May. 12th, 1959
New York City, New York, USA.
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Irving "Ving" Rhames was born in New York City, New York, and grew up in Harlem, New York. A good student, Ving entered the New York High School of Performing Arts, where he discovered his love of acting. He studied at the Julliard School of Drama, and began his career in New York theater. He first appeared on Broadway in the play "The Winter Boys" in 1984. Ving continued his rise to fame through his work in soap operas. He found work as a supporting actor, and came to the attention of the general public in Pulp Fiction (1994). Strikingly featured and muscular African American actor who was born and raised in Harlem, New York. Irving "Ving" Rhames had studied dramatic arts at the New York High School of Performing Arts and then at the Julliard School of Drama. After graduating from Julliard, Rhames went on to perform in Shakespeare in the Park productions. In 1984, he appeared in front of the camera's for the first time in the TV movie Go Tell It on the Mountain (1985) (TV), and was then quickly cast in minor roles in several popular TV shows including "Miami Vice" (1984), "Tour of Duty" (1987) and "Crime Story" (1986). In a remarkable turn of events, whilst filming The Saint of Fort Washington (1993) in New York, he was introduced to a homeless man, who turned out to be his long lost, older brother, Junior, who had lost contact with the family after serving in Vietnam. The thrilled Rhames immediately assisted his disheveled brother in getting proper food & clothing, and moving him into his own apartment.
His next big break came in 1994 when director Quentin Tarantino cast him as the merciless drug dealer Marsellus Wallace in the mega hit Pulp Fiction (1994). Not long after, director Brian De Palma cast Rhames alongside Tom Cruise as the ace computer hacker, Luther Stickell in Mission: Impossible (1996). With solid performances in both these highly popular productions, his face was now well known to movie goers, and the work offers began rolling in more frequently.
The next career highlight was playing the lead role in the HBO production of Don King: Only in America (1997) (TV). Rhames' performance as the world's most infamous boxing promoter was nothing short of brilliant, and at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards he picked up the award for Best Actor in a MiniSeries. However, in an incredible display of compassion, he handed over the award to fellow nominee Jack Lemmon (I), as he felt Lemmon was a more deserving winner!
The talented actor then contributed attention grabbing performances in Bringing Out the Dead (1999), returned as Luther Stickell in Mission: Impossible II (2000), contributed his deep bass voice for the character of Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch (2002), and played a burly cop fighting cannibal zombie hordes in Dawn of the Dead (2004). A keen fitness & weight lifting enthusiast, Rhames is also well known for his strong spiritual beliefs and benevolent attitude towards other people.
- Spent two years as part of the acting class of 1982 at the State University of New York at Purchase (SUNY Purchase) before returning to Julliard.
- Invited to join AMPAS in 2006.
- In 1993, during the filming of The Saint of Fort Washington in New York City, Rhames was unexpectedly reunited with his brother, Junior, a troubled, homeless Vietnam veteran who'd been estranged from the Rhames family for years.
- Engaged to Deborah Reed (2000).
- He says people are often surprised that he isn't bigger in person, as he stands a little bit less than 6 feet tall and weighs a little over 200 pounds. He is, however, quite strong for his size, being able to bench press over 300 pounds.
- Was considered for the role of Ben in _Night of the Living Dead (1990)_ (qv). He later starred in _Dawn of the Dead (2004)_ (qv) and _Day of the Dead (2008)_ (qv).
- Won a Golden Globe in 1998 for best actor in a TV miniseries for his performance in HBO's _Don King: Only in America (1997) (TV)_ (qv). At the ceremony Rhames gave his award to 'Jack Lemmon (I)' (qv), saying "I feel that being an artist is about giving, and I'd like to give this to you." Lemmon was clearly touched by the gesture, as was the celebrity audience, who gave Lemmon a standing ovation. Lemmon, who tried unsuccessfully to give the award back to Rhames, said it was "one of the sweetest moments I've ever known in my life." The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced later that they would have a duplicate award prepared for Rhames.
- He credits his strong religious faith as a key to his success.