Biography Profile: Jamie Foxx

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A talented singer, comedian and actor, Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx has proved to be a triple threat in the entertainment industry.

Who Is Jamie Foxx?

Born Eric Morlon Bishop on December 13, 1967, in Terrell, Texas, Jamie Foxx has emerged as one of the most diversely talented entertainers of his generation. Foxx started out on television as a cast member of In Living Color before landing his own sitcom in 1996. He then proved himself as a dramatic actor, earning an Academy Award for portraying Ray Charles in the 2004 biopic Ray. Two years later, Foxx impressed music fans with his hit collaboration with Kanye West on the song “Gold Digger.” His later films include Django Unchained, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Baby Driver.

Early Life

A talented singer, comedian and actor, Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx has proved to be a triple threat in the entertainment industry. After his parents’ marriage dissolved, Foxx was adopted by his maternal grandparents when he was less than a year old. He enjoyed sports and music as a child, and attended Terrell High School in his hometown.

After receiving a scholarship, Foxx enrolled at the U.S. International University in San Diego where he majored in music. It was during college that he was encouraged by friends to take the open mike one night at a comedy club, and his career in entertainment began.

TV and Movie Roles

‘In Living Color’ and ‘The Jamie Foxx Show’

Leaving college, Foxx moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy. In 1991 he was hired as a regular cast member on the Fox variety show In Living Color. Foxx left In Living Color in 1994, but in 1996 he returned to television with The Jamie Foxx Show, playing a struggling Los Angeles actor who lives in a hotel owned by his aunt and uncle.

‘Any Given Sunday,’ ‘Ali,’ ‘Collateral’

By the time his show ended in 2001, Foxx was beginning to be viewed as a talented dramatic actor. This was due in large part to his performance in the sports drama Any Given Sunday (1999). Playing football star Willie Beamen, Foxx showed incredible range in his performance and held his own against one of film’s greats, Al Pacino. His next notable film role was in Michael Mann’s Ali (2001), and he later earned praise for his performance opposite Tom Cruise in the thriller Collateral (2004).

Academy Award for ‘Ray’

While Collateral was a critical and commercial hit, Foxx drew more attention that year for his starring role as Ray Charles in the biopic Ray. Bringing the legendary R&B musician to life on the big screen, Foxx earned Best Actor wins at both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, cementing his place on the Hollywood A-list.

‘Stealth,’ ‘Jarhead’

Following Ray, Foxx took an interesting array of roles with mixed results. The military action film Stealth (2005), with Josh Lucas and Jessica Biel, was a critical and financial dud. That same year, he garnered some critical praise for his turn as a marine serving in the Middle East in Jarhead, with Jake Gyllenhaal, but the movie failed to attract much of an audience.

‘Miami Vice’ and ‘Dreamgirls’

After teaming up with Colin Farrell for Michael Mann’s big screen adaptation of the popular 1980s cop show Miami Vice (2006), Foxx co-starred in Dreamgirls (2006), with Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé, as a scheming car saleman who becomes a manager for R&B star James Thunder Early (played by Eddie Murphy). His character then transforms Early’s backup singers, the Dreamettes, into an all-female supergroup. The film is loosely based on the ’60s pop group the Supremes.

‘The Kingdom,’ ‘The Soloist,’ ‘Horrible Bosses,’ ‘Rio’

Foxx then featured prominently in The Kingdom (2007), a thriller about a terrorist attack on Americans in Saudi Arabia. In 2009 he portrayed Nathaniel Ayers in the drama The Soloist, with Robert Downey Jr., and starred in Law Abiding Citizen. Returning to lighter fare, Foxx appeared in the 2010 romantic comedy Valentine’s Day, with Jessica Biel and Jennifer Garner. He also had a supporting role in the workplace comedy Horrible Bosses (2011), starring Jason BatemanJennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey, and lent his voice to the animated children’s film Rio the following year.

‘Django Unchained’

In late 2012 Foxx burst back onto the big screen with a leading role in Quentin Tarantino’s action western Django Unchained. He starred as Django, a freed slave who teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to find his wife (Kerry Washington) and face off against the plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) who has her captive. The cast also included Samuel L. Jackson and Jonah Hill.

‘White House Down,’ ‘Spider-Man 2,’ ‘Annie’

Foxx then co-starred in the 2013 action film White House Down as President Sawyer, opposite Channing Tatum. In 2014 he reprised earlier roles in Rio 2 and Horrible Bosses 2; played the villain Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and took on the role of the Daddy Warbucks-like William Stacks for a remake of Annie.

‘Sleepless,’ ‘Baby Driver,’ ‘Robin Hood’

Following this busy year, Foxx took a break from film, before resurfacing in 2017 with the crime flicks Sleepless and Baby Driver. In May 2018 it was announced that he would star in an adaptation of the popular comic book series Spawn, to be directed by the character’s creator, Todd McFarlane. In late 2018 Foxx joined the remake of Robin Hood as the titular character’s trusted friend Little John, and the following year he was slated to co-star in the sports comedy All-Star Weekend.

Musical Success and Albums

‘Peep This,’ ‘Unpredictable’

Foxx began professionally exploring his interest in music during the 1990s, releasing the album Peep This in 1994. With its traditional, smooth R&B sound, the album reached No. 12 on the R&B and hip-hop charts, its single “Infatuation” attracting attention from listeners and radio stations. In 2006, Foxx released a new album, Unpredictable. The recording reached the top of the pop, R&B and hip-hop charts, driven by the title track single, “DJ Play a Love Song,” and “Can I Take You Home.” At the 2006 Black Entertainment Television Awards, Foxx won Best Duet/Collaboration with Kanye West for his work on the single “Gold Digger.”

‘Intuition,’ ‘Best Night of My Life,’ ‘Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses’

Foxx released his third album, Intuition, in 2008, which featured West and Lil Wayne, among others. The album’s second single, “Blame It,” hit No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Foxx enjoyed more success with his follow-up albums Best Night of My Life (2010) and Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses (2015).

Relationship with Katie Holmes and Personal

Foxx, who has two daughters, became romantically involved with actress Katie Holmes sometime after her split from Tom Cruise in 2012, though they remained tight-lipped about their relationship for many years. In August 2019 it was reported that the couple had broken up.

Foxx has occasionally found himself in legal trouble. He was arrested in 2003 following an altercation with security guards at a New Orleans casino, ultimately drawing two years’ probation. In 2018, a woman accused the actor of attacking her after she refused to partake in sexual activity with him in 2002. Foxx called the allegations “absurd” and said he would pursue legal action against his accuser.

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