Laurence Fishburne


30 Jul 1961


Augusta, Georgia, USA


Laurence John Fishburne III


One of Hollywood's most talented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961, to Hattie Bell (Crawford), a teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer.

His mother transplanted her family to Brooklyn after his parents divorced. At the age of 10, he appeared in his first play, "In My Many Names and Days," at a cramped little theater space in Manhattan. He continued on but managed to avoid the trappings of a child star per se, considering himself more a working child actor at the time. Billing himself as Larry Fishburne during this early phase, he never studied or was trained in the technique of acting. In 1973, at the age of 12, Laurence won a recurring role on the daytime soap One Life to Live (1968) that lasted three seasons and subsequently made his film debut in the ghetto-themed Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975). At 14 Francis Ford Coppola cast him in Apocalypse Now (1979), which filmed for two years in the Phillippines. Laurence didn't work for another year and a half after that long episode. A graduate of Lincoln Square Academy, Coppola was impressed enough with Laurence to hire him again down the line with featured roles in Rumble Fish (1983), The Cotton Club (1984), and Gardens of Stone (1987).

Throughout the 1980s, he continued to build up his film and TV credit list with featured roles despite little fanfare. A recurring role as Cowboy Curtis on the kiddie show Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986) helped him through whatever lean patches there were at the time. With the new decade (1990s) came out-and-out stardom for Laurence. A choice lead in John Singleton's urban tale Boyz n the Hood (1991) catapulted him immediately into the front of the film ranks. Set in LA's turbulent South Central area, his potent role as a morally minded divorced father who strives to rise above the ignorance and violence of his surroundings, Laurence showed true command and the ability to hold up any film. On stage, he would become invariably linked to playwright August Wilson and his 20th Century epic African-American experience after starring for two years as the eruptive ex-con in "Two Training Running." For this powerful, mesmerizing performance, Laurence won nearly every prestigious theater award in the books (Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Theatre World). It was around the time of this career hallmark that he began billing himself as "Laurence" instead of "Larry." More awards and accolades came his way. In addition to an Emmy for the pilot episode of the series "Tribeca," he was nominated for his fine work in the quality mini-movies The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) and Miss Evers' Boys (1997).

On the larger screen, both Laurence and Angela Bassett were given Oscar nominations for their raw, seething portrayals of rock stars Ike and Tina Turner in the film What's Love Got to Do with It (1993). To his credit, he managed to take an extremely repellent character and make it a sobering and captivating experience. A pulp box-office favorite as well, he originated the role of Morpheus, Keanu Reeves' mentor, in the exceedingly popular futuristic sci-fi The Matrix (1999), best known for its ground-breaking special effects. He wisely returned for its back-to-back sequels. Into the millennium, Laurence extended his talents by making his screenwriting and directorial debut in Once in the Life (2000), in which he also starred. The film is based on his own critically acclaimed play "Riff Raff," which he staged five years earlier. In 1999, he scored a major theater triumph with a multi-racial version of "The Lion in Winter" as Henry II opposite Stockard Channing's Eleanor of Acquitaine. On film, Fishburne has appeared in a variety of interesting roles in not-always-successful films. Never less than compelling, a few of his more notable parts include an urban speed chess player in Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993); a military prisoner in Cadence (1990); a college professor in Singleton's Higher Learning (1995); a CIA operative in Bad Company (1995); the title role in Othello (1995) (he was the first black actor to play the part on film); a spaceship rescue team leader in the sci-fi horror Event Horizon (1997); a Depression-era gangster in Hoodlum (1997); a dogged police sergeant in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River (2003); a spelling bee coach in Akeelah and the Bee (2006); and prominent roles in the mainstream films Predators (2010) and Contagion (2011). He returned occasionally to the theatre. In April 2008, he played Thurgood Marshall in the one-man show "Thurgood" and won a Drama Desk Award. It was later transferred to the screen.

In the fall of 2008, Fishburne replaced William Petersen as the male lead investigator on the popular CBS drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), but left the show in 2011 to refocus on films and was in turn replaced by Ted Danson. Since then Fishburne has appeared in the Superman film Man of Steel (2013) as Daily Planet chief Perry White.

Fishburne has two children, Langston and Montana, from his first marriage to actress Hajna O. Moss. In September 2002, Fishburne married Cuban-American actress Gina Torres.

Actor ( 154 credits )

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) The Bowler King
Last Flag Flying (2017) Mulhall
Ruby in Murdertown (2017)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Perry White
Standoff (2016) Sade
Miles and Me (2015) (rumored)
The Muppets. (2015)  Laurence Fishburne (1 episode, 2015)
Late Show with Stephen Colbert (2015)  Himself (1 episode, 2016)
Jay Leno's Garage (2015)  Himself - Actor (1 episode, 2015)
Rudderless (2014) Del
The Signal (2014) Dr. Wallace Damon
Ride Along (2014) Omar
Black-ish (2014)  Pops (5 episodes, 2014)
Khumba (2013) Seko (voice)
The Colony (2013) Briggs
Man of Steel (2013) Perry White
Hannibal (2013)  Jack Crawford (26 episodes, 2013-2014)
The Queen Latifah Show (2013)  Himself - Black-ish (1 episode, 2014)
The Frame (2013)  Perry White (archive footage) (1 episode, 2013)
The Real (2013)  Himself - Black-ish (1 episode, 2014)
Comix from the Underground (2012)  Morpheus (archive footage) (1 episode, 2015)
Welcome to the Basement (2012)  Morpheus (archive footage) (2 episodes, 2012-2016)
Rotten Tomatoes (2012)  Himself (1 episode, 2016)
Contagion (2011) Dr. Ellis Cheever
A Man's Story (2010) Himself
Predators (2010) Noland
The Talk (2010)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
Top Gear USA (2010)  Himself (1 episode, 2013)
Conan (2010)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2016)
Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (2010) Narrator (voice)
Armored (2009) Baines
Black Water Transit (2009) Jack
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
ES.TV HD (2009)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2010)
Days of Wrath (2008) Mr. Stafford
21 (2008) Cole Williams
Elvis Mitchell: Under the Influence (2008) (1 episode, 2008)
The Death and Life of Bobby Z (2007) Tad Gruzsa
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) The Silver Surfer (voice)
TMNT (2007) Narrator (voice)
Cinemassacre's Monster Madness (2007)  Max (archive footage) (1 episode, 2011)
Up Close with Carrie Keagan (2007)  Himself (2 episodes, 2008-2009)
Storyville (2007)  Himself (archive footage) (uncredited) (1 episode, 201
Bobby (2006) Edward
Boffo! Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters (2006) Jason 'Furious' Styles (archive footage) (uncredited)
Mission: Impossible III (2006) Theodore Brassel
Five Fingers (2006) Ahmat
Akeelah and the Bee (2006) Dr. Larabee
Rachael Ray (2006)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
America's Game: The Superbowl Champions (2006)  Himself - Narrator (unknown episodes)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) Bear in Genaros Beer Commercial (voice) (uncredited)
Ashes and Snow (2005) Narrator
Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) Marion Bishop
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2005)  Himself (3 episodes, 2006-2009)
Made in Hollywood (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Iron Chef America: The Series (2005)  Actor / ... (1 episode, 2013)
The Hour (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2013)
Cinema mil (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Tvist (2005)  Casey Taylor (1 episode, 2005)
The N Word (2004) (archive footage)
CSI: NY (2004)  Dr. Raymond Langston (1 episode, 2009)
Tavis Smiley (2004)  Himself (3 episodes, 2005-2010)
The Matrix Reloaded Revisited (2004) Himself / Morpheus
The Soul of a Man (2003) Himself - Narrator
The Matrix Revolutions (2003) Morpheus
Mystic River (2003) Whitey Powers
The Matrix Reloaded (2003) Morpheus
A History of Sex (2003) Himself (archive footage)
Biker Boyz (2003) Smoke
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Shootout (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
What's Going On? (2003) (1 episode)
Filmland (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
CSI: Miami (2002)  Dr. Raymond Langston (1 episode, 2009)
Player$ (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Tinseltown TV (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Listen Up! Charles Barkley with Ernie Johnson (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2002)
Osmosis Jones (2001) Thrax (voice)
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Once in the Life (2000) 20 / 20 Mike
Michael Jordan to the Max (2000) Narrator (voice)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000)  Dr. Raymond Langston (61 episodes, 2008-2011)
106 & Park Top 10 Live (2000)  Himself (2 episodes, 2006)
The Matrix (1999) Morpheus
Inside Film Awards (1999)  Himself (1 episode, 2000)
The Magic Hour (1998)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
Welcome to Hollywood (1998) Himself
Hoodlum (1997) Bumpy Johnson
Event Horizon (1997) Captain Miller
The View (1997)  Himself (3 episodes, 2003-2009)
Corazón de... (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Fled (1996) Piper
The Rosie O'Donnell Show (1996)  Himself (2 episodes, 1999-2000)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Othello (1995) Othello
Just Cause (1995) Sheriff Tanny Brown
Bad Company (1995) Nelson Crowe
Higher Learning (1995) Professor Maurice Phipps
MADtv (1995)  Himself (1 episode, 1999)
Inside the Actors Studio (1994)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
Extra (1994)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2014)
Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) Vinnie
What's Love Got to Do with It (1993) Ike Turner
Intimate Portrait (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 1999)
Tribeca (1993)  Martin (1 episode, 1993)
Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Deep Cover (1992) Russell Stevens Jr. / John Hull (as Larry Fishburne)
HBO First Look (1992)  Himself (4 episodes, 1999-2005)
Getaway (1992)  Himself - Celebrity traveller (1 episode, 2008)
Gomorron (1992)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 1999-2003)
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991) Himself (as Larry Fishburne)
Boyz n the Hood (1991) Furious Styles (as Larry Fishburne)
Class Action (1991) Nick Holbrook (as Larry Fishburne)
Charlie Rose (1991)  Himself / ... (5 episodes, 1999-2008)
Cadence (1990) Stokes (as Larry Fishburne)
King of New York (1990) Jimmy Jump (as Larry Fishburne)
The Arsenio Hall Show (1989)  Himself (4 episodes, 1992-1994)
Red Heat (1988) Lt. Charlie Stobbs (as Larry Fishburne)
School Daze (1988) Dap
Live with Kelly and Michael (1988)  Himself / ... (6 episodes, 2005-2014)
The American Experience (1988)  Martin Delany (1 episode, 1991)
Cherry 2000 (1987) Glu Glu Lawyer (as Larry Fishburne)
Gardens of Stone (1987) Sgt. Flanagan (as Larry Fishburne)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) Max (as Larry Fishburne)
Band of the Hand (1986) Cream (as Larry Fishburne)
Quicksilver (1986) Voodoo (as Larry Fishburne)
Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986)  Cowboy Curtis (8 episodes, 1986-1990)
The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
The Color Purple (1985) Swain (as Larry Fishburne)
The Equalizer (1985)  Casey Taylor (1 episode, 1989)
Spenser: For Hire (1985)  David Mukende (1 episode, 1987)
The Cotton Club (1984) Bumpy Rhodes (as Larry Fishburne)
Miami Vice (1984)  Prison Guard Keller (1 episode, 1986)
Rumble Fish (1983) Midget (as Larry Fishburne)
Death Wish II (1982) Cutter (as Laurence Fishburne III)
Ebony/Jet Showcase (1982)  Himself (1 episode, 1992)
Hill Street Blues (1981)  Maurice Haynes (1 episode, 1986)
Entertainment Tonight (1981)  Himself (6 episodes, 2008-2009)
Strike Force (1981)  F.T. (1 episode, 1982)
American Playhouse (1981)  Jimbo Collins (1 episode, 1983)
Willie & Phil (1980) Wilson (as Lawrence Fishburne III)
The Six O'Clock Follies (1980)  Robby Robinson (unknown episodes)
A Rumor of War (1980)  Lightbulb (2 episodes, 1980)
Apocalypse Now (1979) Tyrone 'Clean' Miller (as Larry Fishburne)
Fast Break (1979) Street Kid (as Laurence Fishburne III)
Trapper John, M.D. (1979)  Hobie (1 episode, 1981)
Apocalypse Now: The Workprint (1978) Tyrone 'Clean' Miller (uncredited)
Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975) Wilford Robinson (as Laurence Fishburne III)
Good Morning America (1975)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2011)
M*A*S*H (1972)  Corporal Dorsey (1 episode, 1982)
Film '72 (1971)  Himself (1 episode, 1996)
One Life to Live (1968)  Dr. Joshua "Josh" Hall #1 (1973-1976) (unknown episode
Passengers (0)
The Last Full Measure (0) (rumored)

Producer ( 8 credits )

Ruby in Murdertown (2017) producer
Black-ish (2014) associate producer / executive producer (unknown episo
Black Water Transit (2009) executive producer
Five Fingers (2006) producer
Akeelah and the Bee (2006) producer
The Beltway (2005) producer
Once in the Life (2000) producer
Hoodlum (1997) executive producer

Writer ( 1 credit )

Once in the Life (2000) (screenplay)

Director ( 1 credit )

Once in the Life (2000)