|Born||in Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA|
|Birth Name||Jesse Lamont Watkins|
|Height||6' 1" (1.85 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 (1996). 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 <email@example.com>
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
Watkins, Jesse Reed