Laurence Fishburne Biography
Laurence John Fishburne III is an American actor of screen and stage, as well as a playwright, director, and producer. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Morpheus in the Matrix science fiction film trilogy, Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character's father Furious Styles in Boyz N The Hood, "Cowboy Curtis" in the US television series Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and for his portrayal of singer-musician Ike Turner in the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It. Currently, he stars as Dr. Raymond Langston on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Fishburne was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of Hattie Bell 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.
Career - 1970s
Fishburne started acting at age twelve getting his first job in 1973 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 already seventeen upon its completion.
Fishburne spent much of the 1980s in and out of television and periodically on stage. In the early 80s Fishburne had a very minor role in the critically acclaimed Steven Spielberg film The Color Purple. Fishburne had a recurring role as Cowboy Curtis with Paul Reubens' character, Pee Wee Herman in the 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).
His stage work during the 1980s included playing the role as 'Cutter'(a thug) in Death Wish 2 1982,Short Eyes in 1984 , and Loose Ends in 1987 . Both were 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 one of the medics in the hospital. Additionally, Lawrence Fishburne played the leading role of "Dap" in Spike Lee's second theatrical release entitled School Daze (1988). Offering a riveting performance, 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. In 1993, he received his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Ike Turner in What's Love Got to Do With It. 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.
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." They both plan to work with each other in the future. In 2006 he appeared on stage with Angela Bassett in a Pasadena Playhouse production of August Wilson's, Fences.
More recently, he provided the voice of the narrator in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) movie, released 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 the city 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., directed by Leonard Foglia. Thurgood opened at the Booth Theatre on April 30, 2008, with previews starting on April 12, 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 professor and former pathologist whose area of expertise involves some criminals' predisposition to commit acts of violence. The character was introduced as a consultant on a case ("19 Down"), who winds up joining the CSI team ("One to Go").
According to interviews with producers when the announcement broke, his character also has the genetic profile identified in serial killers, a fact which the character will keep to himself, but is something that underpins his desire to understand why some criminals can be so violent. Fishburne stated he was ecstatic about joining the show and thrilled with the chance to portray such a complex character. He appeared as a regular cast member on the episode first aired on CBS on January 22, 2009. With the tenth season, he became the third actor involved in the CSI franchise to appear on all three shows, the first from the original series to do so, and the second to play the same character in all three programs - Carmine Giovinazzo and David Caruso have both appeared on all three programs, with Caruso appearing as Horatio Caine on all three programs.
In May 2009, Fishburne performed on-stage in the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in Washington, D.C..
Fishburne married actress Hajna Moss in 1985, in Ethiopia. They have two children together: a son, Langston, born in 1987, and a daughter, Montana, born in 1991. Fishburne and Moss divorced in the mid-1990s. Fishburne is now married to actress Gina Torres, whom he wed on September 20, 2002. They have a child, Delilah (born in 2007), and live in New Rochelle, New York. He also maintains a residence in New York City, in the Castle Village section of Washington Heights. Fishburne is a big fan of Paulo Coelho and plans to produce a movie based on the novel The Alchemist.