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Out Of Sync DVD LL Cool J dances with danger playing an ex-con underground club DJ in this film... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

WWII in HD DVD Click here to purchase the Blu-ray version of WWII in HD The only people to... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Hard Way DVD The glamour of L.A. meets the clamor of N.Y.C. in "The Hard Way" (1991), a... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Slow Burn (2005) DVD Ray Liotta stars as Ford Cole, a big-city district attorney with his eye on the... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

S.W.A.T. DVD S.W.A.T. is ready to roll out to protect and serve. Colin Farrell stars as a... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

Edison Force DVD It's a battle of integrity and corruption in "Edison Force" (2005). In the town... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: James Todd Smith, Ll Cool J Died:
Born: January 14, 1968 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Queens, New York, USA Profession: rapper, actor, songwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Grammy winner LL Cool J established himself as one of the first real hip-hop superstars before enjoying two decades of steady musical output and a lucrative side business as a film and television actor. After he helped put fledgling Def Jam Records on the map with his 1984 hit "I Need A Beat," Cool J managed to remain a relevant recording artist throughout his career, parlaying his street smart persona and gym-rat physique into success in action-oriented films like "S.W.A.T." (2003) and the football blockbuster "Any Given Sunday" (1999). Cool J's off-the-cuff wit and smooth charm also found a home in big screen romantic comedies like "Last Holiday" (2006) starring Queen Latifah, and on his own primetime sitcom, "In the House" (NBC, 1995-96; UPN, 1996-98). When Cool J was cast alongside Chris O'Donnell on the successful procedural, "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS, 2009- ), his acting career advanced to a new level of mainstream recognition. While Cool J's crossover appeal cost him some street cred among the East Coast b-boy scene, the hip-hop artist was still selling half a million records a pop and attracting audiences 25 years after many of his flash-in-the pan competitors had long since disappeared from...

Grammy winner LL Cool J established himself as one of the first real hip-hop superstars before enjoying two decades of steady musical output and a lucrative side business as a film and television actor. After he helped put fledgling Def Jam Records on the map with his 1984 hit "I Need A Beat," Cool J managed to remain a relevant recording artist throughout his career, parlaying his street smart persona and gym-rat physique into success in action-oriented films like "S.W.A.T." (2003) and the football blockbuster "Any Given Sunday" (1999). Cool J's off-the-cuff wit and smooth charm also found a home in big screen romantic comedies like "Last Holiday" (2006) starring Queen Latifah, and on his own primetime sitcom, "In the House" (NBC, 1995-96; UPN, 1996-98). When Cool J was cast alongside Chris O'Donnell on the successful procedural, "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS, 2009- ), his acting career advanced to a new level of mainstream recognition. While Cool J's crossover appeal cost him some street cred among the East Coast b-boy scene, the hip-hop artist was still selling half a million records a pop and attracting audiences 25 years after many of his flash-in-the pan competitors had long since disappeared from the public eye.

Born James Todd Smith on Jan. 14, 1968, Cool J was raised in New York's borough of Queens by his grandparents. He began rapping at the age of nine and was making his own demo tapes by the time he reached his teens, all under the stage name LL Cool J - an acronym for "Ladies Love Cool James." A demo for the song "I Need a Beat" attracted the attention of local rap manager Russell Simmons and producer Rick Rubin, who were cobbling together a few thousand dollars to launch their own label, Def Jam records. In 1984, "I Need a Beat" was Def Jam's first release, and its sales of over 100,000 units pushed the label in the spotlight and secured a distribution deal with CBS Records. Over the next few years, Def Jam became a cornerstone of East Coast rap and a driving force in the rising popularity of new school hip-hop. Cool J, one of its top-selling artists, rose along with it and watched his landmark debut LP, Radio (1985) and his sophomore album Bigger and Deffer (1987) - which included the surprising ballad "I Need Love" that hit No. 3 on the charts - become two of the first hip-hop/pop crossover successes.

Following the Top 10 success of the slicker, more pop-oriented 1989 album, Walking the Panther, Cool J returned to the sounds of the streets with the hard edged, bass-heavy Mama Said Knock You Out in 1990. The album was a runaway success across the board, reaching No. 2 on the R&B album charts and earned Cool J a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. A certified hip-hop icon, Cool J began to be courted by other media for his position as a representative of the contemporary urban generation. His early TV appearances were either as a singer or as a participant on lifestyle-oriented programs, like "What's Up, Dr. Ruth?" (Lifetime, 1989), where he was tapped to discuss the sexual attitudes of teens with the show's host Dr. Ruth Westheimer. In 1991- the year he took home his Grammy - he made his film debut playing a cop in the Michael J. Fox/James Woods "buddy" crime thriller, "The Hard Way" (1991), which also prominently featured his hit single "Mama Said Knock You Out." In 1992, Cool J had a leading role as the son of a family of toy magnates in the film "Toys" (1992), an unfortunate misfire for director Barry Levinson and a smudge on the resume of the film's star, Robin Williams.

His fifth album 14 Shots to the Dome was a disappointment compared to his last, but the 1995 release Mr. Smith returned Cool J to the public's favor, selling over two million copies and producing three Top 10 hits, including the Grammy-winning single, "Hey Lover." The same year, Cool J became a regular on TV when he was cast as the star of "In the House" as a financially struggling pro-football player who rents out his property to a newly divorced woman (Debbie Allen) with two kids. The show was produced by Quincy Jones' company and slotted after the long-running favorite "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (NBC, 1990-96) but struggled somewhat to hold onto an audience. After only one season on NBC, the show lasted three seasons on UPN, during which time Cool J was nominated three times for an Outstanding Actor award from the NAACP Image Awards; the series, itself, was nominated once for Outstanding Comedy. Cool J also starred as a down-and-out disc jockey in Debbie Allen's feature directorial debut "Out of Sync" (1995) and appeared in a small role in "The Right to Remain Silent" (Showtime, 1996), starring Lea Thompson as a rookie cop who has a busy first night at the precinct.

Although Cool J found minor success with the 1997 album Phenomenon, it was his last release for three years as the rapper's screen career had begun to heat up. He took on the newly revived teen horror genre in 1998 with a supporting role in "Halloween: H20," which made its mark as one of the most successful of the "Halloween" franchise. Cool J had supporting roles in the relatively low-profile crime drama "Caught Up" (1998) and the romantic comedy flop, "Woo" (1998) before providing comic relief as a cook aboard a doomed scientific vessel overtaken by a band of super-intelligent sharks in Renny Harlin's wildly absurd but enjoyable "Deep Blue Sea" (1999). Tackling a series of dramatic roles, the always buff Cool J played an NFL pro in director Oliver Stone's blockbuster, "Any Given Sunday" (1999), and scored a leading role as a nefarious drug dealer who fancies himself as God in the 1999 crime drama, "In Too Deep," co-starring Omar Epps. Cool J kicked off the new millennium with the number one charting album G.O.A.T, though his 2002 follow-up 10 sold significantly more and produced more radio singles. Cool J's acting career continued to be a lucrative side business that netted him a leading role in the moderately popular dark comedy "Kingdom Come" (2001), about a dysfunctional family squabbling as they lay their patriarch to rest.

The following year, Cool J joined Chris Klein and Rebecca Romijn in the disastrous remake of "Rollerball" (2002) before taking the lead in the romantic comedy "Deliver Us from Eva" (2003), as a cash-strapped lothario hired to distract a controlling sister-in-law (Gabrielle Union) from her duties as manager of the family trust fund. In one of his biggest screen successes, Cool J had a leading role as one of a team of elite L.A. law enforcement officers in the major action blockbuster "S.W.A.T." (2003), co-starring Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson. Less notable was his leading role in Renny Harlin's "Mindhunters" (2004), as a Philadelphia cop overseeing a team of FBI agents-to-be whose training exercises lead to a murder mystery. Cool J's tenth album, DEFinition debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts in 2004. His next two film releases, the crime dramas "Edison" (2004) and "Slow Burn" (2005), never hit mainstream theaters, but Cool J redeemed his screen cred with his role as the sweet, sensitive love interest of a woman (Queen Latifah) who believes she has only three weeks to live in the warm, escapist confection, "Last Holiday" (2006). The semi-self-titled album Todd Smith came and went with little fanfare the same year.

In 2007, Cool J made a memorable guest appearance on the Emmy darling "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006-) playing fictitious rap mogul Ridikulous, and the following year he wrapped up his 20-year long relationship with Def Jam Records with his final release on the label, Exit 13. Returning to primetime, Cool J was cast in a regular role as an undercover agent and retired Navy SEAL on "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS, 2009- ), a spin-off of the popular procedural drama "NCIS" (CBS, 2003- ).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Grudge Match (2013)
2.
 Deal, The (2008)
3.
 Last Holiday (2006)
4.
 Edison (2005)
5.
 Mindhunters (2005) Cast
6.
 Deliver Us from Eva (2003) Ray
7.
 S.W.A.T. (2003) Deacon 'Deke' Kaye
8.
 Rollerball (2002) Marcus Ridley
9.
 KINGDOM COME (2001) Ray Bud Slocumb
10.
 Charlie's Angels (2000) Mister Jones
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began producing and creating demos at age 16
1985:
Released first single "I Need a Beat" with Def Jam Records
1985:
Released debut album <i>Radio</i> to critical acclaim
1985:
Appeared as himself in the film "Krush Groove"
1987:
Made early TV appearance singing on a Diana Ross special
1987:
Released second album <i>Bigger and Deffer</i>
1990:
Released highly successful fourth album <i>Mama Said Knock You Out</i>
1991:
Made acting debut in the film "The Hard Way"; also featured his hit song "Mama Said Knock You Out"
1992:
Co-starred opposite Robin Williams in Barry Levinson's "Toys"
1993:
Formed own record label, P.O.G. (Power of God); signed multi-album deal with Def Records
1995:
Starred in Debbie Allen's feature directorial debut "Out of Sync"
1995:
Played a former professional football player on the sitcom "In the House" (NBC, 1995-96; UPN, 1996-99)
1995:
Released his successful sixth album <i>Mr. Smith</i>
1998:
Featured in the horror sequel "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later"
1999:
Won plaudits for his effective turn as an evil drug dealer in "In Too Deep"
1999:
Co-starred as a football player in Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday"
2000:
Released the album <i>G.O.A.T.</i>, which stood for the "Greatest Of All Time"
2000:
Appeared as Mr. Jones in the big screen remake of "Charlie's Angels"
2001:
Cast as one of the leads in the ensemble feature "Kingdom Come"
2002:
Co-starred in the remake of "Rollerball"
2003:
First lead role, playing a a womanizer who meets his match in the comedy feature "Deliver Us From Eva"
2003:
Cast alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell and Michelle Rodriguez in the action thriller "S.W.A.T."
2004:
Released tenth studio album <i>The DEFinition</i>; earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album
2005:
Co-starred with Val Kilmer in Renny Harlin's psychological thriller "Mindhunters"
2005:
Co-starred in the thriller "Edison"
2006:
Played Queen Latifah's love interest in the comedy "Last Holiday"
2007:
Co-starred as a gang leader opposite Ray Liotta in "Slow Burn"
2008:
Released final album under the Def Jam label <i>Exit 13</i>
2009:
Cast as Special Agent Sam Hanna on the CBS spin-off series "NCIS: Los Angeles"
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actor: Action Adventure
2012:
Hosted the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Hillcrest High School: Queens , New York -

Notes

LL Cool J means "Ladies Love Cool James"

LL Cool J has a room in his home in which his more than 2,000 hats are stored.

LL Cool J has devoted resources to a foundation. At one time, he was involved with Camp Cool J, which provided thousands of inner-city youths the chance to spend the summer away from their urban homes, but since the late 1990s, that project has been on hiatus.

"No matter what happens, I keep my integrity. I don't dance around in chicken suits." --LL Cool J quoted in Us, April 1996.

"I'm not a joker. I'm not going to do the Sambo, tap-dancing thing. I don't want to be depicted in a stereotypical way. The [producers] are going to have to come up with some intellectual comedy for me." --LL Cool J in the New York Post, April 10, 1995.

"I'm not going to have maniac kids 20 years from now that are coming out of the clubs in Hollywood with sunglasses on, jumping into a [BMW] 325 convertible, and they're nuts." --LL Cool J in Us, April 1996.

"[I] Wish they could take my longevity and bottle it."-LL Cool J People November 4, 2002

" I wasted a lot of money in my life. I would buy houses, the jewelry and lots of cars. So many cars you wouldn't believe it. I'd buy Mercedes-Benzes and cut off the roofs because they didn't come in a convertible. I bought Porches in cash. BMW's. Then I started figuring out that I needed to manage my money- LL Cool J on how he became interested in playing the markets GQ February 2003

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Kidada Jones. Actor, model. Daughter of Quincy Jones.
wife:
Simone Smith. Had an on and off relationship since the late 1980s; married 1995 while pregnant with their third child.

Family close complete family listing

father:
James Smith. Entrepreneur. Divorced from Ondrea Smith in 1972.
mother:
Ondrea Smith. Pharmacist. Divorced from James Smith in 1972.
son:
Najee Smith. Born c. 1989.
daughter:
Italia Smith. Born c. 1991.
daughter:
Sameria Smith. Born c. 1995.
daughter:
Nina Simone Smith. Born 2000.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"I Make My Own Rules" St. Martin's Press

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