Top 10 sexiest 40+ Afro-American men
The hottest male celebs over 40 - part 1
Hollywood and media loves to place emphasis on what’s young when it comes to celebrity and status; however, they say 40 is the new 30. And as in Hollywood the phrase Forty and Fabulous is hotter than ever, it inspired me to make this hub. You’ll be surprised how all of these very hot men make being in your 40s look amazing ! And eh... don't forget to vote the poll if you think I've made a mistake. For new suggestions, you can always leave a comment !
1. Shemar Moore
Born on April 20, 1970 in Oakland, California to Sherrod Moore and Marilyn Moore; his unique features came from a combination of Irish, French, Canadian, African and American roots. As a child, Moore lived in The Netherlands with his mother until he was 10 years old. Hhis first language was Dutch, he didn’t learn English until he was five or six years old. His mother, who had a degree in mathematics, worked as a teacher in Bahrain and Denmark for several years. Soon after moving to Denmark his parents split up. When they returned to the US, they lived a short time in Boston before they moved to Chico, California, in the late 1970s, where his mother worked at a clinic, before later moving to Palo Alto, California.
He attended Gunn High School where he was active in many sports such as baseball, football and soccer. In 1988 he attended Santa Clara University on a partial athletic scholarship and majored in communications and minored in theater arts. When tendinitis in his landing knee affected his performance on the mound and the dreams of becoming a professional baseball player were shattered. So he turned his attention to his other dream - acting. Following graduation, the 6”1’ (1.85m) Shemar moved to New York where he worked as a model while looking for his big acting break.
He posed for ads in issues of Gentleman’s Quarterly (GQ), Mademoiselle, and fashion layouts for major department stores. He also appeared in commercials for Levi’s Jeans, MacDonald’s, Miller Beer, and Colter Clothes. It was his modeling work that caught the attention of top executives at The Young and Restless; he received the invitation to audition against 370 other actors for a role on the daytime TV series ‘The Young and the Restless’. Eventually he walked away with the coveted role of Malcolm Winters, for which he won a Supporting Actor Emmy and was nominated for three other nominations during the character's eight-year run. It was also for this role that Moore was awarded 5 NAACP Image Awards. He returned to "The Young and the Restless" in November of 2004 after originally planning to leave the show, but after a few months he dropped back to recurring status and left in September 2005.
Shemar won a Daytime Emmy in 2000 and received two Nominations in 1996 and 1997. He also won seven NAACP Image Awards for his performance as Malcolm Winters on the soap The Young and the Restless.
He currently portrays FBI Special Agent Derek Morgan on the CBS television show Criminal Minds.
- In a cause close to his heart, Shemar has given his time and celebrity to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. His mother, Marilyn Wilson-Moore, suffers from MS. For the past three years, he has participated in the Southern California Bike MS Ride, riding his bike 100 miles with a team of cast mates and crew from “Criminal Minds.” Shemar’s work on behalf of the MS Society had helped increase public awareness of the disease and to raise fund for research.
- Shemar's first name contains the first 3 letters of both his parent's first names; Sherrod-his dad and Marylin-his mom.
- Shemar was sentenced to 38 months probation and 80 hours of community service after pleading no contest for his June 1, 2007 speeding and driving under the influence charge.
2. Gary Dourdan
Gary was born December 11, 1966 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Gary Robert Durdin. He’s the second youngest of five children born to Sandy, a teacher and fashion designer, and Robert Durdin, an entrepreneur and agent for jazz musicians. At the age of 9, his 23-year old brother Darryl was murdered by being pushed off a balcony when he was in Haiti to investigate their French ancestors; the case is still unsolved.
The family moved to Willingboro, New Jersey when he was in his youth, where he ended up in a young gang, using and abusing alcohol and drugs. When he realized most of the people he knew had either died or ended up in jail, he moved to New York City where he worked as a doorman at a rehearsal studio and met some of Manhattan's promising young artists.
The 6'2" (1.89m) Gary got his first break when Debbie Allen saw him walking down a Paris street with his wife-to-be Roshumba Williams. (The two were married from 1992 to 1994.). She cast him as Shazza Zulu on A Different World (a spinoff of “The Cosby Show) in which he played the perennial college student with an affinity for jive talking young college women. He had a recurring role on the Showtime series Soul Food until he nabbed the part of Warrick Brown on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Also starred in the 1997 film Alien Resurrection as (Christie) alongside Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder and Ron Perlman.
Dourdan's most popular role began as a cast member of the original CSI series which aired on October 6, 2000. He played analyst Warrick Brown who, viewers find out, has a dark past checkered with gambling and addictions. By working in Las Vegas, the character is able to use his personal experiences with gambling to help him throughout his career. Ultimately, he ends up battling his demons throughout the show instead of overcoming them.
On April 29, 2008, he was arrested in Palm Springs, California for possession of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs. In exchange for a guilty plea, the heroin charge was dropped and Gary completed a court-ordered, 16-week drug education program.
In 2008, during negotiation with CBS, his "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" contract was not renewed. In the Season 8 finale, Dourdan's character was shot and left for dead at the episode's end. The Season 9 premiere had Dourdan's character dying in the arms of his colleague Grissom. Many have incorrectly assumed that his 2008 arrest caused CBS to drop him from the show, but his final scenes had been shot and his contract negotiations were concluded before his arrest.
- His remarkable eye color is inherited from his mother who is blond with clear eyes. His father is black. He has French, Irish, Scottish, African, Indian and Jewish blood in his veins. He modeled in the 1980s and 1990s for Boss Models in New York City.
- Received the NAACP's Image Award of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance of Warrick Brown in 2006. Has been nominated 4 years in a row and won twice.
- Is an accomplished musician. Plays the guitar, piano, bass, drum and sax (his uncle plays saxophone for Sister Sledge and gave Gary a saxophone when he was around 13)
- Played Janet Jackson's boyfriend in the video for her 1993 hit "Again".
- Gary has a hip-hop music group called Smoky Mirrors; he’s also a producer, songwriter and has his own production company, Temple of Thoughts. Releases music through his label ‘Dynamite Joints’.
- Using Kolade, his African name, Gary quietly released albums in 2003 and 2004. “Verses” and “6/17/04” are available on iTunes.
- He married model Roshumba Williams in 1992; the couple divorced two years later. He has two children: a son, Lyric (2002), and a daughter, Nyla (1998). Lyric's mother is Cynthia Hadden and Nyla's mother is Jennifer Sutton, whom Dourdan dated from 1995 to 2000.
3. Will Smith
Will is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) on September 25, 1968 as Willard Christopher Smith Jr, the second of four children of Caroline, a school board employee, and Air Force veteran Willard C. Smith, the owner of a refrigeration company.
His middle class upbringing saw him attend the strict—and Catholic—Overbrook High School, despite his family's observation of the Baptist faith. His West Philadelphia neighborhood was a melting pot of cultures where Orthodox Jews co-existed with a large Muslim population. Smith was a good student whose charming personality and quick tongue were renowned for getting him out of trouble, a trait for which he soon gained the nickname "Prince.''
At the age of 12, he began rapping emulating heroes like Grandmaster Flash but tingeing his rhymes with a comedic element that would later become his trademark. He met Jeff Townes when he was 16 at a party and they soon began performing together as DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Their debut album Rock the House hit the Billboard Top 200, and made him a millionaire before the age of 18. He spent a lot of money on a house, cars and jewelry; leading to his near bankruptcy in his early twenties.
Luckily, in 1989, he met Benny Medina, who had an idea for a sitcom. Will basically played himself; a street-smart West Philly kid shipped off to California to live with wealthy relatives in Bel-Air, California. The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air was a huge success and lasted 6 years; Will’s career was set.
His first steps into super-stardom came with his next film, Bad Boys (1995), followed by the huge blockbuster hit Independence Day (1996), Men In Black (1997), Enemy of the State (1998), Ali (2001), Men in Black 2 (2002), Bad Boys 2 (2003), I, Robot (2004), Hitch (2005) and I am legend (2007).
- The Smith family has homes in Florida, Sweden and Philadelphia.
- Like many in Hollywood, Smith is politically liberal and has made donations to the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama.
- He is a fan of chess and video games
- Is known to take his mother on vacation every year, usually to the Canyon Ranch spa in Tucson, Arizona.
- Will Smith has earned himself the nickname of "Mr. Fourth of July", due to the fact that his movies that open on the Fourth of July long weekend, have always ended up being number one at the box office, that same weekend.
- Was one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive, 2006. He is found in the 'Hooray for Gray!' section. Will was chosen as one of People Magazine's, Sexiest Man Alive for 2007.
- Has been at his adult height of 6' 2" (1.89m) since he was 13. However, he is now 60 pounds heavier than, when he first reached this height.
- He had his credit identity stolen, and $32,897.34 amassed before the thief was apprehended. Carlos Lomax opened 14 accounts under Will's birth name of Willard C. Smith. Once caught, he was sentenced to three years in Federal Prison.
- He incorporates the line "Aw, hell no!" into all his movies as a running catch phrase like Arnold Schwarzenegger's "I'll be back!".
- Will's brother Harry and sister Ellen are twins
- Before Brad Pitt got the part, Will was considered for 'Mr. Smith" in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
- Will is bilingual, he speaks fluent Spanish.
- He is of both African American and Native American heritage.
- December 2007 - According to Forbes, for each dollar he got paid, Smith's movies averaged $10 of gross income.
- Will was married to Sheree Zampino on May 9, 1992 and they divorced in 1995. They have a son named, Willard Smith III, nicknamed, "Trey", born in December 1992.The divorce led to a $900,000 lump sum divorce settlement for Zampino plus $24,000 per month in alimony and child support; this equals $288,000 a year.
- He met his wife Jada Pinkett when she tried out for the role of his girlfriend on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (1990). The role eventually went to Nia Long whileWill married Jada Pinkett on December 31, 1997. They have a son, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith born on July 8, 1998 and a daughter, Willow Camille Reign Smith, born on October 31, 2000.
- His son Jaden co-starred in the movie ‘The Pursuit Of Happyness’ (2006). Jaden got the lead role in the remake of The Karate Kid (2010) with his father being the producer.
4. Tyson Beckford
The 6'2" (1.89m) tall Tyson Craig Beckford is an American supermodel and actor, known worldwide for his muscular physique, facial structure and tattoos. Is reported to be one of the highest-paid and richest male supermodels in the world.
Born December 19, 1970 he grew up in Rochester, New York, he attended Pittsford Mendon High School in the affluent suburb of Pittsford as a participant in the Urban-Suburban Program, abusing program designed to give educational opportunities to urban youth in the city's surrounding suburban school districts. Tyson was a member of his high school football and track teams, and it has been reported that early in his life, Beckford was a gang member and was involved in the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics. In 1991, he was recruited to hip hop magazine "The Source" by a talent scout who had come across him by chance in a New York park. Within two years he had a starring role in Ralph Lauren's Polo Sport fragrance and sportswear campaign.
Beckford's fame continued to rise, and he was named "Man of the Year" in 1995 by VH1, as well as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by "People" magazine. Now works as a producer and actor.
His exotic looks can be attributed to the fact that his father Lloyd Beckford is half Jamaican and half Chinese and his mother Hillary Dixon Hall has Panamanian ancestry. His maternal grandmother was born in Ghana while his paternal grandmother is 100% Chinese. When he was still in school, his exotic eyes and high cheekbones drew ridicule from his schoolmates.
- After a romance with TV Stylist April Roomer, son Jordan was born in 1998. Stated more than once that most perfect moment of his life was when his son was born. Raises his son as a single parent.
- He appears in Notorious B.I.G.'s Video "One More Chance" and in Toni Braxton's Video "Un-break my Heart"
- Narrowly escaped death after his truck crashed and burst into flames on a New Jersey highway. He was able to pull himself out before it became fully engulfed in flames. The accident had a profound effect on his spirituality, which he later revealed on "The Oprah Winfrey Show
- Once turned down a spot on the Milan Fashion Week catwalk because he was the only black man invited to the event. "There are so many African-American and African men who are trying to get jobs, and they weren't giving the jobs to them," he said at the time. "I'm not the only brother out here trying to make it. So I didn't go."
5. Jamie Foxx
December 13, 1967 as Eric Marlon Bishop in Terrel TX, USA, as the son of Shaheed
Abdullah and Louise Annette Talley. They were very young when they had their
son and soon felt overwhelmed by the burden of parenthood. Jamie’s mother was
an adopted child and when the relationship with Jamie’s father ended, his
grandparents, Mark and Estelle Talley, stepped in and, at age 7 months, adopted
him too. He often credits her as being his inspiration.
"My grandmother was 60 years old when she adopted me. She ran a nursery
school and had a library in the house. She saw me reading early, saw I was
smart and believed I was born to achieve truly special things." She was a devoted Christian and did not allow
nonreligious music in her house so the rigid upbringing placed him in the Boy
Scouts and the church choir;
His piano lessons started at the age of three and the boy showed such talent that when he was thirteen years old he was making up to three hundred dollars a month playing piano at events around town. By fifteen, he was serving as musical director and choir leader at Terrell’s New Hope Baptist Church. Not only was he a gifted musician; during high school, he played quarterback for his high school team and was good enough that he got press in Dallas newspapers. But it was music that took the 5' 9" (1.75 m) young man to California when he received a classical piano scholarship to U.S. International University in San Diego.
However, in 1989, his life changed when a girl friend challenged him to get up onstage at the Comedy Club. In fact, he says he took his androgynous stage name because he learned that women got preference for mike time on open stage nights. He started out doing dead-on impersonations of some of his favorite comedians, such as Bill Cosby (1937–) and Richard Pryor (1940–), who he had watched on television while growing up. Soon Jamie became a regular on the comedy club open-mic circuit, and he dropped out of college to pursue a career full time. To make ends meet, he worked part-time as a janitor and as a shoe salesman at Thom McCann.
In 1991, along with hundreds of other hopefuls, Foxx auditioned for a new
TV series called In Living Color; he appeared
on the critically acclaimed show until 1994, when the series was cancelled. By
then, he was known for his impersonations and original characters like Ugly
‘In Living Color’ led to his appearance on the Fox sitcom Roc as well as various comedy specials and ultimately to his own WB network TV series ‘The Jamie Foxx Show’. His television exposure also led Jamie to roles on the big screen, playing in movies like Ali, Collatoral, Ray and Redemption, but music is still his passion.
- As a second grader, he was so talented in telling jokes that his teacher used him as a reward. If the class behaved, Foxx would tell them jokes.
- Is only the second male in history, after Al Pacino, and the first African-American to receive two acting Oscar nominations in the same year for two different movies.
- Is one of only five performers to have both a Billboard #1 single and an Oscar for acting. The others are Barbra Streisand, Cher, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.
- Has a daughter, Corrine, born in 1995, who lives with her mother.
6. Vin Diesel
Born July 18, 1967 as Mark Sinclair Vincent in New York City, USA, he was raised by his astrologer and psychologist mother Dolora, and stepfather Irving, an acting teacher and theater director, never knowing his biological father. His first break in acting happened by chance, when at the age of seven he and his friends broke into a theatre to vandalize it. A woman stopped them and offered them each a script and $20, on the condition that they would attend everyday after school. From there, Vin's fledgling career progressed from the New York repertory company run by his father, to the Off-Off-Broadway circuit. At 17 and already sporting a well-honed physique, he became a bouncer at some of New York's hippest clubs to earn himself some extra cash. It was at this time that he changed his name to Vin Diesel.
Following high school, the 6' (1.83 m) Vin enrolled as an English major at Hunter College but dropped out after three years to go to Hollywood to further his acting career. Being an experienced theatre actor did not make any impression in Hollywood and after a year of struggling to make his mark, he returned to New York.
His mother then gave him a book called "Feature Films at used Car Prices" by Rick Schmidt. The book showed him that he could take control of his career and make his own movies. He wrote a short film based on his own experiences as an actor, called Multi-Facial (1995), which was shot in less than three days at a cost of $3,000. Multi-Facial (1995) was eventually accepted for the 1995 Cannes Film Festival where it got a tumultuous reception. Afterwards, Vin returned to Los Angeles and raised almost $50,000 through telemarketing to fund the making of his first feature, Strays (1997). Six months after shooting, the film was accepted for the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, and although it received a good reception, it didn't sell as well as hoped. Yet again Vin returned disappointed to New York only to receive a dream phone call.
Multi-Facial impressed director Steven Spielberg and he cast him in Saving Private Ryan (1998). Vin's career was launched…
- Has a fraternal twin brother, Paul Vincent, who is a film editor.
- Has a younger sister, Samantha and a younger brother in addition to his fraternal twin, Paul.
- Is bi-racial with Italian and Afro-American ancestry
- During his teens, he performed breakdancing in an instructional video on the subject.
- Once worked as a telemarketer, selling light bulbs.
- He and his girlfriend, Paloma Jiménez, welcomed their first child, a girl, on April 2nd, 2008.
7. Lenny Kravitz
The retro rocker we know as Lenny Kravitz was born May 26, 1964 in Brooklyn, NY to parents Sy Kravitz, an ABC television news producer and the late actress Roxie Roker. Roxie was best known for her character on the hit '70s TV show The Jeffersons. Lenny’s father was of Russian descent from Kiev and his mother was of Bahamian descent. He was named after his uncle, PFC Leonard Kravitz, who was killed in action on March 6, 1951 near Yangpyeong, Korea at the age of 20.
Lenny didn't realize his parents were off different races - his father caucasion and his mother black, until kids started talking about it at school. He had a thing for music right away and by age 10 had dragged his parents to see Sarah Vaughan, James Brown and the Jackson 5. In 1974 the family moved to LA. He trained his voice in the California Boys Choir and the Metropolitan Opera and started teaching himself to play the guitar, piano, bass and the drums. A few years later he was taking the music program at Beverly Hills High School and gave himself the name Romeo Blue and appeared as a new persona complete with straightened hair and blue contact lenses, and began performing.
At this time, his music was heavily influenced by the funk pop of Prince. In 1982, he graduated from Beverly Hills High School and convinced his father to give him money to record instead of spending money on college. With his first demo he received offers from several record labels but was told he needed to change his music to make it "black enough" to fit in with current radio-friendly R & B styles. He refused and decided to record an album on his own.
In 1985 his parents divorced, which had a profound impact on him. His relationship with his father became extremely strained and he focused on his music to help him get through this period. It was in 1985 that Lenny met and fell in love with famous tv series The Cosby Show's Lisa Bonet. The couple went to Las Vegas and eloped in 1987 and had a child, daughter Zoe, a year later.
In 1988, when his debut album was almost finished, he engaged friend Stephen Elvis Smith to manage his career and assist him in finding a record deal. Five labels were interested but the deal was made with Virgin Records in January 1989 and his first album Let Love Rule was released. It had two hits with the songs Let Love Rule and Mr. Cab Driver. Back then, it seemed like his music career was on the way up as his marriage was on the way down. Lenny and Lisa’s relationship was full of problems from the start, including intense scrutiny from the media and Lenny's reported infidelities. In 1991, the couple separated in a bitter breakup and eventually divorced in 1993. Lenny's second album, "Mama Said," filled with songs about heartache, is said to be mostly about Lisa. His biggest single from this album "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over", went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
After the successful albums, his name was set and he has worked and is still working with the absolute A list in the music industry, like Mick Jagger, Madonna, Jay-Z, U2 and the late Michael Jackson.
- Roxie Roker, Kravitz's mother, died in California on December 2, 1995 of breast cancer at the age of 66.
- In 2001 Lenny wrote the song "Bank Robber Man" for the album Lenny after the Miami Police Department detained and cuffed him while walking to the gym with his trainer because police stated that he matched the description of a bank robber. Lenny did not have any identification with him at the time and the police on the scene did not believe that he was indeed Lenny Kravitz. The bank teller who was robbed was then brought to the scene and said Lenny was not the bank robber. Miami Police later sent officers to Lenny's home to apologize for the detention.
- Founded a design firm named Kravitz Design in 2006, stating if he hadn't been a musician he would have been a designer. Kravitz Design, focused on interior and furniture design, has designed residential spaces, as well as a chandelier for the crystal company Swarovski, named "Casino Royale
- On February 11, 2008, he was admitted to Miami Hospital suffering from severe bronchitis. He had been suffering from a series of severe respiratory tract infections since mid-January, and the illness developed into bronchitis.
- On July 15 2008, Lenny was honored in Milan, Italy with the key to the city in a special toast ceremony for his work with the United Nations Millennium Campaign to end world poverty
8. Terrence Howard
Born March 11, 1969 as Terrence Dashon Howard in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he is the son of Anita Williams and Tyrone Howard.
His parents were both biracial, of African American and Caucasian descent; he experienced racism throughout his childhood. At 3, Howard went to a department store with his family to see Santa Claus. His mother, who was wandering around the store, had joined them in line. His dad, being lighter-skinned to the point of appearing white, was accused by Caucasians behind him for allowing “black people” to cut the line. His father declared that the woman was his wife. A larger man instigated a fight and started choking Howard’s dad. In self defense, his father grabbed hold of a knife and stabbed his attacker. The man died soon after. Howard’s father served 11 months in jail on manslaughter charges.
His love for acting came naturally, through summers spent with his grandmother, New York stage actress Minnie Gentry. At the age of 16, he left his parents and went on welfare; at 18, he moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. Though he had a low grade point average in high school, he wanted to be a science teacher and was admitted to the Pratt Institute in New York only after convincing them to give him a special entrance exam. He did not complete his education, as he had joined his brother on an audition for The Cosby Show and was cast in the role. It ended up being cut out and he went to Bill Cosby himself to find out why, banging on his dressing room door. An angry Cosby had him removed from the set and barred from ever returning.
While pursuing his acting career, he earned a degree in chemical engineering at Pratt College – just in case he had any more confrontations with major celebrities.
Howard - 6'1" (1.84 m) - starred in a number of small television roles in the next few years, though he did not truly break into Hollywood until he was chosen for the 1995 movie Mr. Holland’s Opus. It allowed him to step up his television appearances and he also started appearing in music videos.
- Most recently appeared in ‘Iron Man’ and as the voice of Tiana’s father James in the Disney animation ‘The Princess and the Frog’ (2010).
- He’s a self taught musician and plays both the piano and the guitar. Displayed his musical talents opposite Jamie Foxx in the movie Ray (2004).
- In addition to his musical talents, Howard also has a strong interest in science.
- His mother died in September 2008 after a long battle with cancer
- Was married to and divorced from Lori McCommas twice. They have 3 children together; daughter Aubrey (1993), son Hunter (1995) and daughter Heavenly (1997). His wife was born Jewish but is raising their children as Jehovah's Witnesses. Howard Secretly married Michelle Ghent in January 2010.
9. LL Cool J
LL Cool J
LL Cool J, born January 14, 1968 was born James Todd Smith at Bay Shore, NY USA. He is the son of James and Ondrea Smith. His parents divorced when he was four years old and he was raised in Queens, NY by his grandparents. 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, his mother began to date a young physical therapist she met while in the hospital. The therapist treated Ondrea kindly, but for years he abused Todd physically and verbally, which resulted in Todd becoming a bully himself. It was during this period that he started wearing hats all the time (one of L.L. Cool J's trademarks is the fact that people never see him without a hat on--until recently). Fortunately, Ondrea finally discovered what this man was doing to her son and left him.
As he grew older, Todd found a way to escape the effects of his abuse and his bullying attitude: hip-hop music. He fell in love with it at the age of nine, and by 11 he was writing lyrics and making his own songs with some DJ equipment from Sears his grandfather gave him. At 15, he and one of his best friends came up with his present stage name, L.L. Cool J, which means "Ladies Love Cool James."
Smith produced and created demos and sent them to various record companies, including Def Jam Recordings. Under his new stage name - LL Cool J - Def Jam released his first record, the 12" single "I Need a Beat". The single sold over 100,000 copies. The success of "I Need a Beat" helped lead to a distribution deal with Def Jam and Columbia Records in 1985.Soon after, he dropped out of Andrew Jackson High School to record his debut album. He eventually released 12 albums, the last one, Exit 13, in 2008.
In 1985 he started his acting career, appearing in Krush Groove followed by Wildcats (1986). In 1995, after small roles in few other movies, he landed his own television sitcom, In the House and was so successful that it stayed on the air until 1999. Its success resulted in L.L. being cast in bigger and better film roles, and he has acted alongside actors such stars Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Woods, Al Pacino and Dennis Quaid, to name a few.
In 2000, he was finally rewarded for his acting talent. That year he won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for the best supporting actor in the action film Deep Blue Sea (1999). Even though his film career has taken off, he hasn't forgotten his love of hip-hop music. In 1998, he was planning to retire from hip-hop and just concentrate on his film career, but he later decided to keep dividing his time between both fields. He is currently a series regular on the CBS police procedural NCIS: Los Angeles, a spin-off of NCIS.
10. Blair Underwood
Born August 25, 1964 in Tacoma, Washington, the second son of Marilyn, an interior decorator, and Frank Underwood, a United States Army colonel.
As a result of his father's military career, the family lived on bases in the United States and Germany during his childhood, but settled in Petersburg, Virginia, when Blair was 13-years-old. It was in high school, where he performed in school plays and served as student body president in his senior year, that he decided that he wanted to make acting his career.
With his parents' support, he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to attend Carnegie-Mellon University. After almost three years as a musical theater major, he became concerned that the cost of his education was putting too much of a strain on his family's resources, and so he quit school and moved to New York.
Expecting to spend the next few years as a struggling actor, he was delighted when he got his first project, a guest appearance on The Cosby Show, after only two days after his arrival in New York. This was soon followed by a second appearance on Cosby, a guest shot as a punk rocker on the television series Knight Rider and a role in the movie Krush Groove. He made his film debut at age 21 in Krush Groove (1985) and appeared in a regular daytime role that same year on "One Life to Live" before scoring two years later in the charismatic role of attorney Jonathan Rollins in the hit dramatic series "L.A. Law" (1986).
It wasn't long before he was making appearances on Oprah and Today, gracing the covers of Jet and Ebony magazines, and serving as a judge in the Miss America pageant. More television and movie work followed and he now is one of America’s most wanted actors. As an outspoken champion for civil rights, he has worked hard to get other black actors and actresses better representation in the entertainment industry. He believes that part of the fight should be to correct an inaccurately represented past and that respect for one's heritage is a privilege that will strengthen personal identity.
He has also dedicated himself to taking roles about blacks in history that are portrayed in an uplifting and accurate light. Will appear as the President of the United States in the upcoming NBC drama series The Event, which is set to premiere in Fall 2010
- In 2005, he published a non-fiction book called Before I Got Here. The book is a collection of stories from parents that speak to the existence of a child’s soul prior to birth.
- Took a DNA test from African Ancestry.com and found out that he is a descendant of the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria.
- Honored the 1993 Humanitarian Award for his support in helping the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 2003, along with Ashley Judd, he served as the spokesperson for YouthAIDS.. In 2004, he appeared in a public service announcement for The Fulfillment Fund.
- In 1989, he co-founded Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA). Fellow co-founders are: Alfre Woodard, Danny Glover, Mary Steenburgen, CCH Pounder and other friends in the arts and entertainment community. ANSA supports a democratic South Africa with equal rights and opportunities for all citizens.
- In 2000, People Magazine named Underwood as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People. Was chosen as one of People Magazine's Sexiest Men Alive for 2007.
- On September 17, 1994, he married Desiree DaCosta, with whom he has three children; Paris, Brielle and Blake.