooperation with RayBlaize and her then-current label Hollywood Records, re-released it on October 31, 2006 as, From Then Until. The re-release included the music video for “With A Child’s Heart” as well as some behind-the-scenes footage and live performances. The album sold over 8,000 in US. In support of her third studio album and That’s So Raven Too! soundtrack, which was the second soundtrack album from the series. Raven-Symoné embarked on her first headlining tour. The This Is My Time Tour kicked off on May 19, 2006 in Richmond, VA and concluded on October 21, 2006 in Columbia, SC.
2008–present: Raven-Symoné and Upcoming fifth studio album era
Her fourth studio album Raven-Symoné was released on April 29, 2008. The album features production by Sean Garrett (Beyoncé), The JAM (Leona Lewis), Knightwritaz, and The Clutch (Timbaland, Ciara). The only single released was “Double Dutch Bus“, a cover of Frankie Smith’s 1981 funk track. The single was released to radio on February 9, while the video was released on February 18, 2008. The album debuted at #159 on Billboard’s Top 200. To promote the album she planned to headline her first all-arena tour “The Pajama Party Tour” in Spring 2008, but due to what promoters call “unforeseen difficulties” the tour was postponed until further notice. Later on, Raven-Symoné confirmed that the tour would be re-scheduled and would kick off in the Summer of 2008. The tour now dubbed the Raven-Symoné: Live Tour kicked off in July 2008, and continued through 2009.
During her 2008 Summer tour, it was officially announced that after completing her 2 CD deal with Hollywood Records, she would not renew her contract with the label.
In an interview in January 2011, she told to OnTheRedCarpet.com that she has working on her fifth album. Da Beat Kadetz formerly known as The TriGz may be working on the project, with Manny Streetz (from Da Beat Kadetz) as executive producer. Raven revealed to Billboard that she would like to work with Sean Garrett again and that it will be R&B with an “alternative base for lyrics”. She will finally send out the album sometime in 2012.
1985–1992: Early life and career beginnings with The Cosby Show
Raven-Symoné was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Lydia (née Gaulden) and Christopher B. Pearman. At age three, her family moved to Ossining, New York where she attended Park School. As an infant, she worked for Atlanta’s Young Faces Inc. Modeling Agency and was featured in local print advertisements. At age two, she worked with Ford Models in New York City and appeared in ads for Ritz crackers, Jell-O, Fisher-Price, and Cool Whip.
In 1989, Raven-Symoné auditioned for a part in the Bill Cosby movie, Ghost Dad. At three years old she was considered too young for the role, but Bill Cosby liked her so much that he found a part for her on his show, The Cosby Show, as his step-granddaughter Olivia. She made her debut in the premiere episode of the show’s sixth season, and remained until the series finale in 1992. She then appeared as the younger version of Halle Berry‘s starring character, a headstrong biracial slave, in the TV movie Queen: The Story of an American Family, based on the book by Alex Haley.
1993–2001: Film debut and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper
In 1993, one year after The Cosby Show ended, she landed the role of Nicole Lee on the show Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. She made her debut in the third episode of the show’s second season, and remained until the series finale in 1997.
In 1994, During her time on the show (Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper), she had her first big screen role in the movie The Little Rascals, playing Stymie’s girlfriend. The Little Rascals had a hit performance at the box office, earning $67,308,282 worldwide during its theatrical run.
In 1999, she won her first major role in theatrical movie, she was cast in the Eddie Murphy comedy Dr. Dolittle, as Charisse Dolittle, the oldest daughter of Murphy’s character. Dr. Dolittle had a hit performance at the box office, earning $294,456,605 worldwide during its theatrical run. In the same year, she also appeared in Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century as Nebula, her first production under Disney.
In 2001, she was cast in the sequel Eddie Murphy comedy Dr. Dolittle 2 as Charisse Dolittle, the oldest daughter of Murphy’s character. Dr. Dolittle 2 had a hit performance at the box office, earning $176,104,344 worldwide during its theatrical run. In the same year, she participated in two episodes of the comedy series, My Wife and Kids as Charmaine, her first production under ABC. It was one of the factors for the controversy output of actress Jazz Raycole of the show’s cast. It was publicly reported that she was pulled from the series by her mother over concerns about the second season opening storyline in which Raycole (as Claire) finds her friend Charmaine has become pregnant.
2002–2007: Kim Possible, That’s So Raven, and The Cheetah Girls
In 2002, Symoné was given the voice role of Monique on Kim Possible as the best friend of Kim Possible. Symoné had a recurring role, as she was featured in all seasons of the show, and participated in the two films for the series, Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time (2003) and Kim Possible: So the Drama (2005). Also in 2002, Symoné auditioned for a role on an up-coming series for the Disney Channel titled Absolutely Psychic, about a teenager with psychic abilities. She actually auditioned for the recurring role of Chelsea Daniels, but her role was changed to the lead character Raven Baxter and the series name changed to That’s So Raven. The series debuted on January 17, 2003 and ended on November 10, 2007, becoming the Disney Channel’s highest-rated and longest-running series. The title character draws on her talent, ingenuity, psychic powers and a variety of disguises to get in and out of amusing adolescent and pre-adolescent situations. It spawned a franchise including soundtracks, dolls, episode DVDs, and video games. That’s So Raven was nominated for Outstanding Children’s Program during the 2005 and 2007 Emmy Awards. That’s So Raven, was the first Disney Channel series to have four seasons and 100 episodes. Merchandise has earned to date $400 million. The show also launched the channel’s first spin-off series, Cory in the House.
In 2003, she starred as lead singer Galleria Garibaldi in The Cheetah Girls, a Disney Channel Original Movie about four city girls who dream of becoming superstars. The movie was the channel’s first musical and was the basis for another franchise, including dolls, video games, platinum-selling soundtracks and more. The film also starred Adrienne Bailon as Chanel Simmons, Sabrina Bryan as Dorinda Thomas, and Kiely Williams as Aquanette Walker. The film was directed by Oz Scott, and produced by Grammy-winner Whitney Houston. It attracted more than 6.5 million viewers opening night, making it (at the time) Disney Channel’s most-watched movie and most highest-rated Disney Channel of 2003.
In 2004, during her time on the show (That’s So Raven), Raven-Symoné provided the voice of Danielle in Fat Albert. It had a moderate performance at the box office, earning $48,551,322 million worldwide during its theatrical run. She made an appearance in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement as Princess Asana, during which she sang a duet with Julie Andrews. It was her first film with Walt Disney Pictures. It was also a hit performance at the box office, earning $134,734,481 million worldwide during its theatrical run. The sequel television film, Zenon: Z3 a Disney Channel Original Movie, included Raven-Symoné as Nebula Wade, reprising her role again in the film, Zenon: The Zequel (2001). On opening night, the sequel brought in more than 1.3 million viewers.
The same year, after the unexpected success of the film and the film soundtrack, a pilot episode of The Cheetah Girls was recorded for the channel ABC. It was never picked up as a series due to Symoné not being able to be in two series at the same time.
In 2006, she starred in her first dramatic role of her career. The drama, For One Night, was based on a true story. Its premiere was on February 6, 2006 with the station Lifetime Movie Network. Symoné starred as Briana McCallister, inspired by the true story of an African American teenager who shook up a small town where high school proms had been racially segregated for decades. During this time, she also disengaged from the Disney Channel. In the same year, Raven-Symoné continued her role in The Cheetah Girls 2, The film was directed by Kenny Ortega and produced by Grammy-winner Whitney Houston. Raven-Symoné served as executive producer of the film. The film brought in more than 8 million viewers opening night, making it (at the time) Disney Channel’s most-watched movie and most highest-rated Disney Channel of the year 2006. Later that year, she provided her voice for Marti Brewster in, Everyone’s Hero, which was distributed by 20th Century Fox, and released theatrically on September 15, 2006. Everyone’s Hero had a moderate performance at the box office, earning only $16 million worldwide during its theatrical run, but the film was not released in several major countries.
In 2008, The Cheetah Girls: One World began production, however Raven-Symoné did not return for another film, citing “territorial issues” and “catfights” on the set of Cheetah Girls 2, which led to a strained friendship with the other three actors. In a later interview, Adrienne Bailon, Sabrina Bryan and Kiely Williams denied the rumors, saying they all get along well.
2008–2009: College Road Trip, and Tinker Bell
In 2008, Raven-Symoné starred in her first leading role. The comedy College Road Trip surrounds Melanie Porter a 17-year-old college-bound girl who is eagerly looking forward to her first big step towards independence, when she plans a girls only road trip to check out prospective universities. But when her overbearing police chief father (Martin Lawrence) insists on escorting her instead in hopes to sway her decision, soon finds her dream trip has turned into a nightmare adventure full of comical misfortune and turmoil. In its opening weekend, the film grossed approximately $14,000,000 in 2,706 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking as the #2 film at box office. It went on to gross more than $60,000,000 worldwide.
Raven performing at the Disson Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular.
During 2008 and 2009, Raven-Symoné provided her voice for Iridessa the light-fairy in the Disney Fairies direct-to-DVD film series, Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, and Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. Raven-Symoné is expected to return to the franchise for the films Tinker Bell and the Mysterious Winter Woods and Tinker Bell: Race Through the Seasons. Raven also appeared in Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary Good Hair.
In an interview with Teenmag.com, she announced that in late 2009, she would return to the studio to record her next album. She said that the album will be “R&B, most definitely…..with an alternative base for the lyrics”. She said, “It’s good to go out there and spread your wings and find new talent and work with people you haven’t worked with before. I’d love to find the next Timbaland or the next someone who’s coming up and no one really knows yet. At the same time, I’d love to work with the Clutch and the J.A.M. again”.
2010–present: Revenge of the Bridesmaids, State of Georgia and Sister Act
Raven-Symoné in February 2010
In 2010, Raven-Symoné starred in an ABC Family, made-for-tv film, Revenge of the Bridesmaids. Revenge of the Bridesmaids surrounds two childhood friends who attempt to thwart the wedding of a no-good, money hungry ex-friend by going undercover as bridesmaids so that true love can prevail. The film garnered 2.5 million viewers on its premiere, making it the number 1 movie on basic cable in women 18-34, and ranked among the Top 5 programs in its time period in Total Viewers that week.
Raven-Symoné also made a guest appearance on the Disney Channel Original Series Sonny with a Chance. She portrayed the character Amber Algoode, the president of Chad Dylan Cooper’s fan club.
She was a guest performer, along with pianist Chau-Giang Thi-Nguyen, and jazz trumpeter and pianist Arturo Sandoval, at the December 9 performance of Debbie Allen‘s new dance-theater piece, The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Proceeds from the performance, as well as from its run from December 10–11, benefited the children of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
In 2011, Symoné has recently returned to television as the star of ABC Family‘s multi-camera comedy pilot State of Georgia. The project, from ABC Studios, centers on Georgia (Symoné), an exuberant and curvy performer from the south who is trying to make it big as an actress in New York City. The pilot was written by author Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes) and Jeff Greenstein (Desperate Housewives). The series premiered in June 2011. The season concluded August 17, 2011 with twelve episodes, and ABC Family cancelled the show on September 16, 2011. On January 31, 2012, it was confirmed that the actress will be in the Broadway musical Sister Act as Deloris van Cartier. Symoné will play at least six months on Broadway, a role previously held by Patina Miller (Broadway) and Whoopi Goldberg (Films).[39
James Edwards (March 6, 1918 – January 4, 1970) was an African American actor in films and television. His most famous role was as Private Peter Moss in the 1949 film Home of the Brave, in which he portrayed a soldier experiencing racial prejudice while serving in the South Pacific during World War II. Other notable roles were in Stanley Kubrick‘s The Killing (1956) and John Frankenheimer‘s The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Edwards was prolific on TV in the 1960s, playing character roles in various series such as Peter Gunn, The Fugitive, Burke’s Law, Dr. Kildare and Mannix, before his death of a heart attack at the age of 51.
James Baskett (February 16, 1904 – July 9, 1948) was an American actor known for his portrayal of Uncle Remus, singing the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” in the 1946 Disney feature film Song of the South, for which he was given an Honorary Academy Award, making him the first male performer of African descent to receive an Oscar.
Uncle Remus as portrayed by James Baskett in Song of the South
After abandoning his studies of pharmacology for financial reasons, Baskett supported himself as an actor, moving from his home town of Indianapolis, Indiana to New York City, New York and joining the company of Bill Robinson, better known as Mr. Bojangles. As Jimmie Baskette, he appeared on Broadway with Louis Armstrong in the all-black musical revue Hot Chocolates in 1929, and was announced for Hummin’ Sam in 1933, although it failed to open. Baskett also acted in several all-black films made in the New York area, including Harlem is Heaven (1932) starring Bill Robinson. He went to Los Angeles, California and had a supporting role in Straight to Heaven (1939), starring Nina Mae McKinney, and bit parts in the films Revenge of the Zombies (1943) and The Heavenly Body (1944). He was invited by Freeman Gosden to join the cast of the Amos ‘n’ Andy radio show as lawyer Gabby Gibson, whom he portrayed from 1944 to 1948.
In 1945, he auditioned for a bit part voicing one of the animals in the new Disney feature film Song of the South (1946), based on the Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris. Walt Disney was impressed with Baskett’s talent and hired him on the spot for the lead role of Uncle Remus. Baskett was also given the voice role of Brer Fox, one of the film’s animated antagonists, and even filled in as the main animated protagonist, Brer Rabbit, in one sequence.
Baskett was unable to attend the film’s premiere in Atlanta, Georgia because he would not have been allowed to participate in any of the festivities in what was then a city racially segregated by law. On March 20, 1948, Baskett received an Honorary Academy Award for his performance as Uncle Remus. He was the first black man to win an Academy Award, albeit a non-competitive one.
On July 9, 1948, Baskett died of heart disease at the age of 44 and is survived by his wife, Margaret. He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.
Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. (born December 28, 1954) is an American actor, screenwriter, director, and film producer. He first rose to prominence when he joined the cast of the medical drama, St. Elsewhere, playing Dr. Philip Chandler for six years. He has received much critical acclaim for his work in film since the 1990s, including for his portrayals of real-life figures, such as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, Melvin B. Tolson, Frank Lucas and Herman Boone.
Washington has received two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe awards, and a Tony Award. He is notable for winning the Best Supporting Actor for Glory in 1989; and the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2001 for his role in the film Training Day.
Denzel Washington was born in Mount Vernon, near New York City, New York on December 28, 1954. His mother, Lennis “Lynne”, was a beauty parlor-owner and operator born in Georgia and partly raised in Harlem. His father, Reverend Denzel Hayes Washington, Sr., a native of Buckingham County, Virginia, served as an ordained Pentecostal minister, and also worked for the Water Department and a local department store, S. Klein.
Washington attended grammar school at Pennington-Grimes Elementary School in Mount Vernon until 1968. When he was 14, his parents’ marriage fell apart and his mother sent him to a private preparatory school, Oakland Military Academy, in New Windsor, New York. “That decision changed my life,” Washington later said, “because I wouldn’t have survived in the direction I was going. The guys I was hanging out with at the time, my running buddies, have now done maybe 40 years combined in the penitentiary. They were nice guys, but the streets got them.” After Oakland, Washington next attended Mainland High School, a public high school in Daytona Beach, Florida, from 1970–71. Washington was interested in attending Texas Tech University: “I grew up in the Boys Club in Mount Vernon, and we were the Red Raiders. So when I was in high school, I wanted to go to Texas Tech in Lubbock just because they were called the Red Raiders and their uniforms looked like ours.” Washington earned a B.A. in Drama and Journalism from Fordham University in 1977. At Fordham he played collegiate basketball as a freshman guard under coach P. J. Carlesimo. After a period of indecision on which major to study and dropping out of school for a semester, Washington worked as a counselor at an overnight summer camp, Camp Sloane YMCA in Lakeville, Connecticut. He participated in a staff talent show for the campers and a colleague suggested he try acting.
Returning to Fordham that fall with a renewed purpose and focus, he enrolled at the Lincoln Center campus to study acting and was given the title roles in both Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones and Shakespeare’s Othello. Upon graduation he attended graduate school at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, where he stayed for one year before returning to New York to begin a professional acting career.
Washington spent the summer of 1976 in St. Mary’s City, Maryland in summer stock theater performing Wings of the Morning, the Maryland State play. He also filmed a series of commercials in the Fruit of the Loom ensemble, as Grapes. Shortly after graduating from Fordham, Washington made his professional acting debut in the 1977 made-for-television film Wilma with his first Hollywood appearance in the 1981 film Carbon Copy. Washington shared a 1982 Distinguished Ensemble Performance Obie Award for playing Private First Class Melvin Peterson in the Off-Broadway Negro Ensemble Company production A Soldier’s Play which premiered November 20, 1981.
A major career break came when he starred as Dr. Phillip Chandler in the television hospital drama St. Elsewhere which ran from 1982 to 1988 on NBC. He was one of only a few African American actors to appear on the series for its entire six-year run. Washington also appeared in several television, film and stage roles such as the films A Soldier’s Story (1984), Hard Lessons (1986) and Power (1986). In 1987 Washington starred as South African anti-apartheid political activist Steven Biko in Richard Attenborough‘s Cry Freedom for which he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1989 Washington won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing a defiant self-possessed ex-slave soldier in the film Glory. Also that year he appeared in the film The Mighty Quinn, and as the conflicted and disillusioned Reuben James, a British soldier who, despite a distinguished military career, returns to a civilian life where racism and inner city life leads to vigilantism and violence in For Queen and Country.
1991, Washington starred as Bleek Gilliam in the Spike Lee film Mo’ Better Blues. In 1992, he starred as Demetrius Williams in the romantic drama Mississippi Masala. Washington was reunited with Lee to play one of his most critically acclaimed roles as the title character of 1992‘s Malcolm X. His performance as the black nationalist leader earned him another nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The next year he played the lawyer of a gay man with AIDS in the 1993 film Philadelphia. During the early and mid 1990s, Washington starred in several successful thrillers, including The Pelican Brief and Crimson Tide, as well as in comedy Much Ado About Nothing and alongside Whitney Houston in the romantic drama The Preacher’s Wife.
In 1998, Washington starred in Spike Lee’s film, He Got Game. Washington played a father serving a six year prison term who is propositioned by the warden to a temporary parole on the terms that he must convince his top-ranked high-school basketball player son (Ray Allen), into signing with the governor’s alma mater, Big State. The film also marked the third time that Spike Lee and Washington worked on a film together.
In 1999, Washington starred in The Hurricane a film about boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter whose conviction for triple murder was overturned after he had spent almost 20 years in prison. A former reporter who was angry at seeing the film portray Carter as innocent despite the overturned conviction began a campaign to pressure Academy Award voters not to award the film Oscars. Washington did receive a Golden Globe Award in 2000 and a Silver Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival for the role.
He also presented the Arthur Ashe ESPY Award to Loretta Claiborne for her courage and appeared as himself in the end of The Loretta Claiborne Story film.
In 2000, Washington appeared in the Disney film Remember the Titans which grossed over $100 million at the United States box office.
When Washington won a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Movie in 2000, as he noted: “No African-American has won best actor in the Golden Globes since Sidney Poitier, until I did”. That made him the first Black actor to win the award in 36 years.
He won an Academy Award for Best Actor in his next film, the 2001 cop thriller Training Day as Detective Alonzo Harris, a rogue Los Angeles cop with questionable law-enforcement tactics. Washington was the second African-American performer to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, the first being Sidney Poitier who happened to receive an Honorary Academy Award the same night that Washington won. Washington holds the record (five so far) for most Oscar nominations by an actor of African descent, along with Morgan Freeman since 2009.
After appearing in 2002′s box office success, the health care-themed John Q., Washington directed his first film, a well-reviewed drama called Antwone Fisher, in which he also co-starred.
Between 2003 and 2004, Washington appeared in a series of thrillers that performed generally well at the box office, including Out of Time, Man on Fire, and The Manchurian Candidate. In 2006, he starred in Inside Man, a Spike Lee-directed bank heist thriller co-starring Jodie Foster and Clive Owen, and Déjà Vu released in November 2006.
In 2006, Denzel worked alongside multi-talented Irish off-rock band The Script on their new project combining music and Hollywood. The hybrid of genres was critically acclaimed but didn’t receive much mainstream attention due to a legal conflicts between The Script’s record label and Denzel’s studio commitments.
In 2007, he co-starred with Russell Crowe in American Gangster. Washington directed and starred in the drama The Great Debaters with Forest Whitaker. Washington next appeared in the 2009 film The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, a remake of the 1974 thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, directed by Tony Scott as New York City subway security chief Walter Garber opposite John Travolta.
Return to theater
Washington after a performance of Julius Caesar in May 2005
Washington was last seen onstage in the summer of 1990 in the title role of the Public Theater‘s production of Shakespeare’s Richard III and in 2005, after a 15-year hiatus, he appeared onstage again in another Shakespeare play as Marcus Brutus in Julius Caesar on Broadway. The production’s limited run was a consistent sell-out averaging over 100% attendance capacity nightly despite receiving mixed reviews.
In February 2009, Washington began filming The Book of Eli a post-Apocalyptic drama set in the near future which was released in January 2010. Also the same year, he starred as a veteran railroad engineer in the action film Unstoppable, about an unmanned, half-mile-long runaway freight train carrying a dangerous cargo. The film was directed by Tony Scott, and was the fifth collaboration between the two, after previous films Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Déjà Vu (2006) and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009).
On June 13, 2010, Washington won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his role in the play Fences. Washington co-starred with Ryan Reynolds in the 2012 film Safe House, and will star in The Matarese Circle.
On June 25, 1983, Washington married Pauletta Pearson, whom he met on the set of his first screen work, the television film Wilma. The couple have four children: John David (b. July 28, 1984), who signed a football contract with the St. Louis Rams in May 2006 and is currently playing with the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League (John David also played college football at Morehouse); Katia (b. November 27, 1987), who graduated from Yale University with a Bachelors of Arts in 2010; and twins Olivia and Malcolm (b. April 10, 1991) (Malcolm attends the University of Pennsylvania). In 1995, the couple renewed their wedding vows in South Africa with Archbishop Desmond Tutu officiating.
Washington is a devout Christian, and has considered becoming a preacher. He stated in 1999, “A part of me still says, ‘Maybe, Denzel, you’re supposed to preach. Maybe you’re still compromising.’ I’ve had an opportunity to play great men and, through their words, to preach. I take what talent I’ve been given seriously, and I want to use it for good.” In 1995 he donated 2.5 million dollars to help build the new West Angeles Church of God in Christ facility in Los Angeles.
Washington has served as the national spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America since 1993. As such, he has been featured in several public service announcements and awareness campaigns for the organization. In addition, he has served as a board member for Boys & Girls Clubs of America since 1995.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia named Washington as one of three people (the others being directors Oliver Stone and Michael Moore) with whom they were willing to negotiate for the release of three defense contractors that the group had held captive from 2003 to 2008.
On May 18, 1991, Washington was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Fordham University, for having “impressively succeeded in exploring the edge of his multifaceted talent”. In 2011 he donated $2 million to Fordham for an endowed chair of the theatre department, as well as $250,000 for a theatre-specific scholarship to Fordham. He also was awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities from Morehouse College on May 20, 2007.
In 2008, Washington visited Israel with a delegation of African American artists in honor of the Jewish state’s 60th birthday.
In 2011, Washington received an honorary degree from the University of Pennsylvania, serving as the keynote speaker for commencement.
Washington is a fan of the New York Yankees. He is good friends with former manager Joe Torre. He’s also good friends with comedians Jerry Seinfeld and George Wallace.
Ossie Davis (December 18, 1917 – February 4, 2005) was an American film actor, director, poet, playwright, writer, and social activist.
Davis was born Raiford Chatman Davis in Cogdell, Clinch County, Georgia, a son of Kince Charles Davis, a railway construction engineer, and his wife Laura (née Cooper). The name Ossie came from a county clerk who misheard his mother’s pronunciation of his initials “R.C.” when he was born. So he inadvertently became “Ossie” when his mother told the courthouse clerk in Clinch River, Ga., who was filing his birth certificate that his name was R.C. Davis. Davis experienced racism from an early age as the KKK threatened to shoot his father, whose job they felt was too advanced for a black man to have. Following the wishes of his parents, he attended Howard University but dropped out in 1939 to fulfill his acting career in New York; he later attended Columbia University School of General Studies. His acting career, which spanned seven decades, began in 1939 with the Rose McClendon Players in Harlem. He made his film debut in 1950 in the Sidney Poitier film No Way Out. He voiced Anansi the spider on the PBS children’s television series Sesame Street in its animation segments.
When Davis wanted to pursue a career in acting, he ran into the usual roadblocks that blacks suffered at that time as they generally could only portray stereotypical characters such as Stepin Fetchit. Instead, he tried to follow the example of Sidney Poitier and play more distinguished characters. When he found it necessary to play a Pullman porter or a butler, he tried to portray the character seriously and not in a stereotypical manner.
In addition to acting, Davis, along with Melvin Van Peebles, and Gordon Parks was one of the notable African American directors of his generation: he directed movies like Gordon’s War, Black Girl and the far famed action film Cotton Comes to Harlem . Along with Bill Cosby and Poitier, Davis was one of a handful of African American actors able to find commercial success while avoiding stereotypical roles prior to 1970, which also included a significant role in the 1965 movie The Hill alongside Sean Connery plus roles in The Cardinal and The Scalphunters. However, Davis never had the tremendous commercial or critical success that Cosby and Poitier enjoyed. As a playwright, Davis wrote Paul Robeson: All-American, which is frequently performed in theatre programs for young audiences.
Davis found recognition late in his life by working in several of director Spike Lee‘s films, including Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, She Hate Me and Get on the Bus. He also found work as a commercial voice-over artist and served as the narrator of the early-1990s CBS sitcom Evening Shade, starring Burt Reynolds, where he also played one of the residents of a small southern town.
In 1999, he appeared as a theater caretaker in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra film The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, which was released on DVD 2 years later.
In 1995, Davis and wife Ruby Dee were awarded the National Medal of Arts. They were also recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004. They were also named to the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame in 1989.
His last role was a several episode guest role on the Showtime drama series The L Word, as a father struggling with the acceptance of his daughter Bette (Jennifer Beals) parenting a child with her lesbian partner. In his final episodes, his character was taken ill and died. His wife Ruby Dee was present during the filming of his own death scene. That episode, which aired shortly after Davis’s own death, aired with a dedication to the actor.
In 1948, Davis married actress Ruby Dee. In their joint autobiography With Ossie and Ruby, they described their decision to have an open marriage (later changing their minds). Their son Guy Davis is a blues musician and former actor, who appeared in the film Beat Street and the daytime soap opera One Life to Live.
Their daughters are Nora Davis Day and Hasna Muhammad.
They were well known as civil rights activists, and were close personal friends of Malcolm X, Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other icons of the era. Davis and Dee’s deep involvement in the movement is characterized by how instrumental they were in organizing the 1963 civil rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, even to the point of serving as emcee. Davis, alongside Ahmed Osman, delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Malcolm X. He re-read part of this eulogy at the end of Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X. He also delivered a stirring tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, at a memorial in New York’s Central Park the day after King was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee.
Davis was found dead in a Miami, Florida hotel room on February 4, 2005. An official cause of death was not released, but he had heart problems for years and had recently been hospitalized for pneumonia. His last role had been the father of Kit Porter and Bette Porter in The L Word, a role which ended with his death from prostate cancer in her home. The episode, which was broadcast after Davis’ death, was dedicated to his memory.
Courtney Bernard Vance (born March 12, 1960) is an American actor. He was formerly a regular on the NBC/USA television series Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver. He was also a series regular on the ABC series FlashForward. As of 2011, he appears on the TNT series The Closer as Chief Tommy Delk.
Courtney B. Vance was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Leslie, a librarian, and Conroy Vance, a grocery store manager and benefits administrator. He attended Detroit Country Day School, a fee-paying university-preparatory school, and later graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor of arts degree. While attending Harvard, Vance was already working as an actor at the Boston Shakespeare Company. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree later at Yale School of Drama where he met future wife and fellow student Angela Bassett.
Vance has earned two Tony Award nominations, each in Tony Award-winning productions. He was nominated for his role in August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences and for his lead role in John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation. In 1987 he won a Clarence Derwent Award for his role as Cory Maxson in Fences.
Prior to joining the cast of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Vance appeared on the original Law & Order series twice: in a minor role in the first-season episode “By Hooker, By Crook”, and in a major role in the fifth season episode “Rage”.
Vance’s feature film roles have won him praise. His early credits include Hamburger Hill, The Hunt for Red October, The Last Supper, Dangerous Minds, and The Adventures of Huck Finn. More recently, he appeared in Robert Altman‘s Cookie’s Fortune, Penny Marshall‘s The Preacher’s Wife, and in Clint Eastwood‘s Space Cowboys. Vance also starred in the independent film Love and Action in Chicago, a romantic comedy which he also co-produced. Vance played Black Panther Bobby Seale in the Melvin and Mario Van Peebles docudrama Panther. In 2008 and 2009 he guest starred in the final season of ER alongside his wife Angela Bassett.
Vance’s television credits include such cable movies as:
On December 2, 2008, TV Guide reported that Vance has been cast as the Los Angeles bureau chief of the FBI in the new ABC pilot FlashForward, which is based on a Robert J. Sawyer novel, and is said to be a possible “companion show” to Lost. Vance is set for the lead in the German-American apocalypse thriller The Divide.
Vance has also provided the voiceover for the National Football League‘s “You Want the NFL, Go to the NFL” television spots.
Vance is married to actress Angela Bassett. The couple’s first children are twins, son Slater Josiah and daughter Bronwyn Golden, born on January 27, 2006. He and Bassett have authored a book, Friends: A Love Story. The two also participate in the annual Christmas celebration, Candlelight Processional, at Epcot.
Vance is on the Board of Directors for The Actors Center in New York City, and is an active supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He is an alumnus of the Detroit Boys & Girls Club, and was recently inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.