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Jesse L. Martin Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Trivia (18) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 18 January 1969Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA
Birth NameJesse Lamont Watkins
Height 6' 2¾" (1.9 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Jesse Martin was born Jesse Lamont Watkins in Virginia's Blue Ridge mountain range. His mother, Virginia Price, was a college career counselor. His father, Jesse Reed Watkins, was a truck driver. His parents divorced when he was very young. His mother then moved his family to Buffalo, New York. He and his four brothers took the surname of his mother's second husband. His family calls him by his middle name, Lamont. As a fourth-grader, a teacher cast him in a play and he found his passion. After graduating from high school, he worked in restaurants to afford the tuition at New York University. He then got work on soaps and did commercials. His breakthrough came in a role in Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical Rent (2005). That was followed up with TV exposure in his first starring role in the series 413 Hope St. (1997), which aired on Fox.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: John Sacksteder <jsack@ka.net>

Jesse L. Martin (born Jesse Lamont Watkins; January 18, 1969) is an American actor and singer. He is best known for originating the role of Tom Collins on Broadway in the musical Rent and his role as NYPD Detective Ed Green on Law & Order and Detective Joe West on The Flash.

Martin, the third of five sons, was born in Rocky Mount, Virginia. His father, Jesse Reed Watkins (1943-2003), was a truck driver, and his mother, Virginia Price, a college counselor; the two divorced when he was a child. His mother eventually remarried and Martin adopted his stepfather's surname.

When Martin was in grade school, the family relocated to Buffalo, New York but Martin began to hate speaking because of his Southern accent and was often overcome with shyness. A concerned teacher influenced him to join an after-school drama program and cast him as the pastor in The Golden Goose. Being from Virginia, the young Martin played the character the only way he knew how: as an inspired Southern Baptist preacher. The act was a hit, and Martin emerged from his shell. Martin attended high school at The Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, where he was voted "Most Talented" in his senior class. He later enrolled in New York University's Tisch School of the Arts' Theatre Program and while at NYU he was also the popular President of Rubin Dorm, the former home of Mark Twain.

After graduation, Martin toured the states with John Houseman's The Acting Company. He appeared in Shakespeare's Rock-in-Roles at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and The Butcher's Daughter at The Cleveland Play House, and returned to Manhattan to perform in local theatre, soap operas, and commercials. Finding that auditions, regional theater, and bit parts were no way to support himself, Martin waited tables at several restaurants around the city. He was literally serving a pizza when his appearance on CBS's Guiding Light aired in the same eatery. While the show aired, the whole waitstaff gathered around the bar television to cheer his performance. Often, during the dinner rush, he broke out in song. When he gave his customers their dinner checks, he told them to "keep it, because someday I'll be famous!"

Martin made his Broadway debut in Timon of Athens, and then performed in The Government Inspector with Lainie Kazan. While employed at the Moondance Diner, he met the playwright Jonathan Larson, who also worked on the restaurant's staff. In 1996, Larson's musical Rent took the theatre world by storm, with Martin in the role of gay computer geek/philosophy professor Tom Collins. The 1990s update of Puccini's La Bohème earned six Drama Desk Awards, five Obie Awards, four Tony Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1998, the West End production of Rent opened with four of the original cast members, including Martin. He played Tad in the concept album of Bright Lights, Big City.

In 2010, Martin returned to the stage for one of his biggest theater commitments since Law & Order performing in the productions of The Merchant of Venice and The Winter's Tale as a part of The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. He played the roles of Gratiano and King Polixenes, respectively. The two shows were performed in repertory, beginning with previews on June 9, 2010 through to the final performance on August 1, 2010.

The Merchant of Venice later transferred to Broadway to the Broadhurst Theater for a limited engagement, during which time Martin reprized his role as Gratiano. The show began previews on October 19, 2010, and officially opened on November 7. The show began a hiatus on January 9 to accommodate Al Pacino's pre-existing obligations, and resumed from February 1, 2011 to February 20, 2011; Martin did not reprise his role after the hiatus due to other work commitments. He took part in a one-night-only reading benefit of Romeo and Juliet to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Raúl Esparza and others on June 18, 2012.

In October 2006, Martin returned to Buffalo, New York to work on an independent film (Buffalo Bushido). While he was eating at a restaurant, his luggage was stolen from an SUV; his belongings were never returned.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Akram Braham

Trivia (18)

He is a graduate of one of the United States' most famous academic art schools, the Buffalo Academy For Visual and Preforming Arts for grades 5-12
Is on the Board of Trustees for the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation
Along with Jerry Orbach, Fred Dalton Thompson, Carolyn McCormick and Leslie Hendrix, he is one of only five actors to play the same character (Detective Ed Green) on all four New York City-based "Law & Order" series: Law & Order (1990), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001), and Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005).
Has appeared in episodes of three different television series with Sam Waterston: Law & Order (1990), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) and Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005).
Performed the song "Razzle Dazzle" from the musical "Chicago" at the 2005 Tony Awards just as the "In Memoriam" section of the show was finishing. The last photo shown during the memorial was that of Jerry Orbach, who was both Martin's costar on Law & Order (1990) and the first person to perform "Razzle Dazzle" in the original Broadway production of "Chicago".
Appeared in episodes of three different series with Jerry Orbach: Law & Order (1990), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) and Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001).
Accompanied Jerry Orbach's widow Elaine to the 2005 Tony Awards.
Worked at the Moondance Diner in New York City with Jonathan Larson.
Almost Graduated from NYU
Currently preparing two one-man shows: "Fiend" and an untitled piece based on the life of Marvin Gaye.
In Law & Order (1990), he works with Jerry Orbach, who played "Billy Flynn" in the original cast of "Chicago". In "Rent", (play and film) he works with Taye Diggs, who played the band leader in the 2002 film, and briefly played "Flynn" himself in late 2002 during the Broadway revival.
Tom Collins and Angel Dumott Schunard, his character and character's boyfriend in Rent, take their last names from their characters counterparts in La Boheme. Tom Collins (known simply as Collins) is based on Colline, and Angel is based on Schaunard.
On April 2, 2006, Martin was a featured guest at the awards ceremony of the SunDeis Film Festival at Brandeis University. Martin, introduced to a standing ovation, presented his Law & Order (1990) co-star S. Epatha Merkerson with the first-ever SunDeis Entertainer of the Year Award, the highlight of the festival weekend.
The storyline of "Detective Ed Green" being shot in the line of duty was written into the Law & Order (1990) script so that during his "recovery", Jesse could be in San Fransisco to film Rent (2005).
Returning back to Buffalo, N.Y., to work on an independent film, in October of 2006, his luggage was stolen from an SUV as he signed autographs in a restaurant. Martin's belongings have not been returned.
Attended the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute.
He and Ani Difranco graduated from high school, together.
He has played the same character (Detective Ed Green) in five different television series: Law & Order (1990), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001), Law & Order: Trial by Jury (2005) and Andy Barker, P.I. (2007).

Personal Quotes (5)

From people magazine 2000: "Real men know how to listen, and real men know how to be honest."
I honestly believe there are good things happening in this world, and I'll spend most of my time trying to find them and bring them to light.
I want to be remembered as a great actor - and a shining example of humanity.
From Men's Health: Go back to what's good, what's certain, what's always there. You woke up today. Just start walking. Whatever it is, it'll pass. Time doesn't go backward. That's the one real blessing. It happened; it does you no good to worry. Keep it movin'.
From Men's Health: Trusting my own instincts has led me to great places. When I was younger, someone telling me I couldn't do something was like saying, 'Try.' You get mad at them and yourself, because they make you think, I don't know if I really can do it. Maybe they're right. Then the anger feeds you, and next thing you know, you've done exactly what they said you wouldn't do, and a little more.

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