Family & Companions
With his tall frame, athletic build and chiseled good looks, Shemar Moore was a perfect candidate for typical leading man roles, although his acting ability and natural charm allowed him to move beyond a limited career as a mere TV beefcake. A former model, Moore became known to legions of daytime television fans for his Emmy-winning performance as Malcolm Winters on the popular CBS serial "The Young and the Restless" (CBS, 1971- ). During that time, the ambitious performer also demonstrated his acting range in the historical drama "Mama Flora's Family" (CBS, 1998) and displayed versatility as the host of "Soul Train" (syndicated, 1971-2006) for a four-year stint beginning in 1999. Moore enjoyed a rare feature film hit as one of the leads of the relationship-themed drama "The Brothers" (2001), although a shot at primetime TV success on the superhero adventure series "Birds of Prey" (The WB, 2002-03) was met with little enthusiasm. Following a spate of forgettable direct-to-DVD thrillers and made-for-TV films, Moore landed another noteworthy role in writer-star Tyler Perry's "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" (2005). That same year, the actor took on a character that would likely supplant his soap opera role when he was cast as FBI agent Derek Morgan, a member of an elite profiling unit, on the hit crime drama "Criminal Minds" (2005- ). Moore's considerable contribution to the success of the long-running series further cemented his reputation as one of television's more durable performers.
Born Shemar Franklin Moore on April 20, 1970 in Oakland, CA, he was the son of Sherrod and Marilyn Wilson-Moore. A child of an interracial couple - his father was African-American; his mother, Caucasian - Moore spent his earliest years abroad, first in Denmark, in part due to a more open-minded European view of mixed marriages. When Moore's father left the family in 1972, his mother continued to travel wherever her work as a teacher took her - from Bahrain to Greece and, later, the Virgin Islands. Following a period spent in Brighton MA, Moore and his mother returned to California, settling down in the San Francisco Bay Area. Remaining there throughout the remainder of his adolescence, Moore attended schools in nearby Hillsborough before continuing on at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto. A natural athlete with an impressive six foot-plus frame, the teen excelled in baseball to such a degree that he found himself courted by the majors prior to graduating from high school in 1988. Heeding the sage advice of his mother, Moore instead chose to first pursue a college education and enrolled at Santa Clara University, where he played baseball while majoring in communications and theater. Although initially wary of the profession, Moore's need for tuition soon outweighed any objections and he began to pick up modeling work for such clientele as Macy's and Sears. When the onset of tendinitis in his arm and knee put an end to any plans in professional baseball, Moore refocused on his burgeoning career as a model after receiving his degree in 1993.
From Santa Clara, Moore headed east to New York City, where he began modeling in earnest. After a bit of early resistance, he eventually managed to book a spot for a segment in the glossy men's magazine GQ, which was spotted by a keen-eyed talent agent who saw a potential star in the making. In 1994 Moore made the return trip to California, where he read for a newly-created character on one of daytime television's most popular soaps. After wowing the producers, Moore made his TV debut in 1995 as wily shutterbug Malcolm Winters on "The Young and the Restless" (CBS, 1973- ). An audience favorite, he would play Winters continuously for the next eight years. Despite the demanding schedule of his day job, Moore also found time to moonlight with guest spots on a variety of primetime series, including "Living Single" (Fox, 1993-98), "The Jamie Foxx Show" (The WB, 1996-2001) and "Arli$$" (HBO, 1996-2002). Looking to segue to feature-length work, Moore picked up a small part in the well-received indie romantic comedy "Hav Plenty" (1998) and co-starred with Ernie Hudson, Donnie Wahlberg and Nia Long in the music biz thriller "Butter" (HBO, 1998). Moore's performance that same year as an affluent but amoral cad on the miniseries "Mama Flora's Family" (CBS, 1998), based on the historical fiction novel by Alex Haley, earned him high marks as well. As the millennium drew to a close, Moore expanded his professional résumé by stepping into Don Cornelius' legendary shoes by taking over as the host of the long-running music program "Soul Train" (syndicated, 1971-2006).
After garnering several nominations over the previous five years for his portrayal of Winters, Moore at last took home a statuette for Best Supporting Male Actor at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2000. That same year, the increasingly popular actor demonstrated a bit of comic ability opposite another TV heartthrob, John Stamos, as a handsome but dim unemployed actor in the comedy-romance "How to Marry a Billionaire: A Christmas Tale" (Fox, 2000). Moore finally made the transition to feature film leading man in "The Brothers" (2001), a modestly successful dramedy co-starring Morris Chestnut, D.L. Hughley and Bill Bellamy. Directed by Gary Hardwick, it took the road less traveled by examining the ups-and-downs of relationships through the male perspective, with Moore playing a former playboy struggling with the concept of tying the knot. In 2002, Moore left "The Young and the Restless" in order to pursue other projects in primetime television and film. First up, was a regular cast role as the police back-up for a trio of super heroines (Ashley Scott, Dina Meyer and Rachel Skarsten) on the short-lived Batman spin-off series "Birds of Prey" (The WB, 2002-03). Unfortunately, the adventure series never made it to a second season and after stepping down from hosting duties on "Soul Train" in 2003, Moore found himself unemployed.
While looking for that one project that would take his career to the next level, Moore kept busy with a turn opposite Vivica A. Fox in the direct-to-DVD erotic thriller "Motives" (2004) and a supporting role in "Reversible Errors" (CBS, 2004), a mystery-drama starring Tom Selleck and William H. Macy. That same year, he returned to "The Young and the Restless" as Malcolm Winters, albeit in a recurring capacity, with the stint ending by the fall of 2005. In theaters, Moore enjoyed a prominent part in the screen adaptation of Tyler Perry's play "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" (2005), bringing his suave charm to the role of a supportive and dependable man enamored with the film's romantically challenged heroine (Kimberly Elise). It was, however, back on the small screen that Moore at last landed his career-defining role when he was cast as the hot-tempered FBI agent Derek Morgan on the hit procedural drama "Criminal Minds" (2005- ). While employing several traits similar to Moore's personal background - interracial parents and a promising college sports career - it also gave the actor the chance to push himself as a performer. In one ongoing subplot, it was revealed that much of the agent's latent anger issues stemmed from sexual abuse he endured at the hands of a trusted mentor in his youth. An obvious favorite with the show's female fan base, audiences eagerly awaited the resolution to a long evolving relationship between Morgan and fellow agent Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), while an article in TV Guide named Moore's character one of "TV's Sexiest Crime Fighters" in 2012.
By Bryce P. Coleman
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Family settled in Denmark; learned Danish as a first language (dates approximate)
Starred as Malcolm Winters on "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)
Was featured in the music video for "How Many Ways" sung by Toni Braxton
Film acting debut, "Hav Plenty"
Co-starred in "Butter"; debuted on HBO in lieu of a theatrical release
Cast in featured role in the CBS miniseries "Mama Flora's Family"
Served as host of the syndicated music series "Soul Train"
Co-starred in "The Brothers"
Toured the USA in the musical play "The Fabric of a Man" by David E Talbert
Starred in the feature adaption of "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" based on a play of the same name written by Tyler Perry who also co-stares
Starred as Agent Derek Morgan on the CBS drama "Criminal Minds"
Starred as Hondo on "S.W.A.T." series adaptation