Terrence Howard

Active - 1992 - 2020  |   Born - Mar 11, 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, United States  |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Cammila Collar

Though Terrence Howard's great grandmother Minnie Gentry was a successful New York stage actress, Howard didn't venture onto the screen himself until the age of twenty. Raised in a multiracial Jehovah's Witness household, the young man studied chemical engineering at Pratt Institute before being discovered on the street in New York. This quickly led to appearances on such television shows as Coach, Street Legal, Living Single, and Picket Fences. His breakout role in 1995's Mr. Holland's Opus helped pave the way for Howard's film career, as did his critically acclaimed performance as Cowboy in the Hughes brothers film Dead Presidents.

By the time he took the role of Quentin in 1999's The Best Man, Howard had established a reputation as an actor of both skill and integrity. The new millennium finally brought Howard work that showcased his talent and made him a well-known name, like his role in the Paul Haggis film Crash, as well as his work in the John Singleton's Four Brothers. He also attracted the spotlight on the small screen with parts in the acclaimed TV films Their Eyes Were Watching God with Halle Berry, and Lackawanna Blues with S. Epatha Merkerson. This set the stage for his career-making performance as a pimp desperate to create a new life for himself as a musician in Hustle & Flow, for which he earned an Oscar nomination.

Over the coming years, Howard would remain a vital force on screen, appearing in several films, likeGet Rich or Die Tryin', Idlewild, Iron Man, and On the Road. In 2013, he played a supporting role in Lee Daniel's The Butler and reprised his role in The Best Man Holiday. Howard returned to television in Fox's smash-hit Empire, playing music mogul Lucious Lyon.

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  • Grew up in Cleveland.
  • Is the great-grandson of stage actress Minnie Gentry.
  • First professional acting job was a bit part in a Cosby Show episode; after his appearance was left out of the final edit, he went to Bill Cosby himself to find out why his role was cut.
  • Portrayed Jackie Jackson in a 1992 TV movie about the Jackson family called The Jacksons: An American Dream.
  • After several studio executives said they were willing to bankroll Hustle & Flow only if someone other than Howard played the lead role, producer John Singleton helped finance the film himself rather than recast the part.
  • Made his Broadway debut portraying Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 2008.
  • Released his debut album as a singer, Shine Through It, in 2008.
  • Became an honorary member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity in 2010. 
  • Enjoys restoring historic homes.