Wayans, Marlon and Shawn
Marlon and Shawn Wayans
Actors, writers, producers
The Wayans family is full of talented members, so there should be no surprise that Shawn and Marlon Wayans, the two youngest in a family of ten siblings, have followed in their family’s footsteps as Hollywood icons. The two brothers have accomplished a lot in their relatively short lives. They’ve acted in movies, been part of the famous televison show, In Living Color, written three movies and one television show, and produced two movies.
Born to Howell and Elvira Wayans, the two brothers had big shoes to fill. Their famous siblings are Keenen Ivory Wayans, famous for acting in such movies as A Low Down Dirty Shame and his own television show The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show; Damon Wayans, famous for such movies as Bamboozled as well as his own television show Damon; and Kim Wayans, from televison’s A Different World and In The House. The odds were good that Shawn and Marlon would make it to Hollywood with help from their brothers and sister, but the success they’ve found is all their own.
Shawn was born January 19, 1971 in New York City. He and his siblings were raised in relative poverty. Shawn said about his notably humorous family in Jet: “Dinner itself was funny because we didn’t have nothing to eat. So we had to crack each other up for dinner in order to fill each other up.” Luckily, the elder Wayans were soon to change all of that. Shawn made his acting debut in 1989 in the movie IΓ m Gonna Get You Sucka, a movie written and directed by brother Keenen. From there he joined the cast of In Living Color, a family effort—every single one of the famous Wayans clan acted in the popular television show at some point.
Marlon, born July 23, 1972, went to the Performing Arts High School in New York City, and then attended the Howard University Film School. He, too, started out his acting career in the movie I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, and then joined the cast of In Living Color in 1992, two years after Shawn. He was also seen in Mo’ Money with his brother Damon, and then, in 1994, in the movie Above the Rim with Tupac Shakur.
In 1995 Shawn and Marlon launched their own television show, The Wayans Brothers. Although they began with little power over the direction of the show, they eventually ended up not only acting in it, but also producing, writing, and directing it as well. The show, Marlon told theonion.com, was about “two brothers who are trying to make it in this world, and it’s all about
Born Shawn Wayans on January 19, 1971 and Marlon Wayans on July 23,1972; sons of Howell and Elvira Wayans. Education: Marlon: Howard University,
Career: Actors, writers, producers. Shawn: I’m Gonna G’it You Sucka, 1988; In Living Color, 1990-93; The Wayans Bros., actor, writer, producer, director, 1995; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, actor, writer, producer, 1996; New Blood, 1999; Scary Movie, actor, writer, producer, 2000; Open Mic, 2000; MTV Video Music Awards 2000, co-host, 2000; Scary Movie 2, actor, writer, 2001; co-author, 150 Ways to Tell If You’re Ghetto, Dell Books, 1997. Marlon: I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, 1988; In Living Color, 1992-93; Mo’ Money, 1992; Above the Rim, 1994; The Wayans Bros., actor, writer, producer, director, 1995; The Parent ’Hood, 1995; Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, actor, writer, producer, 1996; The Sixth Man, 1997; Senseless, 1998; Requiem for a Dream, 2000; Scary Movie, actor, writer, producer, 2000; The Tangerine Bear, 2000; Dungeons & Dragons, 2000; MTV Video Music Awards 2000, co-host, 2000; Scary Movie 2, actor, writer, 2001; co-author, 150 Ways to Tell If You’re Ghetto, Dell Books, 1997.
Addresses: Shawn: Agent —4845 South Sheridan Road, Suite 505, Tulsa, OK, 74145-5719. Phone: (918) 665-6200, Fax: (918) 665-6263.
family. Me, I think family is key, and if you have love for family, then you have love for others—and you have unity as a people.” It was a television success and aired on the WB network for five years and was the first show off the popular network to be sold into syndication. Shawn and Marlon were beginning to make their own names and ways in the entertainment business, and they were on their way up.
Their next collaboration came in 1996 with the movie Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. The two brothers wrote, produced, and starred in the film, and siblings Keenen, Damon, also appeared in the film. The movie was a spoof of the deluge of coming of age in the “hood” movies that had come out around that time, and it was an introduction to the world of Shawn and Marlon’s unique brand of humor. USA Today said of the film, “The film is as likely to elicit gasps from the politically correct as chuckles from the impossible-to-shock.” And it was not the last time the brothers would garner such a response.
Shawn next appeared in the 1999 movie, New Blood, starring with John Hurt, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano. He also had a role in Open Mic in 2000. Shawn also became an author when he co-wrote 150 Ways to Tell If You’re Ghetto.
Marlon went on to parts in several movies, including The Sixth Man, in 1997, a comedy in which Wayans played a basketball player whose dead brother haunts him to a winning streak, and Senseless, (1998) a comedy about a man who puts himself into the hands of a scientist’s experiments in order to earn some money. The San Francisco Chronicle said of his performance, “Wayans is not only able to do the wild physical comedy…he can also do the quieter moments, sniffing out and rescuing a perfect rose from a trash can and presenting it to his new girlfriend.” Marlon tried his hand at his first dramatic role next in Requiem for a Dream, 2000. He played a heroine addict and critics praised his performance. Todd McCarthy said in Variety, “comic performer Wayans comes across as appealing and natural in his first dramatic film role.”
The brothers reunited in 2000 for their summer hit, Scary Movie, directed by brother, Keenen. This film, too, was a spoof, this time poking fun at the rash of popular teenage horror flicks like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. “I think we were watching I Know What You Did Last Summer” Marlon said in Jet, “and we said “I know what I’m gonna do next summer. I’m gonna make fun of all these…movies I’m so tired of seeing.” Scary Movie became Miramax’s highest-grossing movie of all time and reached number five on the list of top earners for the summer. The movie did so well that a sequel, Scary Movie II, immediately followed in 2001.
Also in 2000 Marlon and Shawn were asked to host the MTV Video Awards. The president of MTV told PR Newswire, “It’s obvious the comedy gene exploded in the Wayans family and we’re thrilled to have Shawn and Marlon hosting this year’s show.” That same year, Marlon appeared in the movie version of the board game Dungeons & Dragons. With such multi-faceted talent under their control, Shawn and Marlon Wayans are certain to be around, spoofing and poking fun at everything they can, for many years to come.
Above The Rim, 1994.
Mo’ Money, (with brother Damon), 1994.
The Sixth Man, 1997.
Requiem for a Dream, 2000.
In Living Color, FOX, 1992-1993.
150 Ways to Tell if You’re Ghetto, Dell Books, 1997.
New Blood, 1999.
Open Mie, 2000.
In Living Color, 1990-92.
I’ m Gonna Git You Sucka, 1988.
Don’t Be A Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, 1996.
Scary Movie, 2000.
Scary Movie 2, 2001.
The Wayans Bros., WB, 1995-99.
Black Enterprise, June, 2000.
Broadcasting & Cable, July 31, 2000.
Dallas Morning News, June 25, 2000.
Jet, January 19, 1998; February 23, 1998; August 14, 2000; September 18, 2000.
PR Newswire, July 25, 2000.
San Francisco Chronicle, February 20, 1998, p. C5.
Variety, March 31, 1997; May 22, 2000; December 11, 2000.
—Catherine Victoria Donaldson
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