Donald Faison life and biography

Donald Faison picture, image, poster

Donald Faison biography

Date of birth : 1974-06-22
Date of death : -
Birthplace : New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-06-21
Credited as : Actor and playwright, Songwriter and lifeguard, role in Scrubs film

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A stage performer since the age of six, actor Donald Faison received his first taste of fame in the high school comedy hit "Clueless" (1995) and went on to enjoy nearly 10 seasons on the Emmy-nominated medical sitcom, “Scrubs” (NBC, 2001-08; ABC 2008- ). Faison segued from child actor to teen screen roles in gritty urban dramas like "Sugar Hill" (1994), but found more success when he showcased his quit wit and affable charm in female-centric titles like the WB series “Felicity” (WB, 1998-2002) and the film “Waiting to Exhale” (1995). While earning multiple awards for his performance alongside Zach Braff on “Scrubs,” Faison also stayed busy as a voice actor for animated series and a regular player in big screen comedies, where he was able to fully display his “guy’s guy” persona and natural comic flair.

Faison (Also Credited As: Christopher Bondy, Donald Adeosun Faison) was born June 22, 1974, and raised in New York City by actor parents, Shirley and Donald. From a very early age, Faison watched from the sidelines as his parents worked nightly with the groundbreaking National Black Theater in Harlem. By the age of five, he showed a talent for memorizing everyone’s lines and decided that, if he could do that so easily, he wanted to get in on pretending to be someone else to complete the picture. His first training ground was at the theater’s on-site community school, the Children's School for the Development of Intuitive and God Conscious Art. He went on to perform with the youth theater group, CityKids, eventually graduating from the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. By then, he had a long resume of both stage experience and television commercials and felt ready to make a go of it in Hollywood.

The 18-year-old newcomer made his film debut almost immediately with a small part in the Harlem-set crime drama, "Juice" (1992), starring Tupac Shakur, which led to teen thug roles in the similarly hard-hitting Wesley Snipes vehicle, "Sugar Hill" (1994) and the low budget "New Jersey Drive" (1995). For Faison, 1995 was a breakthrough year with his role in “Clueless” (1995), the mega-popular Beverly Hills-set update of Jane Austen's "Emma," in which Faison played the affable and somewhat goofy high school student, Murray. In another of that year’s biggest box office hits, Faison was seen as Loretta Devine's smart aleck son in the female-focused ensemble drama, "Waiting to Exhale.”

The following year he reprised his role on the “Clueless” TV spin-off (ABC, 1996-97; UPN, 1997-99) and also landed a recurring role on the ABC sitcom "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" (ABC, 1996-2000; WB, 2000-03), as a warlock and potential love interest of the high school conjurer in an interracial storyline that was refreshingly handled as a non-issue. After a turn as a high school ladies' man in the 1999 comedy "Trippin'," Faison graduated to higher education parts with a recurring role on the college drama "Felicity," playing the sweet, sexy and celibate boyfriend of Tangi Miller's tough-as-nails Elena. In 2000, the 26-year-old actor returned to high school, playing an athlete on a newly integrated football team coached by Denzel Washington in the blockbuster drama, "Remember the Titans."

Faison, along with Seth Green and Breckin Meyer, sent up the boy band phenomena with an appearance in the 2001 comedy “Josie and the Pussycats” and also appeared in Tom DiCillo’s direct-to-video comedy “Double Whammy” (2001) before landing in “Scrubs.” Portraying one of very few black doctors on primetime TV, Faison was an instant hit with his quick-witted, cocky Dr. Chris Turk, and he and Zach Braff created intense on-screen chemistry with their comedic “bromance.” Turk’s relationship storyline with Nurse Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes), with whom his flirtations lead to marriage and family, lent further dimension to the character, as well as credibility to the actor for showing a realistic emotional range and vulnerability. Meanwhile, his film career carried on uninterrupted with a turn as a downtrodden actor-turned-limo driver in the entertaining kiddie comedy "Big Fat Lair" (2002), and as a party boy in "Uptown Girls" (2003), which reunited him with "Clueless" co-star, Brittany Murphy.

Following voiceover parts on MTV’s animated series “Clone High” (MTV, 2002-03) and the preschool series “Higgleytown Heroes” (Playhouse Disney, 2004-08), Faison was honored with BET Comedy awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for “Scrubs” in 2004 and 2005. Around that time, Faison began a series of recurring voiceovers on Cartoon Network’s “Robot Chicken” (Cartoon Network, 2005- ) and appeared in the abysmal big screen comedy, “King’s Ransom” (2005), about a millionaire businessman (Anthony Anderson) who kidnaps himself to avoid an expensive divorce from his wife (Kellita Smith). Faison earned consecutive nominations from the Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series for “Scrubs” in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and the actor was tapped to bring his likable guy sensibility to a hosting position on "The Playbook," a series of six half-hour specials touted as "the ultimate guide for guys." He stuck to his buddy comedy image with a co-starring role alongside Kal Penn in the direct-to-video, “Vegas Baby” (2006). While Faison maintained a growing voiceover schedule on “Kim Possible” (Disney Channel, 2002-07) and “The Boondocks” (Cartoon Network, 2005- ), the future of “Scrubs” became uncertain and a topic of much Hollywood conversation when the WGA writer’s strike of 2007 necessitated putting the show’s seventh season on hold.

The following year, “Scrubs” returned to the airwaves but on rival network ABC, where its ratings declined and one cast member after another announced that they would leave after the eighth season. Faison remained tight-lipped about his future with the series and, instead, hit movie theaters in spring of 2009 where he starred as a delivery driver who accidentally winds up in a drug war when he leaves a shipment of cocaine at the wrong address in “Next Day Delivery” (2009).

Milestones

* 1980 At age six, wrote and acted in the play When the Lion Roars
* 1988 Appeared in the Marlo Thomas TV special Free to Be a Family (ABC)
* 1990 Acted in an episode of the short-lived ABC action series H.E.L.P.
* 1992 Made feature debut in the hard-hitting gang drama Juice
* 1994 Played supporting role in Sugar Hill
* 1995 Acted in an episode of New York Undercover (Fox)
* 1995 Appeared in the features Waiting to Exhale and New Jersey Drive
* 1995 Co-starred as affable Beverly Hills high school student Murray in the hit teen romantic comedy Clueless
* 1996 Reprised role of Murray on the TV sitcom Clueless (ABC, 1996-1997; UPN, 1997-1999)
* 1998 Featured in the music-industry set mystery thriller Butter (premiered on HBO in lieu of theatrical release)
* 1998 Had a cameo in the high school graduation party-set comedy Can t Hardly Wait
* 1998 Had a recurring role as the potential love interest of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch in the ABC sitcom
* 1999 Acted in the action feature Supreme Sanction , debuted on HBO
* 1999 Co-starred as popular high school ladies man June in the comedy Trippin
* 2000 Played recurring character Tracy, a college student of exceptional moral fiber, on Felicity (The WB)
* 2000 Cast as a fun-loving high school football star in the 1970s-set, segregation-themed Remember the Titans
* 2001 Acted alongside Steve Buscemi and Denis Leary in the independent action comedy Double Whammy , premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
* 2001 Had co-starring role in the NBC sitcom Scrubs
* 2003 Had pivotal role in the comedy feature Uptown Girls
* 2005 Starred with Anthony Anderson in the comedy King s Ransom
* 2006 Cast in the romantic comedy, Something New
* Began appearing in TV commercials; debuted in a spot for Oatmeal Raisin Crisp cereal
* Had recurring role as Duane on Sesame Street (PBS)
* Will join Leelee Sobieski and Shane West for the indie feature The Optimist (lensed 2005)
* Will star in the indie comedy Homie Spumoni, as an African-American, who s been raised as an Italian-American (lensed 2005)
* Will team up with Eddie Kaye Thomas and Eddie Guerra to star in the indie comedy Venus and Vegas (lensed 2004)

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