A native of Flint, MI, who played in the NFL for seven years before segueing into film, athlete-turned-actor Terry Crews made his television debut on the small-screen sports entertainment show Battle Dome and has since moved on to appear in films by such disparate directors as David Lynch, Mike Judge, and David Ayer.
During high school, Crews studied at Interlochen Art Academy, and he continued on to Western Michigan University for college; it was during his freshman year that he first took to the gridiron, and after making an impression as a Mid-American Conference defensive end, he solidified his reputation as a star player by leading his team to the Mid-American Conference championship in 1988. Crews married longtime wife Rebecca the day before his 21st birthday, and later went on to have an impressive professional football career while playing for the L.A. Rams, the San Diego Chargers, and the Washington Redskins. Though he had originally intended to become a special-effects artist, Crews gradually became aware of the power of his onscreen charisma when he accepted a role in the short-lived television series Battle Dome in 1999. Despite the fact that only a few episodes of the seires ever made it to the airwaves, the experience left Crews convinced that he had found his calling.
Few lifelong actors could even dream of landing roles in such major motion pictures as The 6th Day, Training Day, and Friday After Next so early in their careers, but that's precisely what Crews did, and he has never looked back since. The actor's hulking frame made him an ideal candidate for intimidating onscreen figures, and his disarming sense of humor has found him developing a distinct comic persona in such films as Starsky & Hutch, Soul Plane, White Chicks, and The Longest Yard while also winning over viewers on the small screen with his role as Chris Rock's father on Everybody Hates Chris. As a supporting player, Crews consistently impresses, with his little-seen role as former professional wrestler-turned-President of the United States in Beavis and Butt-Head creator Judge's Idiocracy (2006) offering a telling example of how far he is willing to go to get a laugh. That same year, Crews showed his impressive range by making a brief appearance in surrealist specialist Lynch's Inland Empire, with comic roles in Norbit, Who's Your Caddy?, and Balls of Fury following in short order.
2008 proved a busy year for Crews. In addition to his continued work on Everybody Hates Chris, he co-starred in the police drama Street Kings, as well as director Peter Segal's revamp of the classic comedy series Get Smart. Crews played a member of a motley gang of mercenaries in 2010's action blockbuster The Expendables (he reprised this role for the film's sequel in 2012).