Jamie Foxx life and biography

Jamie Foxx picture, image, poster

Jamie Foxx biography

Date of birth : 1967-12-13
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Terrel, Texas, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-06-15
Credited as : Actor Comedian and Singer, The Jamie Foxx Show, role in Collateral 2004

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Jamie Foxx ( Also known as: Eric Bishop, Eric Morlon Bishop, Jr.) born December 13, 1967 in Terrell, Texas, United States is an African-American actor, singer and comedian.

In the ever-shifting, multi-media world of Hollywood entertainment, the juggling talents has always paid off. Jamie Foxx juggled his way to an Academy Award for best actor, receiving his Oscar in 2005 for playing musician Ray Charles in Ray. Foxx has been a comedian, actor, singer, and producer. Foxx, who arose from obscurity, also starred in his namesake sitcom, "The Jamie Foxx Show," from 1996 through 2001.

Prepared for the Stage

Jamie Foxx was born Eric Bishop on December 13, 1967, in Terrell, Texas, to stockbroker Shaheed Abdullah and Louise Annette Talley--now surnamed Dixon through remarriage--in 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 effect 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.

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 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 Foxx...Is 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 drew a standing ovation from the audience, Foxx relied on talent, not gimmicks. Nonetheless, he kept his assumed name, 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 confidence level, and one auspicious stage outing, the newly named 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, including "Wanda, the Ugly Woman." In addition, his impersonations of celebrities such as fellow comedian/actor Bill Cosby and boxer Mike Tyson balanced mimicry and exaggeration. Foxx had elevated his entertainment with rehearsed artistry and contagious energy. And yet while he had thrived within Southern California comedy, 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 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 convert his stand-up characters into favorites of television comedy, and quickly developed a nationwide 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."

In Living Color was a gateway of opportunity for Foxx, catapulting him into many television and film engagements. 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 enabled 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, Foxx's resume was impressive enough to establish himself securely in comedy. The following year however, 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 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 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. 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." 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." 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, director Taylor Hackford told Newsweek that "Jamie was the best thing about that movie."

In the 2004 movie Ray, which Hackford also directed, Foxx played the title role of musician Ray Charles, and became the third African American to win an Oscar for best actor, following Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington. Preparing for his role, Foxx spent hours with Charles before his death, learning his mannerisms and speech patterns. He used his talent as a comic to mimic Charles, but with such sympathy and understanding that his characterization 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 Murphy--he's going to be the next Denzel [Washington]." Foxx also won a Golden Globe and a BET Award for Ray, and he received an Image Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Later in 2005, Foxx appeared in the films Stealth and Jarhead.

In 2006, Fox shared the BET award for best collaboration and video of the year with Kanye West for Gold Digger. He also starred in Miami Vice, released by Universal Pictures. In that same year, he proved his versatility when he released an album, Unpredictable, and won the NAACP Image Award for best male musical artist. In Billboard, he told Gail Mitchell, "Hats off to the people who do this every single day. The record business is tough. But as long as I got my mojo, I can get out there and do whatever."

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

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; Academy Award and Golden Globe award for best actor in Ray, 2005; BET Award, Black Entertainment Television, 2005, 2006; Image Award, NAACP, 2005, 2006.

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

* 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.
* Stealth, 2005.
* Jarhead, 2005.
* Miami Vice, 2005.

* Television

* In Living Color, 1991-94.
* C-Bear and Jamal, 1996.
* The Jamie Foxx Show, 1996-2001.
* Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story, 2004.

* Albums

* Unpredictable,, J Records, 2005.

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