Dramatic actor Laurence Fishburne gained widespread acclaim and an Oscar nomination for his gripping performance as the Svengali-like Ike_Turner in the Tina_Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It (1993) and went on to rack up an impressive string of credits playing leads and supporting roles on stage, screen, and television.
Born in Augusta, GA, the sole child of a corrections officer and an educator, Fishburne was raised in Brooklyn following his parents' divorce. An unusually sensitive child with a natural gift for acting, he was taken to various New York stage auditions before landing his first professional role at the age of ten. Two years later, he made his feature film debut with a major role in Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975). A turning point in the young actor's career came when he lied about his age and won the role of a young Navy gunner in Francis_Ford_Coppola's Apocalypse_Now. On location in the Philippines, the teenage actor effectively bade farewell to childhood as he endured the many legendary problems that befell Coppola's production over the next two years. In between shooting days, Fishburne hung out with the adult actors, often exposing himself to their offscreen drinking and drugging antics.
Back in Hollywood by the late '70s, he continued playing small supporting roles in features and on television. Like many black actors, he was frequently relegated to playing thugs and young hoodlums. He would continue to appear in Coppola productions like Rumble_Fish (1983) and The_Cotton_Club (1984) throughout the 1980s. Wanting a change from playing heavies, he accepted a recurring role as friendly Cowboy Curtis opposite Paul_Reubens on the loopy CBS children's series Pee-Wee's Playhouse. By the early '90s, Fishburne had begun to escape the stereotypical roles of his early career. In 1990, he played a psychotic hit man opposite Christopher Walken in Abel_Ferrara's King of New York and a chess-playing hustler in Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993). Following his great success in the Tina_Turner biopic, he became one of Hollywood's most prolific actors, appearing in films such as John_Singleton's Higher_Learning (1995). Fishburne, who had known Singleton when the latter was a security guard on the Pee-Wee's Playhouse set, had previously appeared in the director's debut film Boyz 'N the Hood (1991). After Higher_Learning came Othello (1995) and Always_Outnumbered, which he also produced. Fishburne had previously produced Hoodlum (1997), in which he also starred. In 1999, he stepped into blockbuster territory with his starring role in the stylish sci-fi action film The Matrix. Increasingly geared towards /action films, Fishburne could be seen in the fast and furious motorcycle flick Biker Boyz as fans prepared for the release of the upcoming Matrix sequels.
In addition to his work in cinema, Fishburne has established a distinguished stage career, winnin