Also Credited As:Larry Fishburne, Laurence John Fishburne
About Laurence Fishburne
Born on July 30, 1961 in Augusta, GA, Fishburne was raised by his mother, a teacher, who divorced his father, Laurence Sr., a juvenile corrections officer, prior to his birth. When he was around three years old, his mother moved him back to New York, where he grew up in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was there that he began his acting career as a child, thanks in large part to the prodding of his mother, who did more than just encourage him to be a performer. After performing in a grade school production of "Peter Pan," Fishburne made his professional debut in Charles Fuller's "My Many Names and Faces" (1971) at the New Federal Theatre. Two years later, he had a regular role as Joshua West Hall, the adopted son of a police captain, on "One Life to Live" (ABC, 1968- ), which he played from 1973-76. During that time, Fishburne made his feature debut in the urban coming-of-age drama, "Cornbread, Earl and Me" (1975), while participating in the "Talented Unlimited" program at Julia Richman High School. Though he was accepted into New York's famed High School for the Performing Arts, Fishburne declined to attend after being cast in what turned out to be his most pivotal film.
At just 14 years old, Fishburne was whisked away to the Philippines for 18 months by director Francis Ford Coppola to film "Apocalypse Now" (1979), entering a whirlwind of insanity and debauchery that no doubt left an indelible mark on the impressionable young actor. Coppola originally was looking for a 16- or 17-year-old to play the part of a young recruit, leading the younger actor to famously lie about his age in order to get the job. Cast as Mr. Clean, a brash kid from the Bronx who serves as a gunner's mate on a Navy patrol boat that shepherds an Army captain (Martin Sheen) deep into the heart of Vietnam in order for him to "terminate with extreme prejudice" Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a former decorated officer gone mad and operating his own private army of devotees. While delivering a controlled performance on screen, Fishburne was sucked into the madness behind the scenes, falling in with Dennis Hopper and struggling to keep up with that actor's prolific indulgences. But he was also taken in by Coppola himself, who treated the young actor like his own child. It was from the director that Fishburne learned to see films and acting in a more artistic sense.
While "Apocalypse Now" became a critical and commercial hit, earning several Academy Award nominations, Fishburne failed to receive any direct benefit. He spent the next few years floundering in small roles, usually playing some variation of a tough guy or heavy in movies like "Death Wish II" (1982). Coppola maintained his father-like relationship with the young actor, offering him small roles in "Rumble Fish" (1983), "The Cotton Club" (1984) and "Gardens of Stone" (1987). Fishburne was also seen as Swain in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed adaptation of Alice Walker's "The Color Purple" (1985) while also appearing on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" (CBS, 1986-1990) in recurring fashion as Cowboy Curtis, a 1950s-style cowboy who sported a jheri curl mullet. After a turn as a hospital orderly in "A Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors" (1987), Fishburne began coming into his own with a leading role in Spike Lee's ensemble comedy "School Daze" (1988), playing the Afro-centrist Dap Dunlap, who leads anti-apartheid demonstrations at an historically black college. Back on the stage, he starred as a loose cannon former convict in the 1990 world premiere of August Wilson's "Two Trains Running" at Yale Repertory Theater, a role that he recreated for Broadway in 1992 and won several prizes, including a Tony Award.
After his no-holds-barred histrionics elevated his psychotic killer in "The King of New York" (1990) above the garden-variety thug, Fishburne provided the moral center of "Boyz N The Hood" (1991) as Furious Styles, a model father who struggles to steer his son, Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) away from South Central Los Angeles gang life. Following a supporting turn in the legal drama, "Class Action" (1991), he radiated a sullen intensity as an undercover cop in Bill Duke's edgy thriller, "Deep Cover" (1992). On the small screen, Fishburne won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Star - Drama Series for his performance in the first episode of the anthology drama, "TriBeCa" (Fox, 1993). Continuing a stellar year, he earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his riveting, unflattering portrait of 1960s pop star Ike Turner, who both discovered and terrorized pop singer Tina Turner (Angela Bassett) in the acclaimed biopic, "What's Love Got to Do With It" (1993). He also lent solid support as a streetwise speed chess player who teaches a gifted young boy (Max Pomeranc) to play, despite him having a hired instructor (Ben Kingsley) in the underrated "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (1993).
In 1995, Fishburne had another career year with starring roles in four diverse features. Reuniting with John Singleton for "Higher Learning," he was a political science professor at Columbus University attempting to motivate his apathetic students (Omar Epps, Ice Cube and Michael Rapaport). Underutilized as a spy opposite Ellen Barkin in "Bad Company" (1995), he delivered the goods as a tough cop resentful of the investigations of a law professor (Sean Connery) in "Just Cause" (1995). Despite never having performed Shakespeare before, Fishburne made motion picture history with his starring turn in "Othello" (1995), becoming the first black actor to portray the Bard's Moor in a major film released by a studio. Also that year, Fishburne made his off-Broadway debut as a playwright and director with "Riff-Raff," a popular, loosely structured drama about an African-American con man (Fishburne) and his relationship with a white junkie (Titus Welliver), which he later adapted into a feature in 2000. Also that year, Fishburne delivered an Emmy-nominated turn as Hannibal "Iowa" Lee, in "The Tuskegee Airmen" (HBO, 1995), which told the story of the first African-American fighter pilots in World War II.
Reuniting with Bill Duke, Fishburne executive produced and starred in "Hoodlum" (1997), essaying real-life Harlem racketeer Bumpy Johnson, on whom his character in "The Cotton Club" previously had been based. The extremely watchable Depression-era film benefited greatly from the fresh angle its black point-of-view brought to a fairly well-known historical account, with Fishburne displaying a great range of emotions lurking under Bumpy's seemingly placid exterior. He earned his second Emmy as executive producer of the universally acclaimed "Miss Evers' Boys" (HBO, 1997), a dramatization of the Tuskegee Study, a shameful medical experiment in which the U.S. Public Health Service withheld treatment from a group of African-American men with syphilis to examine the effects. Fishburne also co-starred as an early participant in the study who romances Alfre Woodard's nurse Eunice Evers. After executive producing and starring as Socrates Fortlow in "Always Outnumbered" (HBO, 1998), he enjoyed his biggest commercial success to date with the sci-fi actioner "The Matrix" (1999). Finding a balance between action hero and Zen Master, Fishburne offered a commanding presence as the mysterious revolutionary Morpheus, who helps guide slacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) toward his destiny in saving the human race from bondage. Added to the spectacle was the arresting visual style of its writer-directors, Larry and Andy Wachowski, which turned the film into a commercial and cultural phenomenon.
After the mega-success of "The Matrix," Fishburne took his first turn behind the camera as the director of "Once in the Life" (2000), an adaptation of his 1994 play "Riff Raff" in which he starred as two-bit hood 20/20 Mike, a supposed expert at self-preservation whose world is thrown into chaos when his white junkie half-brother (Titus Welliver, also reprising his stage role) fouls up a heroin heist. The film was well acted and handsomely filmed, but suffered from the claustrophobic confines of its theatrical origins. Fishburne next appeared in the fast-paced action film "Biker Boyz" (2003) as Smoke, the reigning champion among a ring of African-American professionals by day who become motorcycle street racers by night. That same year he returned to the role of Morpheus for "The Matrix Reloaded" and its filmed back-to-back sequel, "The Matrix Revolutions," though he exchanged his signature cool for volume and bravado in Morpheus' new incarnation as a borderline zealot. Fishburne was next used to strong effect by director Clint Eastwood in the Oscar-baiting drama, "Mystic River" (2003), playing police detective Whitey Powers, who doubts the ability of his partner (Kevin Bacon) to stay impartial on a homicide case involving two of his childhood friends (Sean Penn and Tim Robbins).
Back to playing bad guys, Fishburne took on the role of a powerful crime kingpin whose arrest provokes an all-out invasion of a police precinct house in the well-assembled remake of the thriller "Assault on Precinct 13" (2005). Fishburne next co-starred alongside Tom Cruise, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Michelle Monaghan in "Mission: Impossible III" (2006), playing an IMF director suspected of being a mole by Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise). Following an appearance in Emilio Estevez's "Bobby" (2006), a unique ensemble drama centered around the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, he played a scheming DEA agent in the low-budget thriller "The Life and Death of Bobby Z" (2006), before voicing the Silver Surfer in "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" (2007). He next had a small role as a casino security agent in "21" (2008), after which he earned a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in "Thurgood" (2008). Turning back to television, he took over for longtime star William Petersen on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ), playing Dr. Raymond Langston, the new leader of the Las Vegas-based forensics team. While on the show, Fishburne continued to appear in films like "Armored" (2009) and "Predators" (2010).
While his career flourished, Fishburne's personal life hit an embarrassing patch when it was revealed that daughter Montana, from his first marriage to casting director Hanja Moss, was using his name to launch a pornographic career. After an audition tape of her performing leaked onto the Internet, it was further revealed that she was looking to make a multi-picture deal with notorious porn distributor, Vivid Entertainment. Though he declined to publicly comment on the sordid affair, Fishburne was reportedly deeply hurt by his daughter's actions and allegedly cut her out from his life, citing his embarrassment over her chosen career. The previous year, it was reported that Montana had been arrested for soliciting prostitution, with charges being dropped by prosecutors in a plea deal. The incident remained under wraps until his daughter's desire to break into the porn industry. Making matters worse, Montana was in trouble with the law again in August 2010, after she was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and trespassing, which stemmed from a February incident in which she allegedly broke into the home of an unnamed female victim, forced her into the bathroom and savagely beat her. Again, Fishburne refrained from making any public comment. Fortunately, the scandal had little effect on his career, as Fishburne reprised his one-man show for the cable adaptation of "Thurgood" (HBO, 2011), which earned the actor an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. Also that year, his days with "CSI" came to end when he declined to renew his contract for the show in order to concentrate his energies on films and the stage.
|Gina Torres. Met 1995 on a blind date; engaged December 2000; first announced engagement May 2001; married Sept. 22, 2002 in NYC|
|Victoria Dillard. Met on set of "Deep Cover" (1992); no longer together|
|Hajna O Moss. Introduced by Spike Lee; Moss was NYU student from the Bahamas when they met; married 1985; divorced c. 1993|
|Ashley Fishburne. Born in June 2007; mother, Gina Torres|
|Montana Fishburne. Born in 1991; mother, Hajna Moss; godfather is actor Martin Sheen|
|Laurence Fishburne. Worked in the Bronx; divorced from Fishburne's mother; saw son about once a month when he was young|
|Maurice Anthony Watson. Taught at Brooklyn College; Fishburne based his portrayal of Mr Phipps, the college professor in John Singleton's "Higher Learning" (1995) on Watson|
|Hattie Fishburne. Taught junior high school math and science; traveled with son to Philippines during shooting of "Apocalpyse Now" (1979) to tutor him; divorced from Fishburne's father|
|Langston Fishburne. Born in 1987; mother, Hanja Moss|
|Julia Richman High School, New York , New York|
|Lincoln Square Academy, New York , New York|
|First part was in second grade playing Peter Pan|
|Raised by mother in Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York|
|Professional stage debut as a young baseball fan in Charles Fuller's "My Many Names and Faces" at NYC's New Federal Theatre|
|Appeared regularly on "One Life to Live" (ABC) as Joshua West Hall, the adopted son of a police captain|
|Film debut in starring role in "Cornbread, Earl and Me"|
|Played Tony Pridgeon in "Section D" at the New Federal Theatre|
|Co-starred Off-Broadway in the Negro Ensemble Company production of "Eden"|
|Went to the Philippines for 18 months to shoot "Apocalypse Now" (1979) under Francis Ford Coppola's direction; credited in the film as Larry Fishburne|
|Credited as Laurence Fishburne III for "Fast Break"|
|TV series debut, "The Six O'Clock Follies" (NBC)|
|Reteamed with Coppola for "Rumble Fish"|
|Third film with Coppola, "The Cotton Club"; for his role as the fictional Bumpy Rhodes, he researched the real Harlem gangster Bumpy Johnson, whom he would later portray in "Hoodlum" (1997)|
|Cast as Swain in Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple"|
|Had continuing role as Cowboy Curtis on "Pee-wee's Playhouse" (CBS); met a young production assistant named John Singleton, who would later direct him in his breakthrough role "Boyz N the Hood" (1991)|
|Fourth film with Coppola, "Gardens of Stone"|
|Acted in Spike Lee's "School Daze"|
|Provided some of the muscle for Christopher Walken's drug operation in Abel Ferrara's "King of New York"|
|Won acclaim for his lead performance as the father in "Boyz N the Hood"; directed by John Singleton|
|Co-starred as an ex-con romancing a waitress in August Wilson's stage drama "Two Trains Running"; play first produced at Yale Rep before moving to Broadway; received Tony Award|
|Earned an Emmy Award as Best Guest Actor for his turn in the pilot episode of "TriBeCa" (Fox)|
|Played Ike Turner to Angela Bassett's Tina Turner in "What's Love Got to Do with It"; received Best Actor Oscar nomination|
|Portrayed the Washington Square Park mentor of a young chess prodigy in "Searching for Bobby Fischer"|
|Formed Loa Productions, an independent production company|
|Became first black actor to portray Shakespeare's "Othello" in major studio feature|
|Played Hannibal 'Iowa' Lee in the acclaimed HBO movie, "The Tuskegee Airmen"; earned an Emmy nomination|
|Reteamed with Singleton for "Higher Learning"|
|Wrote, directed and starred in the Off-Broadway - one-act play, "Riff Raff"|
|Executive produced (also starred) the acclaimed HBO movie "Miss Evers' Boys"; received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries|
|Reteamed with Bill Duke as star of "Hoodlum" playing Ellsworth 'Bumpy' Johnson, a 1930s Harlem racketeer who locked horns with Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth) and Lucky Luciano (Andy Garcia); also executive produced|
|Executive produced and starred as Socrates Fortlow in HBO's "Always Outnumbered"|
|Portrayed the mysterious Morpheus in the blockbusting "The Matrix"|
|Starred as Henry II in a Broadway revival of James Goldman's "The Lion in Winter" at NYC's Roundabout Theatre|
|Made his feature directorial debut with "Once in the Life" the film version of his play "Riff Raff"|
|Again portrayed Morpheus in "The Matrix: Revolutions"|
|Played a cop opposite Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn in "Mystic River"; directed by Clint Eastwood|
|Reprised Morpheus in "The Matrix: Reloaded"|
|Starred with Ethan Hawke and Maria Bello in "Assault on Precinct 13"|
|Cast in Emilio Estevez's directorial debut, "Bobby"|
|Played Cruise's mentor in "Mission: Impossible III" directed by J.J. Abrams|
|Cast as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in the Broadway production of "Thurgood" at the Booth Theatre; earned a Tony award nomination for Best Actor in a Play|
|Played a casino security agent in "21" a film based on a group of MIT card counters|
|Replaced departing series star William Petersen on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS) as a college lecturer and former pathologist|
|Appeared in "Predators," a sequel to cult favorites "Predator" (1987) and "Predator 2" (1990) about an elite group of warriors hunted by a merciless alien race|
|Joined an ensemble cast for Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion"|
|Nominated for the 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie|
|Reprised role of Thurgood Marshall in the HBO adaptation of "Thurgood"|