Laurence John Fishburne III, who born July 30, 1961, is an American actor, playwright, producer, screenwriter, and film director. He is best-known for portraying Morpheus in The Matrix trilogy, Jason “Furious” Styles in the 1991 drama film Boyz n the Hood, Tyrone “Mr. Clean” Miller in the 1979 war film Apocalypse Now, and most recently “The Bowery King” in the John Wick film series.
Fishburne was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of Hattie Bell (née Crawford), junior high school mathematics and science teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer. His parents divorced during his childhood. He then moved with his mother to Brooklyn, New York, where he was spent his childhood. His father saw him once a month. Fishburne graduated from the Lincoln Square Academy in New York, which closed in the early 1980s.
He began his acting career very early. At the age of 10, he debuted on the stage of New York theater, a year later he played one of the roles in the series “One Life To Live”, and when he was 12 years old, he appeared in the first cinema movie “Cornbread, Earl and Me”. When he learned that Francis Ford Coppola was looking for actors for his new movie “Apocalypse Now,” he volunteered to cast. He was only 14 then, so he had to lie to the commission and say that he was older. It paid off. He received a role in the film and went to the Philippines for 18 months, where the film was to be shot. For young Fishburne, it was an unforgettable experience. He had the opportunity to work alongside such actors as Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen and Dennis Hopper. This film initiated Coppola’s collaboration with Fishburn, who also starred in several others of the director’s movies: “Rumble Fish”, “Cotton Club” and “Gardens of Stone”.
In 1991, the actor appeared in the Oscar-nominated film “Boyz n the hood”, which brought him excellent reviews. However, the real breakthrough in Fishburne’s career was the role of Ike Turner in the movie “Tina”, written about the life of the singer Tina Turner. A year later, as the first African American in the history of American cinema, he played the title character in the film adaptation of “Othello” by William Shakespeare. In the same year, the actor made his debut as a theater director, staging in New York the play “Riff Raff”. His greatest fame so far has brought him the role of Morpheus in the science fiction trilogy – “The Matrix”, “Matrix Reloaded” and “Matrix Revolutions”.
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.
“The importance cannot be underestimated, because this is a movie that black people, people of African decent, people of the African diaspora have been waiting to see for 100 years,”
“We’ve been waiting to see ourselves portrayed this way,” he said. “Sometimes black shit is just the sexiest shit. This is one of those times. You look at the screen and you think, damn, that is some sexy shit.”
“My mother was someone who wanted to be in showbusiness and she recognised I had a gift for the dramatic arts. When I was eight or nine she was like, “Do you want to audition for X,Y, or Z?” but I said no. She was persistent and finally, she said that if I’d auditioned for a certain part and had gotten it I’d have made $300 a week. And I was like, “Why the fuck didn’t you tell me that then?” So the next time I auditioned, I got the job and I fell in love with acting.”
“Oh Gosh [fame] it’s wonderful. I’m very lucky to get to do what I do. People enjoy what I do and that’s the goal at the end of the day. The star stuff is that, it’s star stuff. I’m a human being first and I’m an artist and I’m a dad. All those things are equally as important if not more so.”
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