Laurence Fishburne
Laurence Fishburne
as Pops Johnson

Actor Biography

Laurence J. Fishburne III has achieved an impressive body of work not only as an actor but also as a producer and director.

In 1992, he won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Theatre World, and Tony Awards for his portrayal of Sterling Johnson in August Wilson's Two Trains Running, directed by Lloyd Richards. The following year, his performance as Martin in The Box episode of the television series Tribeca, directed by Michael Dinner, earned him an Emmy Award. Mr. Fishburne was an Academy Award nominee as Best Actor in 1994 for his portrayal of Ike Turner in Brian Gibson's What's Love Got to do With It, opposite Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett.

He was an Emmy Award nominee and an NAACP Image Award winner for his starring role in the 1997 telefilm Miss Evers' Boys, which he executive produced.  Based on the true story of the Tuskegee Study, Miss Evers' Boys was awarded five Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie and the coveted President's Award, which honors a program that illuminates a social or educational issue.

Mr. Fishburne has been acting since the age of 10, starring on the daily television drama One Life to Live before making his feature film debut at age 12 in Cornbread, Earl and Me, directed by Joseph Manduke. At 14, he was cast in a show being staged by the Negro Ensemble Company and also accepted to the High School of Performing Arts. At age 15, he was cast in Francis Ford Coppola's classic Apocalypse Now.

His many other motion pictures include Academy Award nominee John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood; Richard T. Heffron's telefilm A Rumor of War; Michael Schultz's telefilm For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story; Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club, and Gardens of Stone, all directed by Francis Ford Coppola; Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple; Spike Lee's School Daze; Abel Ferrara's King of New York; Robert Markowitz's telefilms Decoration Day and The Tuskegee Airmen, for which he received an NAACP Image Award as well as Golden Globe, Emmy and CableACE Award nominations; Michael Apted's Class Action and telefilm Always Outnumbered, the latter adapted by Walter Moseley from his own book and executive produced by Mr. Fishburne; Bill Duke's Deep Cover and Hoodlum, the latter of which he executive produced; Steven Zaillian's Searching for Bobby Fischer; Mr. Singleton's Higher Learning, for which Mr. Fishburne won an NAACP Image Award; Oliver Parker's Othello, opposite Kenneth Branagh and Irène Jacob; the Wachowksis's three blockbuster The Matrix movies; Clint Eastwood's Mystic River; Emilio Estevez's Bobby, for which he shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination with his fellow actors from the ensemble; Nimród Antal's Armored and Predators; Jon Avnet's "Hallmark Hall of Fame" telefilm Have a Little Faith; Tim Story's sleeper hit Ride Along; and Zack Snyder's Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman.

In 1999, he starred as King Henry II, opposite Stockard Channing, in the Roundabout Theater Company's Broadway revival of James Goldman's The Lion in Winter, staged by Michael Mayer.

Mr. Fishburne has also served as an Ambassador for UNICEF since 1996. In 2007, he was honored by Harvard University as Artist of the Year for his Outstanding Contributions to American and International Performing Arts as well as his humanitarian contributions.

Fishburne founded Cinema Gypsy Productions with his longtime manager and producing partner, Helen Sugland, in 2000. They have produced numerous nominated and award-winning projects, including Thurgood (HBO), Five Fingers (Lionsgate), Akeelah and the Bee (Lionsgate), Once in the Life (Lionsgate), Always Out Numbered (HBO), Hoodlum (United Artists), and Miss Evers Boys (HBO).

In 2006, he starred in Alfred Uhry's drama Without Walls, directed by Christopher Ashley, at the Center Theatre Group's Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and was awarded Best Actor at the NAACP Theater Awards. That same year, Mr. Fishburne reteamed with his frequent acting partner Angela Bassett at The Pasadena Playhouse in August Wilson's Fences, directed by Samuel Epps; the production broke the Playhouse's sales record with a sold-out run.

Mr. Fishburne received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Thurgood Marshall in 2011, broadcast as an adaptation of his one-man show, Thurgood. He originated the role in the Broadway debut of the play, written by George Stevens, Jr., and directed Leonard Foglia, again earning a Tony Award nomination and winning Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. He also reprised the portrayal at Los Angeles's Geffen Playhouse and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Fishburne can be seen alongside Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross in the hit ABC series black-ish, for which he serves as executive producer through Cinema Gypsy. His performance garnered him a Peoples' Choice Award nomination for Favorite Actor in a New TV Show and a NAACP Image Award win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Additionally, in 2016, black-ish received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Previously, he starred on the hit series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for three seasons, and appeared alongside Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen in the NBC thriller series Hannibal.

Mr. Fishburne recently starred in Warner Bros.' blockbuster Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and A&E's miniseries remake of Roots, alongside Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin. The Roots remake premiered with universal acclaim, and Fishburne received a 2016 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Narrator as Alex Haley.

In his latest project with Cinema Gypsy Productions, Madiba, Mr. Fishburne portrays Nelson Mandela in the landmark miniseries about the politician's life, set to release in 2017. Additionally, he appeared alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in the film Passengers, released in December 2016.