Owing his unique, smoldering good looks to his German mother and West African father, actor Boris Kodjoe first caught the attention of Hollywood casting agents in the pages of major men's magazines, as one of the most highly sought-after male models of the late '90s. The former star tennis player delayed a career in marketing -- his major in college at Virginia Commonwealth University -- for a chance to be the subject of fashion spreads from such photographers as Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber. The exposure led him to Hollywood, where he first found roles as a romantic heavy on television, and eventually a steady gig on the small-screen version of Soul Food. Despite starring roles in a pair of independent features (The Gospel and Doing Hard Time), Kodjoe's big-screen breakthrough would come courtesy of the second feature in writer/director Tyler Perry's popular Madea series, 2006's Madea's Family Reunion.
Biography by Michael Hastings
- First job was at age 9, feeding the animals when a circus came to his German town.
- Played junior tennis and in 1988 was ranked seventh in the world; awarded tennis scholarship to Virginia Commonwealth University, and was the first VCU player to win the Rolex Region II Indoor Tennis Championship (in 1995); an injury forced him to quit the sport.
- Had a successful modeling career in Europe.
- Introduced to the TV audience in 1999 on The Steve Harvey Show.
- Featured in the TV adaptation of the 1997 hit movie Soul Food, during which he met his future wife, costar Nicole Ari Parker.
- Big-screen debut was in the 2000 romantic film Love & Basketball.
- In 2002, named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People magazine, and received the first of several NAACP Imagine Award nominations.
- After daughter was diagnosed with spina bifida, started Sophie's Voice Foundation to assist other children coping with the birth defect.
- First performed on Broadway in April 2008 in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
- Can speak four languages: German, English, French and Spanish.
- Likes to sing and has recorded an album that was never released.