Laurence John Fishburne III (born July 30, 1961) is an American film and stage actor, playwright, director, and producer. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Morpheus in the Matrix science fiction film trilogy, as Cowboy Curtis on the 1980's television show Pee-wee's Playhouse, and as singer-musician Ike Turner in the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It. He became the first African American to portray Othello in a motion picture by a major studio when he appeared in Oliver Parker's 1995 film adaptation of the Shakespeare play. From 2008 to 2011, he starred as Dr. Raymond Langston on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Fishburne has won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in Two Trains Running (1992) and an Emmy Award for Drama Series Guest Actor for his performance in TriBeCa (1993).
Fishburne was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of Hattie Bell (née Crawford), a junior high school mathematics and science teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer. His parents divorced during his childhood, and he moved with his mother to Brooklyn, New York, where he was raised. Fishburne's father saw him once a month. He is a graduate of Lincoln Square Academy in New York, which closed in the 1980s.
Fishburne started acting at age eleven (according to his January 13, 2012 interview on The View which commemorated One Life to Live) getting his first job in 1973 as a short-lived member of the Mod Squad followed by portraying Joshua Hall on the ABC soap opera, One Life to Live. He was initially cast in the hit television series Good Times, but the role was eventually given to Ralph Carter. Fishburne's most memorable childhood role was in Cornbread, Earl and Me in which he played a young boy who witnessed the police shooting of a popular high school basketball star. Fishburne later earned a supporting role in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, in which he played a 17-year-old sailor nicknamed 'Mr. Clean'. When production began in March 1976 he was just fourteen, apparently lying about his age to get the part. Filming took so long that he was seventeen upon its completion. Fishburne was also a guest star on Mash as "Corporal Dorsey" in "The Tooth Shall Set You Free" (episode 1014).
Fishburne spent much of the 1980s in and out of television and periodically on stage. In the early 1980s, he worked as a bouncer at punk rock clubs. He had a minor role in the critically acclaimed Steven Spielberg film The Color Purple. He also had a role in the 1984 movie The Cotton Club. Fishburne had a recurring role as Cowboy Curtis on Paul Reubens' CBS children's television show Pee-wee's Playhouse. He also appeared in the M*A*S*H episode, "The Tooth Shall Set You Free", as Corporal Dorsey (billed as Larry Fishburne in the credits). In Spenser: For Hire, he was a guest star for the 2nd season episode "Personal Demons". He appeared as a thug named Cutter in Death Wish 2 (1982). He also appeared alongside Kevin Bacon in Quicksilver. His stage work during the 1980s included Short Eyes (1984), and Loose Ends (1987), both produced at Second Stage Theatre in New York City. Also in 1987 he played a part in the third Nightmare On Elm Street film as a hospital orderly. Fishburne played as Lt. Charlie Stobbs (under Larry Fishburne) in Red Heat (1988) beside Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi. Fishburne also starred as "Dap" in Spike Lee's School Daze (1988). Fishburne's character was the depiction of an African American, culturally inclined college student at an HBCU (Historically Black College/University).
In 1990, he played Jimmy Jump in the controversial King of New York, and in 1991, Fishburne starred in Boyz n the Hood. The following year, in 1992, he won a Tony Award for his stage performance in the August Wilson play, Two Trains Running and an Emmy Award for his performance in the opening episode, "The Box," of the short-lived anthology series television drama TriBeCa. He also starred in "Deep Cover" along side Jeff Goldblum. In 1993, he received his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Ike Turner in What's Love Got to Do With It. In an 1995 American drama film, starring an ensemble cast, Laurence Fishburne won an Image Award for "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture" for his performance in Higher Learning as West Indian Professor Maurice Phipps. He played the title role in Othello, the second African American actor, behind Paul Robeson to be so cast. In 1997, Fishburne starred in the science fiction horror Event Horizon alongside Sam Neill. Fishburne is perhaps best known for his role as Morpheus, the hacker-mentor of Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, in the 1999 blockbuster science fiction film, The Matrix, he gained a significant amount of weight for the following sequels to give the character more screen presence.
Fishburne provided the voice of Thrax in Osmosis Jones in 2001. Fishburne reprised his role as Morpheus in the Matrix sequels, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions in 2003. He briefly featured as a stretcher-bearer in one version of the video for The Spooks' song "Things I've Seen" (2000) and appeared with Tom Cruise as Theodore Brassell, IMF superior of Cruise's character in Mission: Impossible III.
Fishburne has worked with actress Angela Bassett on four projects. He said that "An electrifying thing happens when the two of us work together. I haven't experienced it with anyone else. A freedom happens when we work together."Template:Cite quote In 2006, they appeared onstage in a Pasadena Playhouse production of August Wilson's Fences.
He provided the voice of the narrator in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) movie, which was released on March 23, 2007. The same year, he provided the voice of the Silver Surfer in 2007 film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
On February 24, 2007, Fishburne was honored with the Harvard Foundation's Artist of the Year award at the annual show Cultural Rhythms. He received this honor for his prowess as an actor and entertainer and for his humanitarian pursuits. Fishburne is a UNICEF ambassador.The mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mayor Kenneth Reeves awarded him the key to the city and declared February 24 "Laurence Fishburne" day in the city of Cambridge.
In April 2008, Fishburne returned to the stage in the Broadway production of Thurgood, a new play by George Stevens, Jr. Thurgood opened at the Booth Theatre on April 30, 2008. He won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show for his performance.
On August 18, 2008, it was reported that Laurence Fishburne would join the cast of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation after William Petersen (aka Gil Grissom) left the series. John Malkovich was also considered for the role prior to the announcement. Fishburne joined the show on the ninth episode of the 9th season as a college.The character was introduced as a consultant on a case ("19 Down"), who winds up joining the CSI team ("One to Go").
In May 2009, Fishburne performed on-stage in the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Fishburne also starred in a one-man play about Thurgood Marshall at the Kennedy Center.
On June 7, 2011, Fishburne announced that he was leaving C.S.I. to return to movies and theatre, opting not to renew his contract and would not appear in Season 12.
On August 2, 2011 it was announced that Fishburne had been cast in the role of Perry White in the Christopher Nolan produced, Zack Snyder directed Superman reboot Man of Steel. Lois Lane and Clark Kent just got their boss: Laurence Fishburne will play Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White in Man of Steel, EW has learned exclusively. White has traditionally been a hard-charging, old fashioned newspaperman, who relies on his ace reporters, Clark and Lois, to get the big scoop. Jackie Cooper played White in the Christopher Reeve era Superman films, and Frank Langella took on the role in director Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns in 2006.}} This will mark the first time that the character has been played by an African American actor.
On December 2015 he appears in the 2017 neo-noir action thriller film John Wick: Chapter 2 as The Bowery King, in his first collaboration with Keanu Reeves since The Matrix trilogy. Fishburne will appear later in the year in the upcoming American comedy-drama Last Flag Flying as the character Mulhall.
Fishburne married actress Hajna O. Moss in 1985, in New York. They have two children together: a son, Langston, born in 1987 and a daughter, Montana, born in 1991. Hajna and Laurence divorced in the 1990s. In 2010, it was reported that Fishburne had cut ties with his daughter Montana Fishburne after she started starring in hardcore pornographic films.
Fishburne met actress Gina Torres while filming The Matrix Reloaded. He and Torres were engaged in February 2001 and married on September 22, 2002, at The Cloisters museum in New York City. On January 8, 2007, Fishburne's spokesman Alan Nierob announced the couple were expecting their first child together. Laurence Fishburne and wife Gina Torres are expecting their first child, his publicist said. A daughter, Delilah, was born to the couple in June 2007.
Fishburne lives in Hollywood and also maintains a residence in New York City, in the Castle Village Co-Op in the Hudson Heights section of Washington Heights. He is a big fan of Paulo Coelho and plans to produce a movie based on the novel The Alchemist.
Stage and screen credits
- Eden (1976)
- Short Eyes (1985)
- Urban Blight (1988)
- Loose Ends (1988)
- Two Trains Running (1992)
- Riff Raff (1995)
- The Lion in Winter (1999)
- Fences (2006)
- Without Walls (2006)
- Thurgood (2008)
- National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in Washington, D.C. (2009)
Awards and nominations
|1994||Oscar||Best Actor in a Leading Role||What's Love Got to Do with It||nom|
|Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films|
|2000||Saturn Award||Best Supporting Actor||The Matrix||nom|
|Acapulco Black Film Festival|
|1997||Black Film Award||Best Actor||Hoodlum||nom|
|2004||BET Award||Best Actor||The Matrix Reloaded
The Matrix Revolutions
|Black Movie Awards|
|2006||Black Movie Award||Outstanding Motion Picture (Producer)||Akeelah and the Bee||nom|
|2006||Black Movie Award||Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role||Akeelah and the Bee||won|
|Black Reel Awards|
|2000||Black Reel Award||Best Actor||The Matrix||nom|
|2007||Black Reel Award||Best Supporting Actor||Akeelah and the Bee||nom|
|2007||Black Reel Award||Best Motion Picture (Producer)||Akeelah and the Bee||nom|
|MTV Movie Awards|
|2000||MTV Movie Award||Best Fight Template:Small||The Matrix||won|
|2000||MTV Movie Award||Best On-Screen Duo Template:Small||The Matrix||nom|
|2011||Outstanding Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Special||Thurgood||nom|
|1997||Outstanding Made for Television Movie||Miss Evers' Boys||won|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Special||Miss Evers' Boys||nom|
|1996||Outstanding Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Special||The Tuskegee Airmen||nom|
|1993||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||TriBeCa||won|
|NAACP Image Award|
|2011||Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||nom|
|2010||Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||nom|
|2009||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||nom|
|1999||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Television Movie or Mini-Series||Always Outnumbered||nom|
|1998||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Television Movie or Mini-Series||Miss Evers' Boys||won|
|1996||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Television Movie or Mini-Series||The Tuskegee Airmen||won|
|NAACP Theatre Awards|
|2007||Best Male Lead – Equity||Without Walls||won|
|2005||Lifetime Achievement Award||N/A||won|
|1992||Best Actor in a Featured Role||Two Trains Running||won|