skip navigation
Laurence Fishburne

Laurence Fishburne

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

King Of New York DVD Drug lord Frank White (Christopher Walken) takes from the rich to give to the... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Matrix DVD Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for... more info $12.98was $12.98 Buy Now

Rumble Fish DVD The second of Francis Ford Coppola's films based on the popular juvenile novels... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

Miss Evers' Boys DVD A Government Lie. A Woman's Secret. A Story That Must Be Told.Based on the... more info $5.98was $5.98 Buy Now

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned... An ex-con just can't catch a break in this character-rich drama from the pen of... more info $5.98was $5.98 Buy Now

Predators DVD This latest entry into the popular "Predator" (1987) action and sci-fi... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: Larry Fishburne, Laurence John Fishburne Iii Died:
Born: July 30, 1961 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Augusta, Georgia, USA Profession: actor, producer, director, playwright, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A versatile performer equally adept at playing both hero and villain, actor Laurence Fishburne emerged on the scene after famously lying about his age to Francis Ford Coppola in order to land a prominent part in the director's seminal "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Though he struggled in small parts over the ensuing decade, Fishburne came into his own as a father trying to keep his son out of the gang life in "Boyz n the Hood" (1991). After richly textured supporting roles in "What's Love Got to Do with It" (1993) and "Searching for Bobby Fisher" (1993), he became the first African-American actor to perform the title role of "Othello" (1995) for a major Hollywood studio. Toward the end of the decade, Fishburne achieved iconic status with his Zen-like performance as the leather-clad Morpheus in the cultural phenomenon, "The Matrix" (1999), a role he reprised in the back-to-back sequels. With appearances in movies like "Mission: Impossible III" (2006), "Bobby" (2006) and "Assault on Precinct 13" (2005), as well as taking over the central role on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ), Fishburne solidified his legacy as a truly diverse and welcome performer.

A versatile performer equally adept at playing both hero and villain, actor Laurence Fishburne emerged on the scene after famously lying about his age to Francis Ford Coppola in order to land a prominent part in the director's seminal "Apocalypse Now" (1979). Though he struggled in small parts over the ensuing decade, Fishburne came into his own as a father trying to keep his son out of the gang life in "Boyz n the Hood" (1991). After richly textured supporting roles in "What's Love Got to Do with It" (1993) and "Searching for Bobby Fisher" (1993), he became the first African-American actor to perform the title role of "Othello" (1995) for a major Hollywood studio. Toward the end of the decade, Fishburne achieved iconic status with his Zen-like performance as the leather-clad Morpheus in the cultural phenomenon, "The Matrix" (1999), a role he reprised in the back-to-back sequels. With appearances in movies like "Mission: Impossible III" (2006), "Bobby" (2006) and "Assault on Precinct 13" (2005), as well as taking over the central role on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000- ), Fishburne solidified his legacy as a truly diverse and welcome performer.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Once in the Life (2000) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Rudderless (2014)
3.
 Ride Along (2014)
4.
 Signal, The (2014)
5.
 Colony, The (2013)
6.
 Man of Steel (2013)
8.
 Contagion (2011)
9.
 Predators (2010)
10.
 Alchemist, The (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised by mother in Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York
:
First part was in second grade playing Peter Pan
1971:
Professional stage debut as a young baseball fan in Charles Fuller's "My Many Names and Faces" at NYC's New Federal Theatre
1973:
Appeared regularly on "One Life to Live" (ABC) as Joshua West Hall, the adopted son of a police captain
1975:
Played Tony Pridgeon in "Section D" at the New Federal Theatre
1975:
Film debut in starring role in "Cornbread, Earl and Me"
1976:
Co-starred Off-Broadway in the Negro Ensemble Company production of "Eden"
1977:
Went to the Philippines for 18 months to shoot "Apocalypse Now" (1979) under Francis Ford Coppola's direction; credited in the film as Larry Fishburne
1979:
Credited as Laurence Fishburne III for "Fast Break"
1980:
TV series debut, "The Six O'Clock Follies" (NBC)
1983:
Reteamed with Coppola for "Rumble Fish"
1984:
Third film with Coppola, "The Cotton Club"; for his role as the fictional Bumpy Rhodes, he researched the real Harlem gangster Bumpy Johnson, whom he would later portray in "Hoodlum" (1997)
1985:
Cast as Swain in Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple"
1986:
Had continuing role as Cowboy Curtis on "Pee-wee's Playhouse" (CBS); met a young production assistant named John Singleton, who would later direct him in his breakthrough role "Boyz N the Hood" (1991)
1987:
Fourth film with Coppola, "Gardens of Stone"
1988:
Acted in Spike Lee's "School Daze"
1990:
Provided some of the muscle for Christopher Walken's drug operation in Abel Ferrara's "King of New York"
1991:
Won acclaim for his lead performance as the father in "Boyz N the Hood"; directed by John Singleton
1992:
Co-starred as an ex-con romancing a waitress in August Wilson's stage drama "Two Trains Running"; play first produced at Yale Rep before moving to Broadway; received Tony Award
1993:
Played Ike Turner to Angela Bassett's Tina Turner in "What's Love Got to Do with It"; received Best Actor Oscar nomination
1993:
Portrayed the Washington Square Park mentor of a young chess prodigy in "Searching for Bobby Fischer"
1993:
Earned an Emmy Award as Best Guest Actor for his turn in the pilot episode of "TriBeCa" (Fox)
1994:
Formed Loa Productions, an independent production company
1995:
Reteamed with Singleton for "Higher Learning"
1995:
Became first black actor to portray Shakespeare's "Othello" in major studio feature
1995:
Played Hannibal 'Iowa' Lee in the acclaimed HBO movie, "The Tuskegee Airmen"; earned an Emmy nomination
1995:
Wrote, directed and starred in the Off-Broadway - one-act play, "Riff Raff"
1997:
Reteamed with Bill Duke as star of "Hoodlum" playing Ellsworth 'Bumpy' Johnson, a 1930s Harlem racketeer who locked horns with Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth) and Lucky Luciano (Andy Garcia); also executive produced
1997:
Executive produced (also starred) the acclaimed HBO movie "Miss Evers' Boys"; received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries
1998:
Executive produced and starred as Socrates Fortlow in HBO's "Always Outnumbered"
1999:
Portrayed the mysterious Morpheus in the blockbusting "The Matrix"
1999:
Starred as Henry II in a Broadway revival of James Goldman's "The Lion in Winter" at NYC's Roundabout Theatre
2000:
Made his feature directorial debut with "Once in the Life" the film version of his play "Riff Raff"
2003:
Reprised Morpheus in "The Matrix: Reloaded"
2003:
Again portrayed Morpheus in "The Matrix: Revolutions"
2003:
Played a cop opposite Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn in "Mystic River"; directed by Clint Eastwood
2005:
Starred with Ethan Hawke and Maria Bello in "Assault on Precinct 13"
2006:
Played Cruise's mentor in "Mission: Impossible III" directed by J.J. Abrams
2006:
Cast in Emilio Estevez's directorial debut, "Bobby"
2008:
Played a casino security agent in "21" a film based on a group of MIT card counters
2008:
Cast as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in the Broadway production of "Thurgood" at the Booth Theatre; earned a Tony award nomination for Best Actor in a Play
2008:
Replaced departing series star William Petersen on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS) as a college lecturer and former pathologist
2010:
Appeared in "Predators," a sequel to cult favorites "Predator" (1987) and "Predator 2" (1990) about an elite group of warriors hunted by a merciless alien race
2011:
Reprised role of Thurgood Marshall in the HBO adaptation of "Thurgood"
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
2011:
Joined an ensemble cast for Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Julia Richman High School: New York , New York -
Lincoln Square Academy: New York , New York -

Notes

"Doing theater makes you feel like a real actor. I have tried to do one play a year since 1982. You do films for a while and because they take so long to get made, it's a year or two after the fact that the film comes out. By then you have forgotten about the work. It's nice to get the feedback from a theater audience." --Laurence Fishburne quoted in Los Angeles Times, April 14, 1991

About his mother who encouraged his acting career since childhood: "She wants me to be a big star, a really big star. She wanted me to make records, to sing. I said no. I didn't want to be a big star. I wanted to be a really good actor. My mother is quite a woman. She would push me. . . . She's very proud of me, but she's mad she doesn't get all the credit. I can't give her all the credit, but I give her a lot. I didn't have much of a childhood, but that's O.K. I have a livelihood." --Fishburne quoted in The New York Times, November 18, 1991

On what he learned filming "Apocalypse Now": "Francis [Coppola] let me know that I could be an artist. Martin [Sheen, still a good friend and godfather to one of his children] let me know I was a good actor. Dennis [Hopper] let me know that it was necessary to go beyond certain boundaries. [Robert] Duvall let me know that it was a business. [Marlon] Brando ... the thing I learned from him was not to take it too seriously." --Fishburne to the Daily News, February 12, 1995

Regarding racial profiling and the LAPD: "When I was younger in L.A., I used to get pulled over by the police for nothing--for being black, for dressing wild. Once it happened five times the same day because I was with a white girl. It's real, let me tell you." --Fishburne quoted in People, October 23, 1995

"I haven't spoken to my mother in two years. I don't even want to mention her. You know what happens when I mention her? I did an interview where I described her as a teacher, and she called me up and said I shouldn't have said she was a teacher--I should have called her an educator! You know why we don't get along? Because I'm famous and she's not!

"I'm grateful that my mom had the foresight and vision to recognize that I was talented and to push me--no matter what her vision was. There's no way I can give this woman credit for what she's done for me. There's no way any kid can repay his parents. Parents make the supreme sacrifice." --Fishburne to Leslie Bennets in Vanity Fair, December 1995

On his experience playing "Othello": "At one point [Kenneth] Branagh and I had to do a riding-into-the-sunset shot, with me jumping on the back of his horse. Neither one of us--these two butch guys with swords--was very proficient. I was afraid to jump on the horse, and I had this sword, so the horse was afraid to come over where I was, and then I jumped on and I almost pulled Branagh off. It was pretty silly, pretty Keystone Kops.

"I've played a lot of characters, and I've enjoyed them all. But Othello is the first character that I've missed. I just love him and miss him terribly. So much so that what I'd like to do in years to come is the play--the full play." --Fishburne to Bruce Weber in Vogue, November 1995

About color-blind casting: "I've been fortunate enough to be associated with people who are brave enough to put me in roles that aren't marked 'black.' But I think the circumstances have to be appropriate. And so much depends on who you are and what the piece is ...

"It's a tricky thing ... I think cultural identity has great importance for each group. It's why there are Puerto Rican theater companies and Pan-Asian theatrical groups. Those things have their importance and their significance and their place.

"But we're a country that's evolving and changing. We're just two-hundred years old, and we're still figuring out how we all fit in and where we're from and where we're going. And as that process works itself through, I think both the cultural-nationalist things and the other ... well, I don't even think they're necessarily opposed to each other. They're parts of the same process. Both necessary parts." --Fishburne quoted in Newsday, August 25, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Hanja Moss. Casting director. Married in 1985, divorced c. 1993; was an NYU student from the Bahamas when they met; introduced by Spike Lee.
companion:
Victoria Dillard. Actor. Met on set of "Deep Cover" (1992); no longer together.
wife:
Gina Torres. Actor. Born c. 1971; met in 1995 on a blind date; became engaged in December 2000; first announced engagement in May 2001; again mentioned engagement on "The Tonight Show" in August 2001; married September 2002 IN New York.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Laurence Fishburne. Juvenile corrections officer. Worked in the Bronx; divorced from Fishburne's mother; saw son "once a month or so".
mother:
Hattie Fishburne. Retired educator. Taught junior high school math; traveled with son to Philippines during shooting of "Apocalpyse Now" (1979) to tutor him; divorced from Fishburne's father.
godfather:
Maurice Anthony Watson. Professor. Taught at Brooklyn College; Fishburne based his portrayal of Mr Phipps, the college professor in John Singleton's "Higher Learning" (1995) on Watson.
son:
Langston Fishburne. Born c. 1987; mother, Hanja Moss.
daughter:
Montana Fishburne. Born in September 1991; godfather, Martin Sheen.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute