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Ving Rhames

Ving Rhames was born and raised in Harlem, New York. Rhames studied dramatic arts at the New York High School of Performing Arts and then at the Juilliard School of Drama. After graduating from Juilliard, Rhames went on to perform in Shakespeare in the Park productions. In 1984, he appeared in front of the camera for the first time in the television movie Go Tell it on the Mountain and was then quickly cast in minor roles in several popular television shows including Miami Vice, Tour of Duty and Crime Story. In a remarkable turn of events, while filming The Saint of Fort Washington 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.

Rhames' next big break came in 1994 when director Quentin Tarantino cast him as the merciless drug dealer Marsellus Wallace in the mega hit Pulp Fiction. Not long after, director Brian De Palma cast Rhames alongside Tom Cruise as the ace computer hacker, Luther Stickell, in Mission: Impossible. 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.

The next career highlight for Rhames was playing the lead role in the HBO production Don King: Only in America. 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.

The talented actor then contributed attention-grabbing performances in Idlewild, Bringing out the Dead, and returned as Luther Stickell in Mission: Impossible II and III. He contributed his deep bass voice for the character of Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch and played a burly cop fighting cannibal zombie hordes in Dawn of the Dead. A keen fitness and weight-lifting enthusiast, Rhames is also well known for his strong spiritual beliefs and benevolent attitude toward others.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Ving Rhames Facts

Birth NameIrving Rhames
BirthdayMay 12, 1959 (64)
BirthplaceNew York, New York, USA
Height6' (1m83)  How tall is Ving Rhames compared to you?
Awards1998 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Mini-Series or a TV Film (for Don King: Only in America)

Selected Filmography

Not available.