Ving Rhames Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (20)  | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (3)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameIrving Rameses Rhames
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Strikingly featured and muscular American actor Ving Rhames 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, and began his career in New York theater and in Shakespeare in the Park productions. He first appeared on Broadway in the play "The Winter Boys", in 1984. Also that year, he appeared in front of the cameras for the first time in the TV movie American Playhouse: Go Tell It on the Mountain (1985), and was then quickly cast in minor roles in several popular TV shows, including Miami Vice (1984), Tour of Duty (1987) and Crime Story (1986). Ving continued his rise to fame through his work in soap operas.

His big break came in 1994 when Quentin Tarantino cast him as the merciless drug dealer Marsellus Wallace in the mega hit Pulp Fiction (1994). Not long after, director Brian De Palma cast Rhames alongside Tom Cruise as the ace computer hacker Luther Stickell in Mission: Impossible (1996). With solid performances in both these highly popular productions, his face was now well known to moviegoers and the work offers began rolling in more frequently. His next career highlight was playing the lead role in the HBO production of Don King: Only in America (1997). Rhames' performance as the world's most infamous boxing promoter was nothing short of brilliant, and at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards he picked up the award for Best Actor in a Miniseries. However, in an incredible display of compassion, he handed over the award to fellow nominee Jack Lemmon, as he felt Lemmon was a more deserving winner. Rhames then made an attention-grabbing performance in Bringing Out the Dead (1999), reprised his role as Luther Stickell in Mission: Impossible II (2000), contributed his deep bass voice for the character of Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch (2002), and played a burly cop fighting cannibal zombie hordes in Dawn of the Dead (2004). A keen fitness and weightlifting enthusiast, Rhames is also well known for his strong spiritual beliefs and benevolent attitude towards other people.

In a remarkable turn of events whilst filming The Saint of Fort Washington (1993) in New York, he was introduced to a homeless man who turned out to be his long-lost older brother, Junior, who had lost contact with the family after serving in Vietnam. The thrilled Rhames immediately assisted his disheveled brother in getting proper food and clothing and moved him into his own apartment.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous and firehouse44

Family (4)

Spouse Deborah Reed (25 December 2000 - present)  (3 children)
Valerie Scott (4 July 1994 - 9 February 1999)  (divorced)
Children Reign Beau Rhames
Freedom Rhames
Tiffany (stepchild)
Parents Reather Rhames
Ernest Rhames
Relatives Junior Rhames (sibling)

Trade Mark (4)

A deep, booming voice
His characters often use metaphors to explain their opinions or feelings (such as: "a wave is crashing over me" from I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007) or "You are adrift in the sea of my patience" from Lilo & Stitch (2002)).
His fully shaved head.
Colorful, often oversized, and sometimes unusual hats of many styles and types.

Trivia (20)

Spent two years as part of the acting class of 1982 at the State University of New York at Purchase (SUNY Purchase) before returning to Julliard.
Education: Juilliard, NY (Drama)
Was given the nickname he goes by, "Ving," by his one-time roommate Stanley Tucci, when together for a time at SUNY Purchase.
Engaged to Deborah Reed (2000).
Won a Golden Globe in 1998 for best actor in a TV miniseries for his performance in HBO's Don King: Only in America (1997). At the ceremony Rhames gave his award to Jack Lemmon, saying "I feel that being an artist is about giving, and I'd like to give this to you." Lemmon was clearly touched by the gesture, as was the celebrity audience, who gave Lemmon a standing ovation. Lemmon, who tried unsuccessfully to give the award back to Rhames, said it was "one of the sweetest moments I've ever known in my life." The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced later that they would have a duplicate award prepared for Rhames.
Step-daughter, Tiffany 15 years old. Daughter, Reignbeau, born 2000. Son, Freedom, born February 2002.
He says people are often surprised that he isn't bigger in person, as he stands a little bit less than 6 feet tall and weighs a little over 200 pounds. He is, however, quite strong for his size, being able to bench press over 300 pounds.
Was considered for the role of Ben in Night of the Living Dead (1990). He later starred in Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Day of the Dead (2008).
Invited to join AMPAS in 2006.
Was named after retired NBC journalist Irving R. Levine.
He credits his strong religious faith as a key to his success.
In 1993, during the filming of The Saint of Fort Washington in New York City, Rhames was unexpectedly reunited with his brother, Junior, a troubled, homeless Vietnam veteran who'd been estranged from the Rhames family for years.
Raised on 126th Street in the Harlem area of New York City.
Is a huge fan of boxing and often goes to live major events.
Put on 30 pounds to look more imposing for his role in Striptease.
The son of a mechanic and a homemaker, and the younger of two boys.
Was considered for the role of John Coffey in The Green Mile (1999).
Lives in Los Angeles, California.
Is the only actor besides Tom Cruise to be in all the Mission Impossible movies (1996-2018).
Has been the voice in Arby's "We have the meats!" promotional campaign since 2015, and not, as often incorrectly thought, James Earl Jones.

Personal Quotes (14)

I bought a new house ... It's just a little, you know, I hate to say it, but even looking at the sort of money that they spend on films now, and looking at the problems that we have in the world, it's a little ridiculous ... I just think that the industry is out of hand and something's gonna give eventually.
"I wouldn't say I'm a fan of it, because quite honestly, I'm more interested in films that deal with the human condition. Mission:Impossible is basically entertainment, and for what it is, it's fine. I don't think most actors become actors to do that type of film."
  • On his role in the Mission: Impossible Franchise.

"I'm not gay. I'm not homophobic. And I've never been raped. So it was acting. I look at it as the most powerful man in the movie being in one of the most vulnerable positions. And what that did was cause the audience to feel for him. It shows that no matter how hard-core you think you are, this could happen to you." - On his role as Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction.
I must say that some things some men are born to do. I think I was born to kick ass.
My approach to the work is the same, whether I had the lead or a supporting role. I consider myself a character actor in the true sense of the word. Unless I'm doing my autobiography, I'm playing a character.
Oftentimes they are. But I can't live my life trying to change me to appease someone else. If someone's intimidated by me, that's something they have to deal with. When I walk down the streets of New York and an old woman grabs her purse when I pass by, I'm not going to give it a whole lot of energy because I'm not in the wrong, I'm a millionaire and I'm not thinking about grabbing an old woman's purse. Also, there's a difference between presence and physical size. I think I've been blessed with screen presence, but if you look at me next to John Travolta, for example, John's bigger than I am. I do work out and I am muscular, but I am not that big a man. (On if people are intimidated by his size)
Quite honestly I never had a desire to be an actor. I tell people, I did not choose acting; acting chose me. I never grew up wanting to be an actor. I wanted to play football. In about 9th grade an English teacher told me I had a talent to act. He said I should audition for a performing arts high school so I did on a whim. I got accepted. Then I got accepted at the Julliard School and by then I was serious about it. I think God has blessed each of us with at least one gift. So I think it's a matter of do we find it within our lifetime. I think that's what God blessed me with. I think I am doing what God put me on this planet to do.
I graduated on a Friday and started working on Monday, doing Shakespeare in the Park with Kevin Kline in Richard III. (On Julliard)
Since God is the foundation of my life, anything that streams from that can only be positive.
I was never a struggling actor, for which I feel very blessed.
The only difference between working on a huge-budget film and a lesser-budget film, is the quality of lunch and dinner.
I grew up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood, but I didn't really know I was a deprived, poverty-stricken child until the media made me aware of it.
I don't believe in breakthroughs. Pulp Fiction was just part of the process to get me to where I am now. I would say Rosewood is much more important to me than Pulp Fiction, because it's historical.
I don't give Hollywood the power to limit me. Only God can limit me.

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