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Laurence John Fishburne III[1] (born July 30, 1961) 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, 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 adaption of the Shakespearean play. Currently, he stars as Dr. Raymond Langston on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Early years

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.[2] 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.[3][4] He is a graduate of Lincoln Square Academy in New York, which closed in the 1980s.



Fishburne started acting at age twelve, 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 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 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). In Spenser: For Hire, he was a guest star for the 2nd Season Episode "Demons". He appeared as 'Cutter' (a thug) in Death Wish 2 (1982). 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 "Dap" in Spike Lee's 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. 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.


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."[cite this quote] In 2006 they appeared onstage in a Pasadena Playhouse production of August Wilson's Fences.[5]

He provided the voice of the narrator in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) movie, which was released on March 23, 2007.[6] 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.[7] 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. [8]

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.,[12]


Fishburne starred in 2010's Predators.[13] He is set to co-star with Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, and Marion Cotillard in Steven Soderbergh's Contagion.[14]

Personal life

Fishburne married actress Hajna O. Moss in 1985[citation needed], in New York. They have two children together: a son, Langston, born in 1987[citation needed], and a daughter, Montana, born in 1991[citation needed], a pornographic actress.[15] Fishburne is now married to actress Gina Torres, whom he wed on September 22, 2002. They have a child, Delilah (born in 2007), and live in Hollywood.[16] He also maintains a residence in New York City, in the Castle Village Co-Op in the Hudson Heights section of Washington Heights.[17] Fishburne 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)



  • One Life to Live TV series (1973–1976)
  • Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975)
  • Fast Break (1979)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Willie & Phil (1980)
  • Death Wish II (1982)
  • Rumble Fish (1983)
  • For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story (1983)
  • The Cotton Club (1984)
  • Attack Me With Your Love by Cameo music video (1985)
  • The Color Purple (1985)
  • Miami Vice (1986)
  • Quicksilver (1986)
  • Band of the Hand (1986)
  • Come to Me by Robert Brookins music video (1987)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
  • Gardens of Stone (1987)
  • Cherry 2000 (1987)
  • Red Heat (1988)
  • School Daze (1988)
  • Cadence (1990)
  • King of New York (1990)
  • Decoration Day (1990)
  • Class Action (1991)
  • Boyz n the Hood (1991)
  • Deep Cover (1992)
  • TriBeCa TV series (1993)
  • What's Love Got to Do with It (1993)
  • Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
  • Alien Warrior (1994)
  • Higher Learning (1995)
  • Othello (1995)
  • Just Cause (1995)
  • Bad Company (1995)
  • The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

  • Fled (1996)
  • Miss Evers' Boys (1997)
  • Hoodlum (1997)
  • Event Horizon (1997)
  • Always Outnumbered (1998)
  • The Matrix (1999)
  • Once in the Life (2000)
  • Michael Jordan to the Max (2000)
  • Osmosis Jones (2001)
  • Biker Boyz (2003)
  • The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
  • Mystic River (2003)
  • The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
  • Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
  • True Crime: New York City (Video Game, 2005)
  • Five Fingers (2006)
  • Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
  • Mission: Impossible III (2006)
  • Bobby (2006)
  • The Death and Life of Bobby Z (2007)
  • TMNT (2007)
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
  • 21 (2008)
  • Tortured (2008)
  • Days of Wrath (2008)
  • Armored (2009)
  • Predators (2010)
  • Black Water Transit (TBA)
  • Pee-wee's Playhouse Cowboy Curtis (1986–1990)
  • M*A*S*H Corporal Dorsey, One episode, (1982)
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Dr. Raymond Langston, CSI: Level 2 (2008–present)

Awards and nominations


Academy Awards
Year Category Film Result
1994 Best Actor in a Leading Role What's Love Got to Do with It Nominated
Black Movie Awards
Year Category Film Result
2006 Outstanding Motion Picture (Producer) Akeelah and the Bee Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Akeelah and the Bee Won
Black Reel Awards
Year Category Film Result
2007 Best Supporting Actor Akeelah and the Bee Nominated
Best Motion Picture (Producer) Akeelah and the Bee Nominated
2000 Best Actor The Matrix Nominated


Emmy Awards
Year Category Title Result
1997 Outstanding Made for Television Movie Miss Evers' Boys Won
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Special Miss Evers' Boys Nominated
1996 Outstanding Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Special The Tuskegee Airmen Nominated
1993 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series TriBeCa Won


NAACP Theatre Awards
Year Category Play Result
2007 Best Male Lead - Equity Without Walls Won
2005 Lifetime Achievement Award N/A Won
Tony Awards
Year Category Play Result
1992 Best Actor in a Featured Role Fences Won


  1. "Laurence Fishburne". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  2. "Laurence Fishbourne". Filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  3. "Laurence Fishbourne: Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  4. Paul Chutkow. "Laurence Fishbourne: Flying Fish". Cigar Aficionado. Retrieved 2007-05-24. 
  5. Terri Roberts (2006). "Fences". TheaterMania. Retrieved 2007-02-01.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  6. Heather Newgen (25 January 2007). "TMNT Studio Visit". ComingSoon. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  7. "Harvard Foundation names UNICEF Ambassador Laurence Fishburne 2007 Artist of the Year". UNICEF USA. 20 February 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  8. Laurence Fishburne: Biography from
  9. Staff writers (24 October 2007). "Laurence Fishburne is 'Thurgood' on Broadway Spring 2008". Broadway World. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  10. Laurence Fishburne & John Malkovich Investigated For 'CSI' Role - Starpulse Entertainment News Blog
  11. Laurence Fishburne joins CSI
  12. PBS Memorial Day Concert
  13. Meet Laurence Fishburne as the Unstoppable Noland in New 'Predators' Character Profile
  14. Jude Law Drops some hints about his Contagion Character
  15. "Laurence Fishburne Daughter Inspired by Kim Kardashian". National Ledger. August 1, 2010. Retrieved August 5, 2010. 
  16. Gary Brumburgh (2008). "Biography of Lawrence Fishburne". IMDb. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  17. Staff writers (7 March 2008). "Hudson Heights delivers". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 

External links

  1. REDIRECT Template:EmmyAward DramaGuestActor 1975–2000
  2. REDIRECT Template:TonyAward PlayFeaturedActor 1976–2000

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