Taye Diggs


Actor

About

Also Known As
Scott Diggs
Birth Place
Newark, New Jersey, USA
Born
January 02, 1971

Biography

Described by Ebony magazine as "the black Clark Gable," actor Taye Diggs' range of talent placed him closer to the moniker bestowed upon him by The Los Angeles Times, which labeled him "the black Cary Grant." Like the Hollywood legend, the New Jersey-born Diggs was both skilled and comfortable in almost any entertainment genre - from television to theater to film; from comedies to musica...

Family & Companions

Idina Menzel
Companion
Actor, singer. Met while appearing in "Rent" together; appeared together in the Off-Broadway production of "The Wild Party" by Andrew Lippa; engaged in 2002; married January 11, 2003 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Notes

When Diggs learned he landed the role in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back", he ran naked through the aisles of the Nederlander Theater where "Rent" was playing.

As Scott Diggs, he derived his nickname from Scott-TAYE!"

Biography

Described by Ebony magazine as "the black Clark Gable," actor Taye Diggs' range of talent placed him closer to the moniker bestowed upon him by The Los Angeles Times, which labeled him "the black Cary Grant." Like the Hollywood legend, the New Jersey-born Diggs was both skilled and comfortable in almost any entertainment genre - from television to theater to film; from comedies to musicals to straight drama and action/thriller/fantasy, as his ABC series, "Day Break" (2006-08) would be considered. And like Grant, Diggs exuded an effortless charm and class that had for years, endeared him to both male and female audiences.

Born Scott Diggs in New Jersey on Jan. 2, 1972 and raised in Rochester, NY, Diggs (whose professional first name was a derivation of a childhood nickname, "Scottaye") spent his formative years helping his mother raise his four younger siblings after the death of his father. After attending high school at the Rochester School of the Arts, he majored in musical theater at Syracuse University - where he also fronted a band, Zoo Trip - and graduated in 1993. Roles in regional theater productions predated a turn on Broadway in a 1994 multi-Tony Award-winning production of "Carousel." However, the initial success did not pan out for Diggs as hoped, so he accepted a job at a musical revue at Tokyo Disneyland to pay the bills. After his return to the States, Diggs went back to auditioning for stage and television parts - one proved to be his star-marking role - that of Benny, the landlord antagonist in the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical/cultural phenomenon, "Rent." He stayed with the show for a year, during which time he became romantically involved with his castmate, actress Idina Menzel.

The worldwide acclaim generated by "Rent" allowed Diggs to explore other acting possibilities, so after a short stint in the recurring part of a slick music producer on the on the daytime soap "The Guiding Light" (CBS, 1952-2009 ), Diggs made a considerable splash in his debut film, 1998's "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." As Angela Bassett's handsome and much younger Jamaican lover, Diggs' innate sweetness - to say nothing of his well-built physique (displayed most impressively in a shower scene) - quickly blew female audience members away, all of whom left the theater collectively wondering, "Who WAS that fine man?" Not unexpectedly, more movie offers quickly poured in for Diggs. He gave an amusing performance as the straight man in a pair of friends in deep trouble in Las Vegas in Doug Liman's "Go" (1999), also appearing in more traditional dramatic roles in "The Best Man" (1999), which he, at one time, considered his favorite movie part; in "The Wood," playing the reluctant groom in the comedy-drama about middle-class African-American youth; and in the woeful remake of "House on Haunted Hill" (1999). In 2000, Diggs returned to the stage for an off-Broadway production of "The Wild Party," co-starring Menzel. That year, he also appeared in the action/noir cult film, "The Way of the Gun," as a security guard involved in the search for kidnapped expectant mother Juliette Lewis.

In 2001, Diggs joined the much gossiped-about cast of "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002), as lawyer Jackson Duper, who found himself in the middle of a love triangle between series regulars Lisa Nicole Carson and Lucy Liu. The following year saw Diggs in a flurry of feature films, ranging from the low-budget thriller "New Best Friend" (as a private investigator looking into the murder of a student) to a smooth romantic lead in the popular drama "Brown Sugar," and a futuristic police officer with enhanced mental powers in the ill-fated science fiction actioner "Equilibrium." Diggs was also featured as the Bandleader in the film adaptation of "Chicago" (previously, he had logged time as Billy Flynn in the stage production).

The year 2003 saw Diggs appear in two less-than-highly-regarded features, "Basic" (2003), with Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, in which he portrayed a cadet who vanishes during a training exercise and "Malibu's Most Wanted," the hip-hop comedy with Jamie Kennedy, in which Diggs played a faux gangsta hired to scare Kennedy, a wanna-be rapper. He did, however, survive a typically mortifying turn as a victim on Ashton Kutcher's "Punk'd" (MTV, 2003-). The year's high point for him came when he married longtime companion Menzel at the Jamaican resort where years earlier he'd starred in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." The pair was also seen on Broadway that year in the smash hit "Wicked," for which Menzel won the Tony Award.

Diggs landed his first lead in a television series in 2004 with "Kevin Hill" (UPN, 2004-2005). The series gave him an excellent showcase for both his dramatic skills and romantic appeal, but its mix of legal fireworks and family hominess - his title character juggled work as a lawyer with raising his ten-month-old cousin - did not translate into substantial ratings. Though admired by critics, the series did not survive its freshman season. The following year, Diggs joined most of his Broadway castmates (including Menzel) in the coolly received film version of "Rent" (2005) directed by Chris Columbus, though his considerable song-and-dance skills were not particularly utilized in the film. He was also top-billed in a New York theatrical production of "A Soldier's Story."

In 2006, Diggs returned to TV in two high-profile projects - first as Eric McCormack's boyfriend in the final season of "Will and Grace" (ABC, 1998-2006), and second, as the star of ABC's "Day Break" (2006-08). The "Groundhog Day"-like show, concerned a detective (Diggs) who is able to relive a day in which he is accused of murder in order to discover the true killer. The series made its debut in November of 2006 in the time slot afforded to "Lost" (ABC, 2004- ) while that series went on a mid-season hiatus.

Life Events

1994

Made Broadway debut as an understudy in Nicholas Hytner's staging of "Carousel"

1995

Breakthrough stage role, playing the landlord Benny, in the award-winning musical "Rent"

1996

Made primetime TV debut on an episode of "New York Undercover" (Fox)

1997

Had regular role of Sugar Hill on the CBS daytime drama "Guiding Light"; left show when cast in first film role

1998

Feature film debut, playing a Jamaican man who falls for an older woman in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"

1999

Cast in the ensembles of Doug Liman's "Go" and "The Wood"

1999

Landed starring role opposite Nia Long in "The Best Man"

2000

Returned to the NYC stage co-starring in the Manhattan Theater Club production of the musical "The Wild Party"

2000

Co-starred in "The Way of the Gun" with James Caan and Ryan Phillippe

2001

Had a recurring role on "Ally McBeal" (Fox) as Jackson Duper

2002

Supported Christian Bale and Emily Watson in "Equilibrium"

2002

Starred opposite Sanaa Lathan in the hip-hop inspired film "Brown Sugar"

2002

Appeared as 'The Band Leader' in the big-screen adaptation of the hit musical "Chicago"

2003

Acted opposite John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in John McTeirnan's military detective thriller "Basic"

2003

Teamed up with Jamie Kennedy for the comedy feature "Malibu's Most Wanted"

2004

Played a lawyer who inherits his deceased cousin's daughter on UPN's "Kevin Hill"

2005

Reprised the role of Benny the landlord for the big-screen adaptation of Jonathan Larson's Tony-winning musical "Rent"

2007

Co-starred with Ray Liotta in "Slow Burn"

2007

Cast as Dr. Sam Bennett, the Internal Medicine Specialist in the "Grey┬┐s Anatomy" spinoff series "Private Practice" (ABC)

Companions

Idina Menzel
Companion
Actor, singer. Met while appearing in "Rent" together; appeared together in the Off-Broadway production of "The Wild Party" by Andrew Lippa; engaged in 2002; married January 11, 2003 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Bibliography

Notes

When Diggs learned he landed the role in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back", he ran naked through the aisles of the Nederlander Theater where "Rent" was playing.

As Scott Diggs, he derived his nickname from Scott-TAYE!"