Actor, writer, producer, director. Laurence Fishburne was born to be an entertainer and has been acclaimed for his work on stage, screen, and television.
Born in Augusta, Georgia, and raised by a single mother, Laurence Fishburne knew from a very young age that acting is what he wanted to do with his life. Part of that self-realization came from his mother who encouraged him whole-heartedly to pursue an acting career if that was what he wanted to do. His first acting job was at the age of 12 when he portrayed Joshua Hall in the ABC soap opera One Life To Live in 1973. He later auditioned for the role of Michael Evans on Good Times, but lost the part to Ralph Carter. Undeterred, he continued improving his performance techniques by attending New York's High School of the Performing Arts.
In 1976, he managed to land the role of "Mr. Clean" in Francis Ford Coppola's Viet Nam era masterpiece Apocalypse Now by lying about his age. The roll called for a 17 year old actor, but Laurence was only 14 at the time. However, due to production delays, he had turned 17 by the time filming had begun.
In the years that followed, Laurence had played guest starring roles on several television shows (as Larry Fishburne) including The Six O'Clock Follies, Trapper John M.D. and M*A*S*H. After meeting Paul Reubens at The Groundlings Theatre, a stage group that Laurence participated in, the two became fast friends and he was offered the role Cowboy Curtis on Paul's Saturday morning children's show, Pee-Wee's Playhouse.
His film career began to flourish with supporting roles in films like A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Red Heat and King of New York, but it was his commanding performance in John Singleton's Boyz in the Hood as newcomer Cuba Gooding Jr.'s single father trying to raise his son in Los Angeles' crime-ridden ghettos that catapulted him onto Hollywood's A-list.
His success in Boyz in the Hood led to his Academy Award nominated portrayal of Ike Turner in the biopic What's Love Got To Do With It?, the story of Ike and Tina Turner and their tumultuous relationship. With his name and credentials now firmly established among the Hollywood elite, he discontinued using the name "Larry" and returned to using his full given name "Laurence". He felt that "Laurence" has a greater feel of dignity to it and that "Larry" was too familiar. His career continued to thrive with roles in major Hollywood titles such as Higher Learning, Just Cause and Event Horizon. In 1995, he landed the role that gave him an overwhelming sense of pride. He played the title role of "Othello", a film adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Although the play had been adapted for the silver screen before, the lead role had always been played by Caucasian actors with dark makeup on. His performance was the first ever by an actor of African ancestry as the play originally called for.
But his most recognizable role was yet to come.
In the late 1990s, Andy and Larry Wachowski were preparing to film a revolutionary new science fiction film called The Matrix. They knew that they would have to cast someone with an impressive and imposing screen presence to play the role of "Morpheus", the philosophical freedom fighter searching for the prophesied "One" who can save the human race from the machines who had enslaved them. At first, they had wanted to cast Gary Oldman and later turned their attention to Samuel L. Jackson. When Laurence heard about the role and auditioned for it, the Wachowski brothers knew they had their man as soon as Laurence put on the round-lensed sunglasses and black trench coat.
In his personal life, Laurence is very active with humanitarian causes. In addition to various celebrity endorsed charities, he is an American goodwill ambassador to UNICEF and he currently resides in New Rochelle, NY. He married actress Hajna Moss in 1985 and they two children together: their son, Langston, and their daughter, Montana. The couple divorced in 1990. Laurence remarried in 2002 to actress Gina Torres and they have a daughter, Delilah, who was born in June of 2007.