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Foxx, Jamie

Jamie Foxx

December 13, 1967 • Terrell, Texas

Actor, comedian, musician

Although he worked as an actor and comedian for many years, it wasn't until 2005 that Jamie Foxx became hugely famous. In the 1990s Foxx was primarily known as a stand-up comic with an uncanny knack for mimicking almost anyone. He was also a regular on television, appearing on the comedy-sketch show In Living Color and starring in his own self-titled top-rated sitcom from 1996 to 2001. Foxx eventually branched out into film, at first appearing in low-budget, forgettable fare like 1997's Booty Call. But there was more to Foxx than slapstick, and he proved it beginning in 1999 with a head-turning performance in director Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday. In 2005 Foxx made unlikely Hollywood history by becoming the first African American performer to be nominated for two Academy Awards in the same year. He was in the running for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the suspense-thriller Collateral; he was also a contender for Best Actor for his performance in the movie Ray. The thirty-seven-year-old Foxx nabbed the Best Actor Oscar, making him only the third African American male to take home the coveted gold statue.

Bittersweet childhood

America's foremost funnyman and Oscar winner had a bittersweet childhood. Jamie Foxx was born Eric Bishop on December 13, 1967, in the tiny town of Terrell, Texas, population fourteen thousand. His father and mother, Shaheed Abdullah and Louise Annette Talley, were very young when they had their son and soon felt overwhelmed by the burden of parenthood. When Foxx was just seven months old he was officially adopted by his maternal grandparents, Mark and Esther Talley. Esther Talley had a profound impact on her adopted son, and in interviews Foxx credits her as being his inspiration. "My grandmother was 60 years old when she adopted me," Foxx remarked to Josh Tyrangiel of Time. "She ran a nursery school and had a library in the house. She saw me reading early, saw I was smart and believed I was born to achieve truly special things."

" Everything is right under your finger in life; all you have to do is take time out to find which notes to playto make music. The music will be your life. You just have to put the work to it."

A devout Christian, Talley did not allow nonreligious music in her house, but she did push Foxx to take piano lessons from an early age. The boy showed such talent that when he was thirteen years old he was making up to three hundred dollars a month playing piano at events around town. By the time he was fifteen, Foxx was musical director and choir leader at Terrell's New Hope Baptist Church. The budding musician also showed he had talent on the gridiron. In high school he played quarterback on the Terrell Tiger's football team, and he became a local hero when he was the first player to pass for more than one thousand yards. Foxx was a shining star, but his biological parents did not take part in the glory. Although they lived only twenty-eight miles away in Dallas, they rarely visited their son. "I was making the Dallas Morning News, and my father never came down," Foxx told Tyrangiel, "That's weird. That absence made me angry. It made me want to be something."

After high school the talented teen won a piano scholarship from the United States International University in San Diego, California. During the week, Foxx studied under Russian teachers alongside top phenomenons from around the world. He spent his weekends in Los Angeles shopping for a record deal and haunting local comedy clubs. In 1989, Foxx felt confident enough to try his hand at stand-up. He started out doing dead-on impersonations of some of his favorite comedians, such as Bill Cosby (1937–) and Richard Pryor (1940–), who he had watched on television while growing up. Soon Foxx became a regular on the comedy club open-mic circuit, and he dropped out of college to pursue a career full time. To make ends meet, he worked part-time as a janitor and as a shoe salesman at Thom McCann.

Trades keyboard for comedy

One night Foxx literally had a life-altering experience when he signed up to be a fill-in at a comedy club called the Improv in Santa Monica, California. A television crew was on-hand filming an HBO special, and to ensure that he would be called on, the ambitious comedian wrote four different made-up names on the sign-up sheet—all girls' names, since he had noticed that girls tended to be chosen by the emcees. When Jamie Foxx was called, the name Eric Bishop was relegated to the past. "Eric Bishop is Clark Kent," Foxx told Josh Young of Variety, "Jamie Foxx is Superman." The newly named Foxx became successful enough to quit his day jobs and devote himself to performing seven nights a week.

After making it on the local scene, it was time for Superman to take the next step and conquer television. In 1991, along with hundreds of other hopefuls, Foxx auditioned for a new TV series called In Living Color, a comedy-sketch program that was a launching pad for other top-notch performers, including Jim Carrey (1962–), Jennifer Lopez (1970–), and Damon (1961–) and Keenan Ivory Wayans (c. 1958–). Foxx appeared on the critically acclaimed show until 1994, when the series was cancelled, and became known not only for his impersonations, but for his wildly original and outrageous characters, especially one called Ugly Wanda.

While working on In Living Color, Foxx branched out into other areas of television. He played a recurring character named Crazy George on the Fox sitcom Roc; he was also a featured performer on various network comedy specials. Foxx was even asked by HBO to star in his own one-man comedy concert, which aired in 1993 as Jamie Foxx: Straight From the Foxxhole. Foxx was on such a roll that after Color was cancelled he went into the recording studio and produced a twelve-track rhythm and blues album called Peep This. He not only produced the 1995 album, Foxx also wrote and sang each of the songs. Peep This topped at number twelve on the Billboard charts.

Foxx's hiatus from comedy, however, was short lived. In 1996 he helped create and produce a self-titled, half-hour sitcom for the WB network. The show, loosely based on Foxx's own life, centered on Jamie King, an aspiring actor from Terrell, Texas, who moves to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune. While struggling to make it big, King works in a shady hotel owned by his aunt and uncle. For the next five years Foxx fans were treated to a weekly dose of their favorite comedian; Foxx also expanded his fan base since his television show, unlike his stand-up, was geared toward audiences of all ages. During its run, The Jamie Foxx Show was the highest-rated series on WB; in 1998 it also earned Foxx an NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series. The Image Awards are given annually for outstanding achievement and performances of people of color.

Beamen to Bundini

His television show opened up a world of opportunities for Foxx. People in the entertainment industry got a glimpse of his versatility as an actor, a writer, and a musician. For example, during a final-season episode, Foxx, as Jamie King, sang a duet with legendary performer Gladys Knight (1941–). His television exposure also led Foxx to roles on the big screen, although the actor admitted that his early films were less than memorable. Pigeonholed as a comedian, Foxx found himself cast in light fare like Toys (1992) and low-budget, slapstick comedies such as Booty Call (1997). " Booty Call was not a choice," Foxx explained to Time magazine's Josh Tyrangiel. "It was what I did because I couldn't get work in anything better."

In 1999, thanks to another actor's loss, Foxx finally gained a chance to sink his teeth into a dramatic role when he was cast in Any Given Sunday, the latest offering from top Hollywood director Oliver Stone (1946–). Sean "P. Diddy" Combs (1971–) was Stone's original choice to play Willie Beamen, the cocky third-string quarterback, in his revealing look at the lives of professional football players, but when Combs backed out, he agreed to let Foxx audition. "I had strong feelings about [Foxx] the moment he read for us," Stone commented to Allison Samuels of Newsweek. "There was anger there that was needed, but also humor. Both worked perfectly together, and Willie got the edge he needed."

Despite giving what Samuels called a "winning, charismatic turn" in Sunday, other directors were not knocking down Foxx's door following the film's release. Foxx essentially spent 2000 turning down one mediocre role after another, knowing that he had to make a careful next move. When he auditioned for the role of trainer Drew "Bundini" Brown in 2001's Ali, Foxx knew he was a long shot. Ali director Michael Mann (1943–) also had his doubts, considering Bundini, who was the lifetime supporter of heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali (1942–), was a balding, potbellied, older man. But Foxx proved up to the challenge, and the muscular, thirty-four-year-old literally transformed himself into the stoop-shouldered, fast-talking Brown. As Oliver Stone wrote in Time, "The physicality was absolutely genuine."

Hits the right chord with Ray

Foxx received his first bit of Oscar buzz for his performance in Ali, although he was passed over for a nomination. He did, however, catch the attention of director Taylor Hackford (1944–), who was casting for his upcoming movie, Ray, an in-depth look into the life of legendary musician Ray Charles (1930–2004). The movie was a labor of love for Hackford, who had spent fifteen years working on the script and trying to find backers for the project. When he finally got the green light, the director needed just the right man for the lead. He found that man in Jamie Foxx. "I thought, this guy's got talent," Hackford told Josh Young of Variety. "I don't know whether he can carry a whole movie. I wouldn't know until we worked together, but he had the potential. He had the look, and once I realized he was a consummate musician, I never went anywhere else."

Foxx threw himself into the role, methodically preparing for months to fill Brother Ray's shoes. He dropped thirty pounds to achieve a lean look, worked at mastering Charles's keyboard technique, talked to the musician's family and close friends, and watched hours of videotaped interviews. "I used that as the DNA [genetic building block] to get the young Ray as we moved through the film," Foxx explained to Aldore Collier of Ebony. "It was just taking him, studying him and then crushing it down to where it's not an impersonation, but the nuances, how he talked to his kids, how he talked to his wife." One of the most difficult hurdles was effectively portraying a man who had been blind since the age of seven. Foxx practiced being blind by gluing his eyes shut and during the entire filming of the movie he wore a prosthetic device over his eyes, which really did render him blind for up to fourteen hours a day.

Perhaps the biggest thrill for Foxx came when he got the chance to spend some one-on-one time with Charles, who died just four months before the movie's October 2004 release. The two jammed together on the piano for almost an hour, and Foxx described the experience as incredible. By the end of the meeting Ray Charles had given his blessing to the film. According to the film's producer, Stuart Benjamin, who spoke with Clarissa Cruz of Entertainment Weekly, "It was a complete lovefest. Ray really, really embraced Jamie. He was comfortable that Jamie had the musical chops."

Audiences agreed and when Ray hit movie theaters they turned out in droves, helping the film rake in more than $20 million its opening weekend. Critics who previously doubted that the unproven comedian could handle such a weighty film had nothing but praise for Foxx's superior performance. Entertainment Weekly claimed that "Foxx energized the entire picture, quietly capturing the late musician's mannerisms, his tentative walk, and reflexive smile." And Ebony enthused, "Foxx effortlessly nailed down the nuances, the voice and the thrills and tears of the great singer's life." The biggest note of approval for Foxx, however, came from Charles's children. When they saw Foxx in character he reminded them so much of their father that they often had to leave the set. "That's when we knew we had something special," he told Ebony.

African Americans at the Oscars

Every year since 1929 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has honored individuals for outstanding achievement in film. In the entertainment industry these Academy Awards, also known as Oscars, are considered to be very prestigious since winners are voted on by their peers. There are twenty-four categories, ranging from editing to writing, costuming to directing. The most anticipated categories for moviegoers, however, may be the acting categories, perhaps because celebrities have become such a mainstay in American culture.

The history of African Americans at the Oscars is a controversial one. Although Hattie McDaniel (1898–1952) won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1939, an African American was not nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category until 1969, when Rupert Crosse (1927–1973) was singled out, but did not win, for his performance in The Reivers. The first African American nominees in the Best Actor and Actress categories would not be tapped until the 1950s: Sidney Poitier (1927–) was nominated in 1958 forThe Defiant Ones, Dorothy Dandridge (c. 1922–1965) in 1959 for Carmen Jones. As the twenty-first century progresses more African Americans have been honored at the Academy Awards, but the list of winners is still relatively small.

Actor; Year; Category; Film

Hattie McDaniel; 1939; Best Supporting Actress; Gone with the Wind

Rita Moreno; 1961; Best Supporting Actress; West Side Story

Sidney Poitier; 1963; Best Actor; Lilies of the Field

Louis Gossett Jr.; 1982; Best Supporting Actor; An Officer and a Gentleman

Denzel Washington; 1989; Best Supporting Actor; Glory

Whoopi Goldberg; 1990; Best Supporting Actress; Ghost

Cuba Gooding Jr.; 1996; Best Supporting Actor; Jerry Maguire

Halle Berry; 2001; Best Actress; Monster's Ball

Denzel Washington; 2001; Best Actor; Training Day

Morgan Freeman; 2004; Best Supporting Actor; Million Dollar Baby

Jamie Foxx; 2004; Best Actor; Ray

Foxx on fire

From the moment Ray was released, Foxx was the top contender for a Best Actor Oscar, and on February 27, 2005, he proved predictions right when he took home the prize. He became only the third African American man, after Sidney Poitier (1927–) and Denzel Washington (1954–), to snag a Best Actor award. Foxx also made history by becoming the first African American to be nominated for an acting Oscar in two categories in the same year. For his role as Max, the mellow cabbie who is held hostage by a contract killer in Collateral, Foxx was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award. He lost out to veteran actor Morgan Freeman (1937–)—another popular African American actor— who won for his performance in Million Dollar Baby.

Foxx gave a poignant acceptance speech, thanking first and foremost his grandmother, who passed away in October 2004 at the age of ninety-five. According to Jet magazine, the talented entertainer from Texas called his adopted mother his first acting teacher since she always told him to "act like you got some sense." Foxx also thanked his eleven-year-old daughter, Corrine, and special thanks, of course, went out to Ray Charles.

Following his Oscar win Jamie Foxx was on fire. He had two movies slated for release in 2005: the war drama Jarhead and Stealth, an action-adventure blockbuster. Foxx also remained one of the top-grossing stand-up comedians in the United States, and in October of 2004 he signed a deal with J Records to release his next solo music album. "I will never do this much publicity in my life," he commented to Tyrangiel, "But this is kind of my moment here."

Foxx enjoys reaping the benefits of his fame, which included maintaining residences in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He also enjoyed a reputation as a playboy who loved to party with his posse of pals. At the same time, Foxx is a devoted family man. He shares his Los Angeles home with his two half-sisters, one of whom has Down syndrome (a form of mental retardation).

Foxx also believes that he has a responsibility to serve as a role model for young African Americans, and in the future is eager to take parts that can make a political statement. For example, in 2004 he appeared in the original television movie Redemption, which explored the inequality of treatment between African Americans and whites in prison. Foxx was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance. (The Golden Globes are awarded each year by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press for outstanding achievement in film and television.) "For African American stars it's more than just getting our money and riding in our cars and getting behind those gates," Foxx explained to Variety magazine. "We have to give something. I know it sounds cliché, 'to give something back,' but it's really true—and you have to do it at your hottest."

For More Information

Periodicals

Collier, Aldore. "Jamie Foxx: The Thrills and Tears of the Ray Charles Story." Ebony (November 2004): pp. 96–101.

Cruz, Clarissa. "Jamie Foxx: Ray." Entertainment Weekly (February 4, 2005): p. 26.

"Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman Win Best Acting Awards at Oscars." Jet (March 14, 2005): pp. 6–11.

"Jamie Foxx Tells How He Became Jamie Foxx." Jet (March 24, 1997): pp. 32–36.

Lynch, Jason. "Jamie Foxx: What You Need to Know." People (February 14, 2005): p. 79.

Mitchell, Elvis. "Jamie Foxx: Underestimated from the Start, He Always Had Something Special up His Sleeve." Interview (November 2004): pp. 92–99.

Samuels, Allison. "Crazy Like a Foxx." Newsweek (August 2, 2004): p. 54.

Stone, Oliver. "Mastering Any Given Part: Jamie Foxx." Time (April 18, 2005): p. 114.

Tyrangiel, Josh. "The Art of Being a Confidence Man." Time (October 18, 2004): p. 76.

Young, Josh. "Jamie Foxx's Oscar Hunt." Variety (October 4, 2004): pp. S46–52.

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Foxx, Jamie 1967–

FOXX, Jamie 1967–

PERSONAL

Original name, Eric Morlon Bishop; born December 13, 1967, in Terrell, TX; son of Shaheed Abdullah (a stockbroker) and Louise Annette Talley Dixon; adopted by maternal grandparents Mark (a yard worker) and Estelle (some sources cite Esther; a domestic worker and nursery operator) Talley; children: Corrine Bishop. Education: Attended U.S. International University.

Addresses:

Office—Foxxhole, 15030 Ventura Blvd., Suite 19920, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. Agent—Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212; The Gersh Agency, 232 North Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Manager—Jamie Rucker King, King Management, 4477 Sherman Oaks Circle, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. Publicist—Matthew Labov, Baker/Wynokur/Ryder, 9100 Wilshire Blvd., 6th Floor, West Tower, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career:

Comedian, actor, writer, director, producer, singer, and composer. Foxxhole (production company), Sherman Oaks, CA, partner. Stand–up comedian in Los Angeles, c. 1989, and at various venues, including the Comedy Store and the Improv; performed at Apollo Theatre, New York City; also appeared in commercials. Affiliated with Jamie Foxx Fox Records. Also worked as a shoe salesperson.

Awards, Honors:

Winner of Black Bay Area Comedy Competition, 1991; Image Award, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, outstanding actor in a comedy series, 1998, and Image Award nominations, outstanding actor in a comedy series, 1999, 2000, and 2001, all for The Jamie Foxx Show; Black Reel Award nomination, best supporting actor in a theatrical film, Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite supporting actor in a drama, and MTV Movie Award nomination, breakthrough male performance, all 2000, for Any Given Sunday; Image Award, outstanding supporting actor in a motion picture, and Black Reel Award, best supporting actor in a theatrical film, both 2002, for Ali; National Board of Review Award, best actor, Academy Award, best performance by an actor in a leading role, Boston Society of Film Critics Award, best actor, Florida Film Critics Circle Award, best actor, National Board of Review Award, best actor, Phoenix Film Critics Society Award, best performance by an actor in a leading role, Seattle Film Critics Award, best actor, Southeastern Film Critics Association Award, best actor, 2004, Golden Globe Award, best performance by an actor in a motion picture musical or comedy, Film Award, best performance by an actor in a leading role, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, best actor, Golden Satellite Award, best actor in a motion picture, comedy or musical, Image Award nomination, outstanding actor in a motion picture, Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award, best actor, Sierra Award, best actor, Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards, ALFS Award, actor of the year, London Critics Circle Film Awards, National Society of Film Critics Award, best actor, Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, best actor, Screen Actors Guild Award, outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award, best actor, 2005, all for Ray; Academy Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role, 2004, Film Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award nomination, best supporting actor, Golden Satellite Award nomination, best actor in a supporting role, drama, and Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture, Image Award nomination, outstanding supporting actor in a motion picture, Online Film Critics Society Award nomination, best supporting actor, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role, 2005, all for Collateral; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a miniseries or a motion picture made for television, Golden Satellite Award, best actor in a miniseries or a motion picture made for television, Image Award nomination, outstanding actor in a television movie, miniseries, or dramatic special, and Independent Spirit Award nomination, best male lead, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or miniseries, 2005, for Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story.

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

Baker, Toys, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1992.

Ed, The Truth about Cats & Dogs, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1996.

Hassan El Ruk'n, The Great White Hype, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1996.

Bunz, Booty Call, Columbia/Sony Pictures Entertainment, 1997.

Blue, The Player's Club, New Line Cinema, 1998.

Willie Beamen, Any Given Sunday (also known as Gridiron, The League, Monday Night, On Any Given Sunday, and Playing Hurt), Warner Bros., 1999.

Alvin Sanders, Bait (also known as Piege), Warner Bros., 2000.

Michael Dawson, Held Up, Trimark Pictures, 2000.

All Jokes Aside (documentary), 2000.

Drew "Bundini" Brown, Ali, Columbia, 2001.

Date from Hell, 2001.

Himself, Paper Chasers (music documentary), IFC Films, 2003.

Larry Jennings, Shade, Dimension Films, 2004.

Max, Collateral, DreamWorks SKG/Paramount, 2004.

Quincy Watson, Breakin' All the Rules, Screen Gems, 2004.

Ray Charles (title role), Ray (also known as Unchain My Heart), Universal, 2004.

Lieutenant Henry Purcell, Stealth, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2005.

Sergeant Siek, Jarhead, Universal, 2005.

Detective Ricardo Tubbs, Miami Vice, Universal, 2006.

Television Appearances; Series:

Various characters, In Living Color, Fox, 1991–94.

Crazy George Stevens, a recurring role, Roc, Fox, 1992–93.

Voice, C Bear and Jamal (animated; also known as C–Bear and Jamal), ABC, 1996–98.

Jamie King, The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB, 1996–2001.

Host, Jamie Foxx Presents Laffapalooza, Showtime, beginning 2003.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Stan "Tookie" Williams, Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story, FX Channel, 2004.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Paul Rodriguez: Crossing Gang Lines, Fox, 1991.

Jamie Foxx: Straight from the Foxxhole, HBO, 1993.

Host, Rock 'n' Jock Super Bowl II (also known as MTV's "Rock 'n' Jock Super Bowl II"), MTV, 1998.

Full Contact: The Making of "Any Given Sunday," 1999.

Host, The BET 20th Anniversary Celebration, Black Entertainment Television, 2000.

It's Black Entertainment, Showtime, 2000.

The Making of "Ali," 2001.

MTV Icon: Janet Jackson, MTV, 2001.

Inside TV Land: African Americans in Television, TV Land, 2002.

Jamie Foxx: I Might Need Security, HBO, 2002.

Muhammad Ali's All–Star 60th Birthday Celebration!, CBS, 2002.

Presenter, A Home for the Holidays, CBS, 2003.

Playboy's 50th Anniversary Celebration, Arts and Entertainment, 2003.

Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, *%$ @!!, Comedy Central, 2003.

The 2003 Essence Music Festival, UPN, 2003.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The Seventh Annual Soul Train Music Awards, 1993.

Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, syndicated, 1996.

Presenter, The 11th Annual American Comedy Awards, ABC, 1997.

The 1998 Essence Awards, Fox, 1998.

Host, The 1999 Essence Awards, Fox, 1999.

Presenter, The 52nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, ABC, 2000.

Presenter, The 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 2000.

Presenter, 2000 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2000.

Nickelodeon's 13th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, Nickelodeon, 2000.

The 31st Annual NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2000.

The 2000 Teen Choice Awards, Fox, 2000.

Host, MTV Video Music Awards 2001, MTV, 2001.

The First Annual BET Awards, Black Entertainment Television, 2001.

The Seventh Annual BET Walk of Fame, Black Entertainment Television, 2001.

The 16th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, 2002.

The 33rd NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2002.

Host, Hollywood Celebrates Denzel Washington: An American Cinematheque Tribute, American Movie Classics, 2003.

Host, The 2003 ESPY Awards, ESPN, 2003.

Host, The 2004 ESPY Awards, ESPN, 2004.

Presenter, BET Comedy Awards, Black Entertainment Television, 2004.

Presenter, The Fourth Annual BET Awards (also known as 2004 BET Awards), Black Entertainment Television, 2004.

Presenter, 2004 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Coach Armstrong, "Rivals," Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, ABC, 1996.

Tyrone Koppel, "A Thanksgiving to Remember," The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB, 1996.

Woody, "Driving Miss Moesha," Moesha, UPN, 1996.

Guest, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1996.

Host, Soul Train, syndicated, 1996.

Reverend Alize, The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB, 1996.

Guest, Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2004.

Tyrone Koppel, "Passenger 187," The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB, 1998.

Guest, The Roseanne Show, syndicated, 1998.

Guest, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1999, 2004.

Himself, "Redd Foxx: Say It Like It Is," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 2000.

Guest host, Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's "Saturday Night," Saturday Night, and SNL), NBC, 2000.

Headliners & Legends: Will Smith, MSNBC, 2001.

Guest, The Howard Stern Show, E! Entertainment Television, c. 2001.

Guest, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2001, 2004.

Guest, The View, ABC, 2001, 2004.

Guest, Last Call with Carson Daly, NBC, 2002.

Guest, Listen Up! Charles Barkley with Ernie Johnson, 2002.

Guest, Tinseltown TV, 2003.

Himself, "Collateral," Movie House (also known as MTV's "Movie House"), MTV, 2004.

Black Tony Blair, Chappelle's Show, Comedy Central, 2004.

Guest, Coming Attractions, E! Entertainment Television, 2004.

Guest, Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (also known as Ellen and The Ellen DeGeneres Show), syndicated, 2004.

Guest, Good Morning America (also known as GMA), ABC, 2004.

Guest, Jimmy Kimmel Live, ABC, 2004.

Guest, Live with Regis and Kelly, syndicated, 2004.

Guest, On–Air with Ryan Seacrest, syndicated, 2004.

Guest, 106 and Park (also known as 106 & Park: BET's Top 10 Live), Black Entertainment Television, 2004.

Guest, The Oprah Winfrey Show (also known as Oprah), syndicated, 2004.

Guest, Primetime Live, ABC, 2004.

Guest, Tavis Smiley, PBS, 2004.

Guest, Total Request Live (also known as Total Request and TRL), MTV, 2004.

Himself, Tom Cruise, E! Entertainment Television, 2004.

(In archive footage) Max, "Collateral/Code 46/Strander/Little Black Book/Festival Express," Ebert & Roeper, syndicated, 2004.

(In archive footage) Max, "Summer Reloaded," Ebert & Roeper, syndicated, 2004.

Appeared in Driven, VH1; as Enrique and as T–Dub Johnson in episodes of The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB; and as Willie in an episode of Roc, Fox; also appeared in The Chris Rock Show, HBO; Journeys in Black, Black Entertainment Television; Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, HBO; and Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, HBO.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Host, The Jamie Foxx Variety Show, The WB, 2001.

Television Work; Series:

Creator, producer, and theme song performer, The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB, 1996–98.

Executive producer and theme song performer, The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB, 1999–2001.

Executive producer, Jamie Foxx Presents Laffapalooza, Showtime, beginning 2003.

Television Executive Producer; Movies:

Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story, FX Channel, 2004.

Television Executive Producer; Specials:

Jamie Foxx: Straight from the Foxxhole, HBO, 1993.

Jamie Foxx: I Might Need Security, HBO, 2002.

Television Director; Episodic:

"Bachelor Party," The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB, 2000.

"If the Shoe Fits …, " The Jamie Foxx Show, The WB, 2000.

Television Executive Producer; Pilots:

The Jamie Foxx Variety Show, The WB, 2001.

Small Talk, The WB, 2003.

Out–Foxxed, TBS, 2004.

Radio Appearances; Episodic:

Guest, The Howard Stern Radio Show, c. 2001.

RECORDINGS

Videos:

Straight Clownin', Okimo Entertainment, 2002.

Albums:

Jamie Foxx Experiment, Fox Records, 1994.

Peep This, Fox Records, 1995.

Singles:

(With Twista) "Slow Jamz," 2004.

Music Videos:

"Miss You," by Aaliyah, 2002.

"Pass the Courvoisier," by Busta Rhymes, 2002.

"Slow Jamz," with Twista, 2004.

WRITINGS

Teleplays; Series:

Special material, In Living Color, Fox, beginning 1992.

Teleplays; Specials:

Jamie Foxx: Straight from the Foxxhole, HBO, 1993.

Jamie Foxx: I Might Need Security, HBO, 2002.

The 2004 ESPY Awards, ESPN, 2004.

Television Music:

Theme song composer, The Jamie Foxx Show (series), The WB, 1996–2001.

Composer, Jamie Foxx: I Might Need Security (special), HBO, 2002.

Albums:

Jamie Foxx Experiment, Fox Records, 1994.

Peep This, Jamie Foxx Fox Records, 1995.

Singles:

(With Twista) "Slow Jamz," 2004.

Songs featured in films.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 15, Gale, 1997.

Newsmakers, Issue 1, Gale, 2001.

Periodicals:

Entertainment Weekly, May 26, 2000, p. 48; September 22, 2000, p. 48.

InStyle, January, 2000, p. 96.

Jet, March 24, 1997, p. 32; September 18, 2000, p. 59.

Newsweek, January 10, 2000, p. 60.

People Weekly, January 13, 1997, p. 81; August 16, 2004, p. 73.

Playboy, March, 2002, pp. 117–18.

Sport, February, 2000, p. 22.

Sports Illustrated for Women, March, 2000, p. 23.

Texas Monthly, November, 1998, p. 88; March, 2002, p. 56.

Time, February 14, 2000, p. 88.

TV Guide, December 18, 1999, p. 5; January 29, 2000, pp. 44–46; April 11, 2004, pp. 36–37.

US Weekly, October 2, 2000, pp. 78–80.

Washington Post, August 6, 2004, pp. C1, C4.

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Foxx, Jamie

Jamie Foxx

1967

Comedian, actor, singer

In the ever-shifting, multimedia world of Hollywood entertainment, the art of juggling talents has always paid off. Comedian, actor, singer, and producer Jamie Foxx has helped to affirm this, scoring successes on the stage, the screen, on television, and in the recording studio. A dynamic and easily likable performer, Foxx has rapidly moved from obscurity to the helm of a highly rated television series for the WB network, and shows no signs of decreasing his activity. "As a comedian, as an actor, you've got to make things happen," Foxx told People magazine. "I want to have a lot of things in the air," he added.

Prepared for the Stage

Jamie Foxx was born Eric Bishop on December 13, 1967, in Terrell, Texas, to stockbroker Shaheed Abdullah and Louise Annette Talleynow surnamed Dixon through remarriagein the small town of Terrell, Texas. Foxx's parents quickly found themselves overwhelmed by the demands of child rearing, and at the age of seven months, he was adopted by his maternal grandparents, Mark and Esther Talley. Foxx rarely saw his biological parents throughout his childhood, so he felt no affect from their divorce when he was six years old. Fortunately, his new family, including two half sisters and a stepbrother, provided a loving, supportive environment, and his childhood was a trauma-free one.

At a very young age, Foxx showed evidence of his flair for performing and entertaining. At five years old, he started piano lessons, immersing himself both in the language of music and in the often-shocking experience of facing an audiencecrucial skills for his future career. While performing in a talent competition at Terrell High School, his peers noticed Foxx's magnetic stage presence. "He was singing, and the women just moved to the front to be near him," ex-classmate Chris Barron recalled to People. Although the teenage Foxx was a standout in his local church choir who embarked on an academic pursuit of music at the U.S. International University in San Diego, California, it was comedy, not music, that gave Foxx his break.

Like many small-town celebrities in waiting, Foxx dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles in 1990 to enter directly, working from the very bottom up. With no formal experience and no connections, the struggling Foxx soon ended up peddling shoes in a Thom McAn shoe store outlet, and sat in at local comedy clubs on amateur nights in hopes of performing himself. He quickly noticed a pattern of gender in the roster of comedians which he decided to use to his advantage. As he confessed to Jet magazine, "[t]hree girls would show up and 22 guys would show up. They had to put all the girls on who were on the list to break up the monotony." Foxx, still named Eric Bishop, began signing unisex monikers on audition lists in hopes of being taken for a woman. The ploy soon worked. On his twenty-first birthday, Foxx and his friends were attending a San Francisco nightclub, and the young comedian flooded the entry list with fabricated, ambiguous names. When the master of ceremonies called out, "Jamie FoxxIs she here?," Foxx responded in a resonant, masculine tone, to everyone's surprise, and stepped to the microphone.

Made a Name for Himself

From this first comedy performance, which garnered a standing ovation from the audience, it was evident that Foxx could rely on talent, not gimmicks, to sustain a career in entertainment. Nonetheless, he retained the assumed name that had helped finagle his comedy debut, perhaps in part as an acknowledgement of a new life. "I loved my old name," he told People. "But Eric Bishop was Clark Kent. And Jamie Foxx is Superman." With a new name, a boosted level of confidence, and one auspicious stage outing, the newly dubbed Foxx stormed the Los Angeles comedy circuit, winning the Black Bay Area Comedy Competition in 1991, and quitting his job as a shoe clerk to perform up to seven nights per week. On stage, he began to develop a sassy, outrageous persona, as well as a repertoire of characters he would use later in his career, including "Wanda, the Ugly Woman." In addition, his impersonations of celebrities such as fellow comedian/actor Bill Cosby and prizefighter Mike Tyson were marked by a perfect balance of mimicry and exaggeration. Foxx had elevated his entertainment with rehearsed artistry and contagious energy. And yet while he had become a hero within the Southern California comedy scene, Foxx was quickly becoming a television "Superman."

Aspiring to expand beyond a local audience, Foxx auditioned alongside several hundred other comedians for a part in an ensemble cast of a new television comedy for the Fox television network entitled In Living Color. Foxx landed the role, and in 1991 joined the cast of the highly rated show that would last several seasons and help elevate the careers of future stars' Jim Carrey, Tommy Davidson, and the Wayans Brothers. The show followed a short sketch comedy format, with an exuberant, outrageous attitude perfect for Foxx's style of comedy. Adapting his material for television, Foxx was able to translate his stand-up characters into favorites of television comedy, and quickly developed a nation-wide fan base. Not only was In Living Color a kindling fire for Foxx's popularity, it also provided the growing funnyman an opportunity to hone his comic skills among his contemporaries. "Damon [Wayans] taught me the importance of having a little attitude," he remarked to People about one of his co-stars. "And Jim [Carrey] taught me goofiness," he added.

In Living Color proved to be a gateway of opportunity for Foxx, catapulting him into numerous engagements in both television and film. During the show's run, Foxx managed to portray a recurring character on the series Roc, also on the Fox network, in addition to making guest appearances on stand-up specials. In 1993, HBO invited him to create a one-man concert program, and the result was Jamie Foxx: Straight from the Foxxhole. The uncensored nature of cable television allowed him to return to the style of his earliest material, and the program fared well. Foxx even juggled his motion picture debut into his demanding television schedule, acting alongside veteran comedian Robin Williams in the family feature Toys.

At a Glance

Born Eric Bishop on December 13, 1967, in Terrell, TX; son of Shaheed Abdullah and Louise Annette Dixon; adopted by grandparents Mark and Esther Talley. Education: Attended U.S. International University, San Diego, CA, 1986-88.

Career: Comedian, 1990; actor, director, and producer, 1991; musician, 1994.

Awards: Black Bay Area Comedy Competition, 1991; Image Award, for The Jamie Foxx Show, 1998; Image Award, for Ali, 2002; Black Reel Award, for Ali, 2002.

Addresses: Agent The Gersh Agency, 232 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

By the time In Living Color ran its final season in 1994, Foxx's resume was impressive enough to establish himself securely in the comedy world. However, in the following year Foxx took a brief vacation from comedy and made an impressive return to his performing rootsmusic. Still under the Fox studios banner, he released a full-length album of 12 R&B tracks, all of which he wrote, sang, and produced. The record climbed to #12 on Billboard magazine's sales charts, and received warm reviews from music critics. Easily slipping back into the vocal training of his youth, Foxx had successfully given life to yet another branch of his career.

Continued Success in Film and Music

After a brief period of respite, Foxx plunged back into film and television with full force. In 1996, he played supporting roles in the films The Truth About Cats and Dogs and The Great White Hype, the latter gaining Foxx critical merit for his portrayal of a smalltime boxing manager. But once again, it was television comedy that helped push his popularity. Moving from the Fox network to the WB (Warner Brothers) network, Foxx helped create and produce a program that was different from most of his work to date. With The Jamie Foxx Show, WB launched a family-oriented situation comedy, starring a decidedly adult comedian. The combination worked.

Prior to The Jamie Foxx Show, the comedian attracted backlash from critics who objected to Foxx's sometimes shocking comic arsenal, especially for his negative discussion of women. Taking this into consideration, Foxx decided to create a show "[l]ike I Love Lucy or The Dick Van Dyke Show, " he explained to Mediaweek magazine. "They were clean and still funny. If you try to be on the edge you cut lots of people out," he continued. His efforts were received as planned, and the series became the WB network's highest-rated series, scoring heavily among younger audiences and women. The show, in which Foxx essays the semi-autobiographical portrait of a struggling actor eking out a living as a worker at a shady hotel, is the product of a diverse creative team, made up of men and women, blacks and whites, which strives for a fresh, universal appeal. "You don't have to be gimmicky, you don't have to fall back on stereotypes," Foxx told Mediaweek. "It's not a conveyor belt. We try to handcraft the show," he added. Alongside many programs that thrive on a barrage of sexual innuendos alone, The Jamie Foxx Show was a refreshing surprise and a marked sign of growth for its star. The Jamie Foxx Show aired for five seasons on the WB Network and won Foxx an Image Award in 1998. The reruns of the comedy show are played in syndication and remain popular with fans.

His work on The Jamie Foxx Show led to a variety of roles that proved Foxx was more than just a comedic actor. But acting continued to be the mainstay of his professional life. His part in Any Given Sunday in 1999 featured Foxx's true talent: versatility. In his role as Willie Beamen, a third-string quarterback, Foxx deftly switches from being uncertain to cocky, and back again. Foxx also wrote and performed two songs for the movie's soundtrack. Foxx had made a name for himself among producers as a serious actor and won the critics' attention in 2002 with his role in Ali. For his part as Muhammad Ali's trainer, the director Taylor Hackford told Newsweek that "Jamie was the best thing about that movie." Hackford directed Foxx in the 2004 movie Ray. Foxx played the title role of Ray Charles. In preparation for his role, Foxx spent hours with Charles before his death, learning his unique mannerisms and speech patterns. He used his talent as a comic to mimic Charles, but did so with such sympathy and understanding that his characterization of Charles stunned viewers. Foxx told Ebony that Charles' children saw him acting in some scenes and said, "Man, that's my daddy." Charles' long-time friend Quincy Jones told Newsweek that Foxx "nailed" his depiction of Charles. "It's interesting that Jamie started out as a comic, because that's not where his career is going," Hackford told Newsweek. "He's not going to be the next Eddie Murphyhe's going to be the next Denzel [Washington]."

Selected works

Films

Toys, 1992.

The Great White Hype, 1996.

The Truth About Cats and Dogs, 1996.

Booty Call, 1997.

The Players Club, 1998.

Any Given Sunday, 1999.

Held Up, 1999.

Bait, 2000.

Ali, 2001.

Date from Hell, 2001.

Shade, 2003.

Breakin' All the Rules, 2004.

Collateral, 2004.

Ray, 2004.

Television

In Living Color, 1991-94.

C-Bear and Jamal, 1996.

The Jamie Foxx Show, 1996-2001.

Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story, 2004.

Sources

Periodicals

Ebony, November 1, 2004, p. 96.

Jet, March 24,1997, pp.32-35.

Mediaweek, October 21, 1996, pp. 9.

Newsweek, August 2, 2004.

People, January 13, 1997; November 29, 2004.

On-line

"Jamie Foxx," The Gersh Agency, www.gershcomedy.com/JamieFoxx.aspx (November 23, 2004).

Shaun Frentner and

Sara Pendergast

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Foxx, Jamie 1967–

Jamie Foxx 1967

Comedian, actor, singer

Began Life of Entertaining

Broke Into Comedy

A Multi-media Star

Sources

Image not available for copyright reasons

In the ever-shifting, multi-media world of Hollywood entertainment, the art of juggling talents has always paid off. Comedian, actor, singer, and producer Jamie Foxx has helped to affirm this, scoring successes on the stage, the screen, on television, and in the recording studio. A dynamic and easily likable performer, Foxx has rapidly moved from obscurity to the helm of a highly rated television series for the WB network, and shows no signs of decreasing his activity. As a comedian, as an actor, youve got to make things happen, Foxx told People magazine. I want to have a lot of things in the air, he added.

Jamie Foxx was born Eric Bishop on December 13, 1967 to stockbroker Shaheed Abdullah and Louise Annette Talleynow surnamed Dixon through remarriage in the small town of Terrell, Texas. Foxxs parents quickly found themselves overwhelmed by the demands of child rearing, and at the age of seven months, he was adopted by his maternal grandparents, Mark and Esther Talley. Foxx rarely saw his biological parents throughout his childhood, so he remained unaffected by their divorce when he was six years old. Fortunately, his new family, including two half sisters and a stepbrother, provided a loving, supportive environment, and his childhood was a trauma-free one.

Began Life of Entertaining

At a very young age, Foxx showed evidence of his flair for performing and entertaining. At five years old, he started piano lessons, immersing himself both in the language of music and in the often shocking experience of facing an audience-crucial skills for his future career. While performing in a talent competition at Terrell High School, his peers began to notice a magnetism to Foxx on stage. He was singing, and the women just moved to the front to be near him, ex-classmate Chris Barron recalled to People. Although the teenage Foxx was a standout in his local church choir who embarked on an academic pursuit of music at the U.S. International University in San Diego, California, it was comedy, not music, that gave Foxx his break.

Like many small-town celebrities in waiting, Foxx dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles in 1990 to enter directly, working from the very bottom up. With no formal experience and no connections, the

At a Glance

Born Eric Bishop, December 13, 1967, in Terrell, TX; son of Shaheed Abdullah and Louise Annette Dixon; adopted by grandparents Mark and Esther Talley; one stepbrotherand two half-sisters.f Education: Attended Terrei High School, Terrell, TX; attended U.S. International University in San Diego, CA.

Appeared in the cast of the Fox series In LMngColor, 1991-94, and Roc, 1993-94, star of The Jamie Foxx Show, 1996-, for the WB television network; appeared in films Toys, 1992; The Truth About CatsandDogs, 1996; The CreatWhite Hype, 1996;and BooityCali, 1997;starred in HBO comedy special JamieFoxx: Straight From the Foxxhole; wrote, produced, and performed thealbum Peep This.

Awards: won Black Bay Area Comedy Competition, 1991.

struggling Foxx soon ended up peddling shoes in a Thom McAn shoe store outlet, and sat in at local comedy clubs on amateur nights in hopes of performing himself. He quickly noticed a pattern of gender in the roster of comedians which he decided to use to his advantage. As he confessed to Jet magazine, [t]hree girls would show up and 22 guys would show up. They had to put all the girls on who were on the list to break up the monotony. Foxx, still named Eric Bishop, began signing unisex monikers on audition lists in hopes of being taken for a woman. The ploy soon worked. On his twenty-first birthday, Foxx and his friends were attending a San Francisco nightclub, and the young comedian flooded the entry list with fabricated, ambiguous names. When the master of ceremonies called out, Jamie Foxx... Is she here?, Foxx responded in a resonant, masculine tone, to everyones surprise, and stepped to the microphone.

Broke Into Comedy

From this first comedy performance, which garnered a standing ovation from the audience, it was evident that Foxx could rely on talent, not gimmicks, to sustain a career in entertainment. Nonetheless, he retained the assumed name that had helped finagle his comedy debut, perhaps in part as an acknowledgement of a new life. I loved my old name, he told People. But Eric Bishop was Clark Kent. And Jamie Foxx is Superman. With a new name, a boosted level of confidence, and one auspicious stage outing, the newly dubbed Foxx stormed the Los Angeles comedy circuit, winning the Black Bay Area Comedy Competition in 1991, and quitting his job as a shoe clerk to perform up to seven nights per week. On stage, he began to develop a sassy, outrageous persona, as well as a repertoire of characters he would use later in his career, including Wanda, the Ugly Woman. In addition, his impersonations of celebrities such as fellow comedian/actor Bill Cosby and prizefighter Mike Tyson were marked by a perfect balance of mimicry and exaggeration. Foxx had elevated his entertainment with rehearsed artistry and contagious energy. And yet while he had become a hero within the Southern California comedy scene, Foxx was quickly becoming a television Superman.

Aspiring to expand beyond a local audience, Foxx auditioned alongside several hundred other comedians for a part in an ensemble cast of a new television comedy for the Fox television network entitled In Living Color. Foxx landed the role, and in 1991 joined the cast of the highly rated show that would last several seasons and help elevate the careers of future stars Jim Carrey, Tommy Davidson, and the Wayans Brothers. The show followed a short sketch comedy format, with an exuberant, outrageous attitude perfect for Foxxs style of comedy. Adapting his material for television, Foxx was able to translate his stand-up characters into favorites of television comedy, and quickly developed a nation-wide fan base. Not only was In Living Color a kindling fire for Foxxs popularity, it also provided the growing funnyman an opportunity to hone his comic skills among his contemporaries. Damon [Wayans] taught me the importance of having a little attitude, he remarked to People about one of his co-stars. And Jim [Carrey] taught me goofiness, he added.

A Multi-media Star

In Living Color proved to be a gateway of opportunity for Foxx, catapulting him into numerous engagements in both television and film. During the shows run, Foxx managed to portray a recurring character on the series Roc, also on the Fox network, in addition to making guest appearances on stand-up specials. In 1993, HBO invited him to create a one-man concert program, and the result was Jamie Foxx: Straight From the Foxxhole. The uncensored nature of cable television allowed him to return to the style of his earliest material, and the program fared well. Foxx even juggled his motion picture debut into his demanding television schedule, acting alongside veteran comedian Robin Williams in the family feature Toys.

By the time In Living Color ran its final season in 1994, Foxxs resume was impressive enough to establish himself securely in the comedy world. However, in the following year Foxx took a brief vacation from comedy and made an impressive return to his performing roots--music. Still under the Fox studios banner, he released a full-length album of 12 R&B tracks, all of which he wrote, sang, and produced. The record climbed to #12 on Billboard magazines sales charts, and received warm reviews from music critics. Easily slipping back into the vocal training of his youth, Foxx had successfully given life to yet another branch of his career.

After a brief period of respite, Foxx plunged back into film and television with full force. In 1996, he played supporting roles in the films The Truth About Cats and Dogs and The Great White Hype, the latter gaining Foxx critical merit for his portrayal of a small-time boxing manager. But once again, it was television comedy that helped push his popularity. Moving from the Fox network to the WB (Warner Brothers) network, Foxx helped create and produce a program that was different from most of his work to date. With The Jamie Foxx Show, WB launched a family oriented situation comedy, starring a decidedly adult comedian. And yet the combination worked.

Prior to The Jamie Foxx Show, the comedian attracted backlash from critics who objected to Foxxs sometimes shocking comic arsenal, especially for his negative discussion of women. Taking this into consideration, Foxx decided to create a show [l]ike I Love Lucy or The Dick Van Dyke Show, he explained to Mediaweek magazine. They were clean and still funny. If you try to be on the edge you cut lots of people out, he continued. His efforts were received as planned, and the series became the WB networks highest rated series, scoring heavily among younger audiences and women. The show, in which Foxx essays the semi-autobiographical portrait of a struggling actor eking out a living as a worker at a shady hotel, is the product of a diverse creative team, made up of men and women, blacks and whites, which strives for a fresh, universal appeal. You dont have to be gimmicky, you dont have to fall back on stereotypes, Foxx told Mediaweek. Its not a conveyor belt. We try to handcraft the show, he added. Alongside many programs that thrive on a barrage of sexual innuendos alone, The Jamie Foxx Show was a refreshing surprise and a marked sign of growth for its star.

Like The Jamie Foxx Show itself, Jamie Foxx seems to be reaching to please audiences in all quarters. In addition to his self-titled series, Foxx caters to a very young market by providing voices for the animated childrens program C Bear and Jamal. At the same time, he still pleases fans of his earlier, more explicit work with films like 1997s Booty Call. Booty Call, which reunited Foxx with In Living Color co-star Tommy Davidson, was an over the top sex comedy about two failing Romeos that pulled no punches and yet never became crass or offensive. Foxx intends to release a follow-up to his music debut Peep This. As the scope of Foxxs output grows, so does his popularity, assuring his place as one of the brightest stars of the next century.

Sources

Periodicals

Jet, March 24, 1997, pp.32-35.

Mediaweek, October 21, 1996, pp. 9.

People Weekly, January 13, 1997, pp.81-82.

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained online from http://www.pkbaseline.com (accessed May of 1997)

Shaun Frentner

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Foxx, Jamie

Jamie Foxx

Singer, actor

As an Academy Award winner, multi-Grammy nominated singer, and all-around entertainer, Jamie Foxx appears to have done it all. Foxx first made a name for himself for his outrageous comedic performances on In Living Color and The Jamie Foxx Show, and moved into dramatic film roles for Any Given Sunday, Ali, and his Oscar-winning performance in the biopic Ray. Foxx proved to be a triple threat when his sophomore album went platinum in 2005. Sharing vocals with everyone from Ludacris and Kanye West to Mary J. Blige and Gladys Knight, Foxx disproved the actor-turned-singer curse with the hit multi-award winning album Undeniable.

Foxx was born Eric Morlon Bishop Jr. in 1967 in the small town of Terrell, Texas. His grandparents, Mark and Esther Talley, adopted and raised him after his parents split up when he was just seven months old. His grandparents gave him a strong Baptist upbringing, including what turned out to be influential and inspirational music at the New Hope Baptist Church. "My grandmother raised me to be a southern gentleman," Foxx told William Booth of the Washington Post. "We weren't rich, but we weren't poor either. Money didn't matter, couldn't replace the summers we had." As a teenager he had paying jobs as a piano player and musical director at the church. He excelled in sports, playing tennis, running track and serving as quarterback at Terrell High School. His first foray into music outside of the church was his high school R&B band, Leather and Lace.

Music Scholarship

A music scholarship enabled Foxx to venture outside his small world of Terrell and travel to California, where he studied classical piano and music theory at the U.S. International University in San Diego. Foxx was introduced to a diverse group of students and to opportunities that didn't exist in Terrell. Foxx had a comedic bent, doing impressions for his friends and making everyone laugh. But one night in 1989, on a dare from a girlfriend, he got on stage at an open mic comedy night. Everything changed after that. The next year he changed his name to Jamie Foxx and worked the stand-up circuit.

His comedic timing and personality were far bigger than the small clubs he gigged at. Amid small acting bits on TV, from 1991 to 1994 Foxx became part of the infamous cast of the sketch-comedy show In Living Color. The hugely popular show gave Foxx the opportunity and popularity to return to his first love—that of music. In 1994 Foxx released his first solo R&B album, Peep This. "I was gonna be Lionel Richie, I had the hair and everything," he joked to Booth. Issued by the now-defunct label Twentieth Century Fox Records, the album shot up to number 12, and the single "Infatuation" hit number 36 on the Billboard R&B singles chart.

Foxx was the star of his own popular comedy show, The Jamie Foxx Show, from 1996 to 2001. During that time he also had movie roles in 1997's Booty Call and 1999's Any Given Sunday. His dramatic acting skills were further put to the test in 2001's Ali and in the 2004 hit films Collateral and Ray. In 2004 Foxx got back into music, lending his smooth R&B vocals to rapper Twista's number one hit song "Slow Jamz" (which also appeared, slightly altered, on Kanye West's breakthrough album The College Dropout). Foxx's acting credentials soared to new heights when he took on the role of Ray Charles in Ray, the blockbuster biopic that hit theaters that year. Foxx's dead-on take of the musical legend won him an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Foxx was also nominated for another Oscar that year for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Collateral, in which he played opposite Tom Cruise. Before filming Ray, Foxx was able to spend time with Ray Charles before he died, and it was that meeting that inspired Foxx to get back to his musical roots. "I'll remember how simple he was—there was no "star" thing," Foxx said in an interview with Rolling Stone's Austin Scaggs after Charles died. "He told me, ‘Y'know Jamie, if you can play the blues, baby, you can do anything.’"

Returned to Music

Ready to get back into music, in 2005 Foxx appeared on rapper 50 Cent's "Build You Up" and sang on the chorus of Kanye West's number one song "Gold Digger." Fox told Shaheem Reid on MTV News.com, "You look at Kanye's records and they are fabulous, but when me and him go together, they were #1 records." In addition, Foxx was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category for his performance of "Creepin'" on So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross.

It was time now to get to work on Foxx's own record, with a little help from his friends. As opposed to how quickly Peep This was put together, Foxx wanted his second record to be as legitimate and honorable as possible. He brought in songwriters and producers who were at the top of their games. "I've got some real writers and producers this time and a real record label that has the money," he told Gail Mitchell in Billboard. "I waited 11 years because I didn't want to be out there looking goofy." For his sophomore album, Foxx needed to balance classic soul R&B with modern hip-hop panache. "It's something I've been toying with for a long time," he said to Mitchell. "How do you capture the club crowd with R&B while still keeping it hip-hop, young and with a bounce to it? That's the way we wrote a lot of the songs." Foxx co-wrote six of the album's songs and invited Mary J. Blige, Ludacris, Common, The Game, Kanye West, Twista and producers like Timbaland and Babyface to help on the project.

To close out 2005, J records issued Foxx's sophomore album, Unpredictable. By its second week it was a number one record. Foxx made history when he became only the fifth actor to have both an Oscar and a number one U.S. album at the same time. The title track of the album featured rapper Ludacris, and the video was directed by famed hip-hop director Hype Williams. "The result is a canny mix of R&B and hiphop, with several songs evincing an utterly of-the-moment minimalist vibe," wrote Jonathan Van Meter in Vogue. Foxx himself admitted to Van Meter, "The record definitely has a sense of me singing to someone. All the songs are geared toward a woman listening." Unpredictable went to the top of the charts—going platinum—at the same time as "Gold Digger," giving Foxx increased attention in all of the entertainment fields.

For the Record …

Born Eric Morlon Bishop Jr. on December 13, 1967, in Terrell, TX; children: Corinne. Education: Attended U.S. International University in San Diego.

Comedic actor gained fame for performances on In Living Color, 1991-94; released debut album, Peep This, Twentieth Century Fox Records, 2004; acted in The Jamie Foxx Show, 1996-2001; won Academy Award for role in the dramatic film Ray, 2004; acted in Collateral, 2004; signed to J Records, released sophomore album Unpredictable, 2005; acted in films Jarhead, 2005; Dream Girls, 2005; Miami Vice, 2005.

Awards: Academy Award, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, for Ray, 2004; American Music Award, Favorite Male Soul/R&B Artist, 2006; BET Award, Best Duet/Collaboration, for "Gold Digger," 2006; Soul Train Music Awards, Best Male R&B/Soul Album, for Unpredictable, 2007.

Addresses: Record company—J Records/Arista, 6 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019, website: http://www.jrecords.com. Website—Jamie Foxx Official Website: http://www.jamiefoxx.com.

In 2005 Foxx had a dramatic role in the army film Jarhead and the following year starred in a remake of Miami Vice and the musical Dreamgirls. At the 2006 Grammy Awards, Unpredictable was up for three awards. Although he didn't take any home that evening, he won two BET Awards for Best Duet/Collaboration for Kanye West's "Gold Digger" and Video of the Year for the same song. He was nominated for two American Music Awards, taking one home for Favorite Male Soul R&B Artist. In the spring of 2007 he won a Soul Train Music Award for Best Male R&B/Soul Album for Unpredictable. On September 14, 2007, Foxx's star quality was given one of the highest honors when he received his own prestigious star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Selected discography

Peep This, Twentieth Century Fox Records, 1994.

(Contributor) So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross, J Records, 2005.

Unpredictable, J Records, 2005.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, December 17, 2005.

Vogue, January, 2006.

Washington Post, August 6, 2004.

Online

"Jamie Foxx: The man who played Ray on his secret desires: to serenade Mariah Carey and make music with Kenny G," Rolling Stone,http://www.rollingstone.com/news/qa/story/8946748/Jamie_foxx (September 23, 2007).

Jamie Foxx Official Website, http://www.jamiefoxx.com (September 23, 2007).

"The Metamorphosis of Jamie Fox," MTV.com, http://www.mtv.com/bands/f/foxx_jamie/news_feature_012806/ (September 23, 2007).

—Shannon McCarthy

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"Foxx, Jamie." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Foxx, Jamie." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/foxx-jamie-0

"Foxx, Jamie." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/foxx-jamie-0