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Also Known As: Nitara Carlynn Long Died:
Born: October 30, 1970 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A gorgeous, gifted actress, Nia Long impressed as Cuba Gooding Jr.'s girlfriend in "Boyz in the Hood" (1991) and charmed opposite Will Smith in "Made in America" (1993) and on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC, 1990-96). Achieving movie stardom, she scored memorable roles in such hits as "Friday" (1995), "Love Jones" (1997), "Soul Food" (1997), "Hav Plenty" (1997), "Held Up" (1999), "Stigmata" (1999) and "The Best Man" (1999), for which she won a Best Actress Image Award. Long also scored small roles in "The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy" (2000) and "Boiler Room" (2000), but ascended to box office heaven with roles in the blockbusters "Big Momma's House" (2000) and its 2006 sequel. She earned critical acclaim as undercover detective Sasha Monroe on "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005), which earned her an additional two Best Actress Image Awards. After a supporting turn in "Alfie" (2004), she starred opposite Ice Cube in the family-friendly comedies "Are We There Yet?" (2005) and "Are We Done Yet?" (2007). One of the premier African-American leading ladies of her era, Nia Long proved she was an exceptional talent deserving of bigger and better roles.Born Oct. 30, 1970 in Brooklyn, NY, Nitara...

A gorgeous, gifted actress, Nia Long impressed as Cuba Gooding Jr.'s girlfriend in "Boyz in the Hood" (1991) and charmed opposite Will Smith in "Made in America" (1993) and on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC, 1990-96). Achieving movie stardom, she scored memorable roles in such hits as "Friday" (1995), "Love Jones" (1997), "Soul Food" (1997), "Hav Plenty" (1997), "Held Up" (1999), "Stigmata" (1999) and "The Best Man" (1999), for which she won a Best Actress Image Award. Long also scored small roles in "The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy" (2000) and "Boiler Room" (2000), but ascended to box office heaven with roles in the blockbusters "Big Momma's House" (2000) and its 2006 sequel. She earned critical acclaim as undercover detective Sasha Monroe on "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005), which earned her an additional two Best Actress Image Awards. After a supporting turn in "Alfie" (2004), she starred opposite Ice Cube in the family-friendly comedies "Are We There Yet?" (2005) and "Are We Done Yet?" (2007). One of the premier African-American leading ladies of her era, Nia Long proved she was an exceptional talent deserving of bigger and better roles.

Born Oct. 30, 1970 in Brooklyn, NY, Nitara Carlynn Long made her screen debut in a 1986 episode of "227" (NBC, 1985-1990) and in "The B.R.A.T. Patrol" installment of "The Disney Sunday Movie" (ABC, 1986-88). It would be four years later, however, before she made her film debut in the horror flick "Buried Alive" (1990), but Long would earn much more acclaim for her fantastic work in John Singleton's "Boyz in the Hood" (1991) as Brandi, the ambitious girlfriend of Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.). Her success in the film buoyed her to a two-year stint on "Guiding Light" (CBS, 1952-2009) as well as an Image Award-nominated recurring role on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC, 1990-96) as the levelheaded, long-running love interest of Will (Will Smith). She and Smith joined forces on the big screen for the hit "Made in America" (1993), the story of a young woman (Long) in search of her biological father (Ted Danson), only to discover to her and her mother's (Whoopi Goldberg) surprise, he is white. Long notched another success as the female lead of Ice Cube's immensely popular comedy "Friday" (1995) and earned a series regular role on the drama "Live Shot" (UPN, 1995-96).

After a fun guest spot as a babysitter on Brandy's sitcom "Moesha" (UPN, 1996-2001), Long booked strong roles in three of the era's most influential African-American films: "Love Jones" (1997), "Soul Food" (1997) and "Hav Plenty" (1997). Billed as "a hip 'When Harry Met Sally,'" the likably low-key "Love Jones" cast Long as a photographer navigating her relationship with a poet (Larenz Tate), earning her another Image Award nomination. "Soul Food" was a hugely influential ensemble family drama, featuring Long as the fragile but determined Bird, an entrepreneur attempting to help her ex-con husband (Mekhi Phifer) get a fresh start. So popular was the film that it was spun off into a television series (Showtime, 2000-04). A charming little-indie-that-could, "Hav Plenty" told a quirky, middle-class African-American love story, and featured Long in a delightful ending-credits cameo as the Hollywood version of the titular Hav (Chenoa Maxwell).

After supporting roles in the thrillers "In too Deep" (1999) and "Stigmata" (1999), Long landed the romantic leads in the Jamie Foxx comedy "Held Up" (1999) and in "The Best Man" (1999), the latter of which followed the ripple effect caused when a writer's (Taye Diggs) debut novel hurts the feelings of the real-life figures his characters are based on, especially his ex-girlfriend (Long), who decides to lovingly turn the tables. For her work, Long won Best Actress honors from the Image Awards as well as from the Black Reel Awards. She went on to essay finely nuanced character work in the gay-themed "The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy" (2000), the Wall Street thriller "Boiler Room" (2000) and the lesbian-themed anthology "If These Walls Could Talk 2" (HBO, 2000), for which she earned another Image Award nomination.

Long's biggest box office success came with the broader-than-a-barn-door comedy "Big Momma's House" (2000), where she played a woman attempting to flee from her criminal ex-boyfriend (Terrence Howard) by seeking refuge in the titular abode, little realizing that her grandmother, "Big Momma," has been replaced by an FBI agent in comic drag (Martin Lawrence). Gleefully silly and more than a little stupid, the film received scathing reviews but became an enormous box office smash, spawning a hit franchise that saw Long's return in "Big Momma's House 2" (2006). Doing her best to provide the film with a grounding in real human emotion, but capable of killer comic timing herself, Long earned another Image Award nomination and won the Black Star Award for Star of the Year.

After recurring on "Judging Amy" (CBS, 1999-2005), the actress joined the cast of the New York City-set drama "Third Watch" (NBC, 1999-2005) as Sasha Monroe, a cop who is later revealed to be an undercover Internal Affairs Bureau detective. Long's powerful portrayal of a woman caught between conflicting loyalties and attempting to salvage her relationship with colleague Ty Davis (Coby Bell), impressed critics and fans alike, and she won two Best Actress Image Awards. She was nominated for a BET Comedy Award as well as a Black Reel Award for her work in the remake of "Alfie" (2004) as Lonette, the girlfriend of the titular Lothario's (Jude Law) buddy (Omar Epps), whose dalliance with Alfie has long-term consequences for all three of them. Reuniting again with Ice Cube, she played his would-be girlfriend in the road trip family comedy "Are We There Yet?" (2005), which became a box office smash and spawned the successful sequel "Are We Done Yet?" (2007). Nevertheless, Long became a series regular on the corporate drama "Big Shots" (ABC, 2007-08), voiced daughter Roberta for a season on "The Cleveland Show" (Fox, 2009- ) and played a religious mother in "Mooz-lum" (2011).

By Jonathan Riggs

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Spy (2015)
2.
3.
4.
 Mooz-lum (2010)
5.
 Good Hair (2009)
6.
 Gospel Hill (2008)
7.
 Are We Done Yet? (2007)
8.
 Premonition (2007)
9.
 Big Momma's House 2 (2006) Cast
10.
 Are We There Yet? (2005) Suzanne Kingston
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in NYC
1977:
Moved with family to Los Angeles at age six
1986:
Made TV debut in an episode of "227" (NBC)
1986:
First major role in the ABC movie, "The B.R.A.T. Patrol"
1990:
Appeared in first feature, "Buried Alive"
1991:
First notable role was as Kathryn 'Kat' Speakes on the CBS soap opera "Guiding Light"
1991:
Breakout role as the love interest to Cuba Gooding Jr. in John Singleton's "Boyz N the Hood"
1994:
Joined cast of NBC sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" in recurring role of Will's girlfriend
1995:
Co-starred in the film comedy "Friday"
1997:
First lead role in a feature, "Love Jones"; also performed two songs
1997:
Was in the ensemble cast of the hit film "Soul Food"
1997:
Formed own production company
1997:
Co-starred in the festival-screened "Hav Plenty"; screened at Sundance in 1998
1998:
Starred in the pilot "Black Jaq" (an unsold pilot, produced by Forest Whitaker)
1999:
Co-starred in the comedy film, "The Best Man"
2000:
Played Giovanni Ribisi's girlfriend in "Boiler Room"
2001:
Had recurring role as a love interest for Richard T Jones' character on the CBS drama "Judging Amy"
2003:
Became a regular on the drama series "Third Watch" (NBC)
2004:
Starred in "Baadasssss!" Mario Van Peebles' homage to his father Melvin's 1971 film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
2004:
Played Lonette, the ex-girlfriend of Alfie's best friend, in a remake of "Alfie"
2005:
Starred opposite Ice Cube in the comedy "Are We There Yet?"
2006:
Co-starred with Martin Lawrence in the comedy "Big Momma's House 2"
2006:
Guest-starred in three episodes of "Boston Legal," (ABC) as Vanessa Walker, a disciplined, ambitious, micromanaging new associate
2007:
Cast as Sandra Bullock's best friend in the thriller, "Premonition"
2007:
Again starred opposite Ice Cube in the sequel, "Are We Done Yet?"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Santa Monica College: Santa Monica , California -
Westchester High School: Los Angeles , California - 1989

Notes

Long discovered that one of her classmates in junior high was her half-sister Djamila.

"I thank God I grew up in an environment where things were real. It wasn't a movie. It wasn't glamorous. It was my life."---Nia Long on her upbringing, to People, March 31, 1997.

"I get annoyed because [show] business is so full of shit sometimes. But for the most part, I'm very happy with the pace that I'm taking to get where I'm going. I think in a couple of years everyone will know who Nia Long is. Put it like that."---From Movieline, October 1997.

"I've always been the type of person to disappear. Every time I come back I'm better and stronger."---Nia Long quoted to Honey Magazine, August 2003.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Chris Webber. Professional athlete. No longer together.
companion:
Peter Thomas. Restaurant owner. Born c. 1961.
husband:
Massai Dorsey. Businessman. Engaged; married June 2001.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Doughtry Long. High school teacher. Divorced from Long's mother in 1974.
mother:
Talita Long. Art teacher, bus driver, beer salesperson. Divorced from Long's father in 1974.
half-sister:
Djamila Long.
son:
Massai Zhivago Dorsey II. Born on November 26, 2000; father, Massai Dorsey.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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