Male Actors: Black

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1.
Wesley Snipes
Actor, Blade
Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Maryann (Long), a teacher's assistant, and Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City, where he very early decided that the theater was to be his career. He attended the High School for the Performing Arts (popularized in Fame)...
 
2.
Morgan Freeman
With an authoritative voice and calm demeanor, this ever popular American actor has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern US cinema. Morgan was born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Mayme Edna (Revere), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber. The young Freeman...
 
3.
Sidney Poitier
A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (though born in Miami during a mainland visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to Miami to live with his brother...
 
4.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson is an American actor and film producer. He achieved prominence and critical acclaim in the early 1990s with films such as Jungle Fever (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Amos & Andrew (1993), True Romance (1993), Jurassic Park (1993) and his collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino including Pulp Fiction (1994)...
 
5.
Laurence Fishburne
Actor, The Matrix
One of Hollywood's most talented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961, to Hattie Bell (Crawford), a teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer. His mother transplanted her family to Brooklyn after his parents divorced...
 
6.
James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi, USA. At an early age, he started to take dramatic lessons to calm himself down. It appeared to work as he has since starred in many films over a 40-year period, beginning with the Stanley Kubrick classic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. He is...
 
8.
Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington is an American actor and filmmaker. He has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory (1989) and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day (2001). Washington has received much critical acclaim for his film work since the 1990s...
 
9.
Harry Belafonte
Harold George Belafonte was born in New York City. He attended George Washington High School, where he was on the track team. In 1944 he left high school and joined the Navy. His wife, Julie Robinson, was a featured dancer in Katherine Dunham's dance troupe. Both Harry and Julie were, and still are, extremely active in the civil rights struggle.
 
10.
Danny Glover
Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years. Glover was born in San Francisco, California, to Carrie (Hunley) and James Glover, postal workers who were also active in civil rights. Glover trained at the Black Actors' Workshop of the American Conservatory Theater...
 
12.
Carl Weathers
Actor, Predator
Carl Weathers was born on January 14, 1948, in New Orleans, Louisiana. A famous and successful football star at San Diego State, he played with the Oakland Raiders and retired from the sport in 1974, in order to give full attention to his goal: to be a real actor. Weathers first played small parts in two blaxploitation flicks...
 
13.
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Cuba Gooding Jr. was born on January 2, 1968, in The Bronx, New York. His mother, Shirley (Sullivan), was a backup singer for The Sweethearts. His father, Cuba Gooding, was the lead vocalist for the R&B group The Main Ingredient, which had a hit with the song "Everybody Plays The Fool". His paternal grandfather was from Barbados...
 
15.
Mario Van Peebles
Actor, Ali
Mario Van Peebles is a highly regarded director, actor, producer and writer. His directorial skills can be seen in the retelling of the epic mini-series "Roots" starring Forest Whitaker and Matthew Good. Van Pebbles has directed award-winning shows such as the recent hit "Empire" and "The Last Ship,"...
 
16.
Will Smith
Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He has enjoyed success in television, film, and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards...
 
17.
Omar Epps
Actor, House M.D.
Omar Epps is an American actor, starring on the ABC drama Resurrection. Epps was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised by his mother, Bonnie Maria Epps, an elementary school principal. No stranger to the big screen, Epps has appeared in lead roles in feature films, including Paramount's Against the Ropes...
 
18.
Ving Rhames
Strikingly featured and muscular American actor Ving Rames was born Irving Rameses Rhames in Harlem, New York, to Reather, a homemaker, and Ernest Rhames, an auto mechanic. A good student, Ving entered the New York High School of Performing Arts, where he discovered his love of acting. He studied at the Juilliard School of Drama...
 
19.
Chris Rock
Christopher Julius Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of Rosalie (Tingman), a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped, and Julius Rock, a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman, whose own father was a preacher. Rock has been in stand-up comedy for several decades...
 
23.
Djimon Hounsou
Actor, Gladiator
Djimon Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He moved to Lyon, France, when he was 13. Hounsou has graced the catwalks of Paris and London as a popular male model. He has since left his modeling career and has worked on Gladiator by Ridley Scott and Amistad by Steven Spielberg.
 
24.
Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White is an American actor and martial artist who has appeared in numerous films and television series. He is the first African American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture, having starred as Al Simmons, the protagonist in the 1997 film Spawn. White portrayed Jax Briggs in Mortal Kombat: Legacy...
 
25.
Larenz Tate
Larenz Tate was born on the west side of Chicago to Larry and Peggy Tate, the youngest of three brothers. His brothers are actors Larron Tate and Lahmard J. Tate. In 1984, Larenz and his family moved to California. It was while living in California that Larenz's parents got him and his brothers involved in a drama program at the Inner City Cultural Center...
 
27.
Mekhi Phifer
Actor, ER
Mekhi Phifer was born in Harlem, Manhattan, and was raised by his mother, Rhoda, a high school teacher. Phifer's acting career began when he auditioned at an open casting call for director Spike Lee's Clockers and was selected for the leading role. Working alongside Harvey Keitel and Delroy Lindo...
 
28.
Michael Beach
Born and raised in the rough inner city Roxbury area of Boston, Beach was an athlete who never expected to be an actor. After performing in a few high school plays, he auditioned for, got accepted to and later graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School Of Drama in NYC. For the past thirty years...
 
30.
Louis Gossett Jr.
Actor, Enemy Mine
Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. was born on May 27, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York City. He made his professional acting debut at age 17, winning the Donaldson Award as best newcomer to theatre. He went to New York University on a basketball scholarship and was invited to try out for the New York Knicks, yet...
 
31.
Taye Diggs
Actor, Chicago
Taye Diggs was born in Newark, New Jersey, and was raised in Rochester, New York. He is the son of Marcia (Berry), a teacher and actress, and Andre Young, a visual artist. When he was a child, his mother married Jeffries Diggs, whose surname Taye took. He received a BFA degree in musical theater from Syracuse University...
 
33.
Keenen Ivory Wayans
Writer, White Chicks
Keenan attended college at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama but dropped out his senior year to persue comedy full time. His comic influence is Richard Pryor.
 
34.
Eddie Murphy
Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian, a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyer's Ice Cream plant. His siblings are Charlie Murphy and Vernon Lynch...
 
35.
Billy Dee Williams
Billy Dee Williams was born William December Williams on April 6, 1937 in New York City. Billy Dee has notched up an impressive array of film and television appearances over the past 50+ years. He is easily best known to international film audiences as the roguish Lando Calrissian in the last two episodes of the original Star Wars-trilogy: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi...
 
36.
David Alan Grier
David Alan Grier was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Aretas Ruth (Dudley), a schoolteacher, and William Henry Grier, a psychiatrist and writer. He trained in Shakespeare at Yale University, where he received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Grier began his professional career on Broadway as Jackie Robinson in "The First"...
 
37.
Robert Townsend
Robert Townsend transcends any medium he touches whether he's performing stand up, acting, writing, directing, producing, or running a television network. A Chicago native, Townsend is often referred to as one of the "Godfathers" of the Independent Film World." With over 30 years in the business, he has made an indelible mark in Hollywood with an extensive list of credits...
 
38.
Blair Underwood
Actor, Gattaca
Smart, confident, eloquent, exceptionally handsome African-American actor Blair Underwood was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1964, the son of Marilyn Ann, an interior decorator, and Frank Eugene Underwood, Sr., an army colonel. With his family, he lived all over the world. Trained in musical theater at Carnegie-Mellon...
 
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41.
Ernie Hudson
As a child growing up in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Ernie Hudson wrote short stories, poems and songs, always thinking that his words might one day come to life on stage. After a short stint in the Marine Corps, he moved to Detroit where he became the resident playwright at Concept East, the oldest black theatre in the country...
 
43.
Bokeem Woodbine
Actor, Ray
Bokeem Woodbine grew up in Harlem New York. At the age of 19, he secured the lead role in the HBO production of Forest Whitaker's directorial debut Strapped. Bokeem moved to Los Angeles shortly after completing the film Jason's Lyric, and has pursued his dream of becoming a noteworthy film actor while balancing a passion for musical expression...
 
44.
Tommy 'Tiny' Lister
Hardly diminutive, 6' 5" Tommy "Tiny" Lister is not just a highly recognizable figure on screen, but also a highly accomplished actor. Originally a professional wrestler known by the names "Zeus" and "ZGangsta" for the WWE (Formerly WWF), Tiny left the world of wrestling in the mid 1980s to pursue an acting career and he has not stopped since...
 
45.
Chris Tucker
At one point in time, Chris Tucker was the highest paid actor in Hollywood. Tucker was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Mary Louise (Bryant) and Norris Tucker, who owned a janitorial service. After graduating from high school, Tucker made a change to move to Hollywood from Georgia to pursue a career in show business...
 
47.
Sean Combs
Soundtrack, Training Day
 
48.
Dave Chappelle
Dave Chappelle's career started while he was in high school at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC where he studied theatre arts. At the age of 14, he began performing stand-up comedy in nightclubs. Shortly after graduation, he moved to New York City where he quickly established himself as a major young talent...
 
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50.
Ice Cube
Producer, Friday
Ice Cube was born in South Central Los Angeles, to Doris (Benjamin), a custodian and hospital clerk, and Hosea Jackson, a UCLA groundskeeper. He first came to public notice as a singer and songwriter with the controversial and influential band N.W.A. His compositions with that group included many of the classic cuts from their debut LP "Straight Outta Compton" (Ruthless/Priority...
 
52.
DMX
Soundtrack, Deadpool
 
53.
Busta Rhymes
Soundtrack, Mean Girls
 
54.
Nas
Soundtrack, The Departed
Nas, born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones on September 14, 1973, is the son of Olu Dara, an unconventional jazz musician. At age nine he was a member of the Devastatin' Seven in the mid-1980s, the fruits of which can be heard on his 1994 debut, "Illmatic," which was released on Columbia/SME later that year...
 
55.
Sherman Hemsley
Sherman Hemsley played characters known to be wise-cracking, "Weezy" loving, boisterous fools which America and the entire world laughed with kindheartedly. Sherman Alexander Hemsley, Air Force veteran and actor, was born on Feb. 1, 1938 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, William Hemsley, worked at a printing press while his mother worked at various factories during the war...
 
56.
Master P
Percy Miller also known as "Master P" was born on April 29, 1967 in New Orleans, LA. Although he was raised in the poverty of Calliope Housing Projects, he was motivated and determined to reach his goals and dreams, which led him to become a successful entrepreneur. As a student-athlete at the University of Houston...
 
57.
Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal is regarded as one of the most dominant athletes and arguably the most gregarious personality in sports history. He wrote an autobiography (Shaq Talks Back), preserves an online presence for his fan base and produced a number of albums (Biological Didn't Bother, Shaq-Fu: Da Return, etc.)...
 
60.
Chris Williams
An extremely versatile performer in film, television and on stage, Chris is no stranger to the entertainment arena both on and off camera in both comedy and drama. Film credits include the "The World's Fastest Indian" playing Tina, a transvestite opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins "The Joneses" opposite Demi Moore as well as a lead in the classic comedy "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story"...
 
61.
LL Cool J
L.L. Cool J was born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968, in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, the son of Ondrea Griffith and James Louis Smith, Jr. Todd, as he was called, did not have a very happy childhood. At the age of four, he saw his mother and grandfather shot by his own father. After they recovered from their injuries...
 
62.
Bernie Mac
Bernard Jeffrey McCollough was born in Chicago in 1957. He grew up in Chicago, in a rougher neighborhood than most others, with a large family living under one roof. This situation provided him with a great insight into his comedy, as his family, and the situations surrounding them would be what dominated his comedy...
 
63.
Kel Mitchell
Acting Career - Hailing from the Windy City, Kel Mitchell began his acting career at the young age of 12 with the ETA Creative Arts Foundation. Young Kel wowed audiences with his on-stage performances in Chicago theatrical productions such as "Kasimu & the Coconut Palm" and "Dirt." But it was his outstanding performance in "Eden" at the historic Victory Gardens Theater...
 
67.
Ray Allen
Ray Allen was born at Castle Air Force Base, near Merced, California, to Flora (Day) and Walter Allen, Sr. He graduated from Hillcrest High school in Dalzell, South Carolina in 1993 after taking the varsity basketball team (the Wildcats) to the State Championships. He was the 1996 Big East Player of the Year...
 
68.
Ice-T
The legendary gangsta hip-hop emcee Ice-T was born Tracy Marrow on February 16, 1958, in Newark, New Jersey. He moved to Los Angeles, California, to live with his paternal aunt after the death of his father while he was in the sixth grade; his mother had died earlier when he was in the third grade. His aunt lived in the South Los Angeles district of Crenshaw...
 
69.
Snoop Dogg
Actor, Turbo
Snoop Dogg was born in Long Beach, California, to Beverly (Tate) and Vernell Varnado, who was a mail carrier and singer. His parents were both originally from Mississippi. He got his name from his mother, who jokingly remarked that he looked like the Peanuts character Snoopy. Snoop is known primarily for his achievements in the music industry...
 
70.
Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx is an American actor, singer, and comedian. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, for his work in the 2004 biographical film Ray. The same year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the action film Collateral...
 
71.
Tupac Shakur
Soundtrack, Django Unchained
Born in New York City, Tupac grew up primarily in Harlem. In 1984, his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland where he became good friends with Jada Pinkett Smith. His family moved again in 1988 to Oakland, California. His first breakthrough in music came in 1991 as a member of the group Digital Underground...
 
72.
Michael B. Jordan
Actor, Creed
Michael B. Jordan, middle of three children, was born in Santa Ana, California and raised in Newark, New Jersey by Donna (Davis), and Michael A. Jordan. His middle name Bakari means "noble promise" in Swahili. Jordan has starred in three of the most critically acclaimed television dramas of the past decade...
 
73.
Michael Jordan
Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born in Brookyln, New York on February 17, 1963. He was the fourth of five children born to James and Deloris. James Jordan was a mechanic and Deloris Jordan was a bank teller. Soon after Michael's birth, James and Deloris felt that the streets of Brooklyn were unsafe to raise a family, so they moved the family to Wilmington, North Carolina...
 
74.
Bill Cosby
Music Department, Bill Cosby: Himself
Bill Cosby is one of the world's most well-known entertainers and comedians. William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Anna Pearl (Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a U.S. Navy sailor. After tenth grade, Cosby joined the Navy and completed high school through a correspondence course...
 
75.
Jim Brown
Often mentioned as the greatest player in NFL history, this ruggedly handsome African American fullback for the Cleveland Browns first appeared on movie screens in the western Rio Conchos, followed by a strong supporting role as convict commando "Jefferson" in the terrific WW2 action film The Dirty Dozen...
 
77.
Damon Wayans
An outrageous cueball-domed comedian of film and TV satire, fortified by a dazzling, sly smile, New York-born Damon Wayans is the third of ten children of Elvira Alethia (Green), a social worker and singer, and Howell Wayans, a supermarket manager. He grew up humbly in the Fulton Housing Projects. He began zeroing in on his comedic skills while still a child...
 
78.
Coolio
Soundtrack, Pain & Gain
With over 17 million records sold worldwide, Grammy award-winning and multi-platinum recording artist Coolio is an artist known around the world as a musical and cooking master of extraordinary reinvention. Growing up during the time of tremendous change in Compton, Calif., Coolio fed on struggle and...
 
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81.
Isaac Hayes
Soundtrack, Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Isaac Hayes was the second-born child of Isaac Sr. and Eula Hayes, but was raised by his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Willie Wade Sr. The child of a poor family, he grew up picking cotton in Covington, Tennessee. He dropped out of high school, only to be encouraged later by his former high school teachers to get his diploma...
 
82.
Richard Pryor
Highly influential, and always controversial, African-American actor/comedian who was equally well known for his colorful language during his live comedy shows, as for his fast paced life, multiple marriages and battles with drug addiction. He has been acknowledged by many modern comic artist's as a key influence on their careers...
 
83.
Usher Raymond
Usher Raymond IV was born in Dallas, Texas, to Jonetta Patton (née O'Neal) and Usher Raymond III. He began singing when he was six years old, joining the local church choir at the behest of his mother who acted as choir director. Jonetta, a single mom, raised Usher and his younger brother, James, in Chattanooga...
 
84.
Little Richard
Soundtrack, Casino
Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as Little Richard, the self-proclaimed "Architect of Rock 'n' Roll", traveled in his early days with the legendary vaudeville star Spencer "Snake" Anthony. One of Richard's early bands had the young, then unknown singer James Brown (the Godfather of Soul), a fourteen-year-old keyboardist named Billy Preston...
 
85.
Tommy Davidson
Davidson started his career as a stand-up comedian in Washington DC, earning an ardent following with sheer hard work in various comedy clubs. As one of the cutting-edge, young stand-ups, he was spotted by major concert promoters, who booked him as the opening act for A-list touring acts, including Patti LaBelle...
 
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89.
Dr. Dre
Considered by many to be hip-hop's greatest producer, Dr. Dre (b. André Young, February 18, 1965) pioneered gangsta hip-hop and his own variation of the sound, dubbed G-Funk. His very early albums were violent but cautionary tales of the criminal mind, but Dre's records with NWA celebrated the hedonistic...
 
90.
Mark Curry
A class clown since his earliest years, Mark quickly learned that a wild sense of humor could take him places. While working at a drugstore after quitting college he honed and polished a comedy act that he regularly practiced on customers. It was these customers, as well as his family and friends, who finally encouraged Mark to try his stand-up routine at area comedy clubs...
 
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Keith David
Actor, Platoon
Keith David was born Keith David Williams in New York City's Harlem district, and was raised in East Elmhurst, in the Queens section of the city. He is the son of Dolores (Dickenson), a New York Telephone manager, and Lester Williams, a payroll operations director. As a child, he realized he wanted...
 
100.
Yasiin Bey
Regarded as one of hip-hop's most introspective and insightful artists, Mos Def has shaped a career that transcends music genres and artistic medium. Taking a cue from the Afrocentric stylings of the Native Tongues crew, which included De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and Andres Titus...