Entering the industry as a stand-in and extra in Ernest R. Dickerson's directorial debut, the hip-hop classic "Juice" (1992; starring Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps), Bokeem Woodbine, son of an actress mother, has since amassed an impressive string of credits in a variety of film projects, including "Jason's Lyric" (1994), "Panther" (1995), "Dead Presidents" (1995), "Freeway" (1996), "The Rock" (1996), "Caught Up" (1998), "The Big Hit" (1998), "Life" (1999), "BlackMale" (2000), "3000 Miles to Graceland" (2001), "Ray" (2004), "Edmond" (2005) and "Blood of a Champion" (2006). He will next be seen in the upcoming films "The Fifth Commandment," "The Poker House," "Letting Go" and "Caught on Tape."
On the small screen, the 6' strikingly handsome actor has guest starred in such popular TV shows as "The X Files," "New York Undercover," "The Sopranos," "Soul Food," "City of Angels," "CSI: Miami," "Bones," "Shark" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." He now plays Leon Cooley, an inmate on death row, in the TNT crime/drama series "Saving Grace," starring Academy Award-winner Holly Hunter in her first TV series. The show that premiered July 16, 2007.
Childhood and Family:
In Harlem, New York, Bokeem Woodbine was born on April 13, 1973, to an actress mother. He attended the prestigious Dalton School in New York before transferring to the LaGuardia School of Music and Art in the city. He was an Instrumental Music Major, and the lead singer for the band, Mazard!
Bokeem, nicknamed ''Bo,'' is also a talented rock musician who both composes songs and plays the guitar. A formidable martial artist, he studied Kung Fu in Asia.
Blood of a Champion
With the encouragement of his actress mother, Bokeem Woodbine entered the show biz at age 19 as a stand-in and extra in Ernest R. Dickerson's directorial debut, the hip-hop classic "Juice" (1992), starring Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps. In the following year, he made his TV acting debut in the "CBS Schoolbreak Special" entitled "Love Off Limits." His appearance was noticed by casting director Jaki Brown-Karman who later recommended him to Forest Whitaker for the latter's directorial effort, "Strapped" (HBO; 1993), in which he co-starred with Michael Biehn.
After playing a small part in Spike Lee's semi-biographical film "Crooklyn" (1994; with Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, David Patrick Kelly and Zelda Harris), Woodbine landed a featured role in Doug McHenry's romantic drama film "Jason's Lyric" (1994), as the title role's (played by Allen Payne) bad brother Joshua, who obviously bound for a violent end, dealing drugs for short-term cash and joining a gang plotting a bank robbery. In the following year, he secured breakthrough screen roles in writer/director Mario Van Peebles' semi-historic film about the origins of The Black Panther Party of Self-Defense, "Panther," portraying a Panther member named Tyrone, and in the Hughes Brothers' fact-based action/thriller film "Dead Presidents," as Cleon, a religious yet deadly Staff Sergeant.
Woodbine subsequently co-starred with Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland and Brooke Shields in writer/director Matthew Bright's dark comedy/thriller film "Freeway" (1996), a modern riff on the Little Red Riding Hood story, and was cast alongside Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris for Michael Bay's blockbuster action movie "The Rock" (1996), as Sergeant Crisp. That same year, he also appeared in the music video for 2Pac (Tupac Shakur), "I Ain't Mad Atcha."
In 1997, Woodbine had an uncredited role as Mud in Vondie Curtis-Hall's directorial debut, "Gridlock'd," an intelligent dark comedy starring Tupac Shakur, Tim Roth and Thandie Newton, and was spotted as a guest in an episode of Fox cop drama series "New York Undercover." Afterwards, he was paired with Cynda Williams, playing her ex-con new boyfriend Daryl, in writer/director Darin Scott's crime/drama film "Caught Up," played an assassin team member for a mob boss in Kirk Wong's comedy-action movie "The Big Hit," starring Mark Wahlberg and Lou Diamond Phillips, and co-starred with Chris Farley and Matthew Perry in Christopher Guest's comedy film "Almost Heroes" (all three in 1998). He also collaborated with John Goodman, Courteney Cox Arquette, Ron Eldard and Joe Mantegna in Ron Moler's drama/thriller "The Runner" and portrayed a deaf mute named Can't Get Right in Ted Demme's comedy drama starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, "Life" (both in 1999).
Entering the new millennium, Woodbine was featured as a regular on the NBC midseason sitcom "Battery Park" and played Dr. Damon Bradley in the CBS short-lived medical drama "City of Angels," the latter of which earned him an Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. He also guest starred in an episode of Showtime popular drama series "Soul Food," starred as FBI Agent Gottfried in the TV movie based on Mitchell Smith's novel, "Sacrifice," and teamed with Justin Pierce playing two desperate con-men trying to blackmail a psychotic doctor who may just be a serial killer in the Baluzy Brothers' thriller film "BlackMale." Additionally, he appeared in Wu Tang Clan's music videos for their songs "The Jump-Off," "Gravel Pit," and "Careful."
2001 saw Woodbine teaming up with Christian Slater and David Arquette to plan a daring raid on the Riviera Hotel Casino in Las Vegas during International Elvis Week in the thriller feature "3000 Miles to Graceland," and played an FBI agent who teams with a ''good'' vampire cop (played by Adrian Paul) in "The Breed," which aired on Starz! in lieu of a theatrical release. He also lent his voice alongside Kevin Costner and Christian Slater in the short animated film "Road to Graceland."
After reteaming with Christian Slater in the action/adventure film "Hard Cash" (2002; aka "Run for the Money") and co-starring with Elizabeth Berkley and Randall Batinkoff in Jonathan Winfrey's action/drama thriller film "Detonator" (2003), Woodbine went to portray prolific saxophonist David ''Fathead'' Newman in the Oscar-winning biopic about legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, "Ray" (2004; starring Jamie Foxx), directed by Taylor Hackford. Meanwhile, he starred in the made-for-TV movies "Sniper 2" (2002), "Jasper, Texas" (2003) and "Why Blitt?" (2004), as well as guest starred in an episode of Fox action series "Fastlane" and CBS cop/crime drama "CSI: Miami."
In the next years, Woodbine played a cop in the drama/thriller "The Circle" (2005), played a prisoner in Stuart Gordon's film adaptation of David Mamet's play, "Edmond" (2005; starring William H. Macy), and starred as Deborah Cox's once-promising boxer husband who spent ten years in prison and finds it difficult to readjust to civilian life, in the dramatic film "Blood of a Champion" (2006). He also appeared alongside Tamala Jones in a small drama/sci-fi film called "Confessions" and in an independent film titled "The Champagne Gang" (both in 2006). On the small screen, he could be seen in an episode of Fox ongoing crime-drama "Bones" and ABC short-lived cop drama "The Evidence," as well as two episodes of Spike TV program based on the Marvel Comics character and popular film series, "Blade: The Series."
Recently, in 2007, Woodbine appeared in Sticky Fingaz' musical drama film "A Day in the Life," starring Omar Epps and Mekhi Phifer, Jesse Johnson's low-budget sci-fi/action "The Last Sentinel," alongside Don 'The Dragon' Wilson and Katee Sackhoff, and Jesse V. Johnson's actioner "The Butcher," opposite Eric Roberts. He also landed a series regular, as Leon Cooley, an inmate on death row, in the TNT crime/drama series "Saving Grace," starring Academy Award-winner Holly Hunter in her first TV series. The show that premiered July 16, 2007 is rated TV-MA for language, sexuality, and violence. Meanwhile, he was spotted as a guest on CBS legal drama starring James Woods, "Shark," and NBC/USA Network's crime/legal drama "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." He also appeared in the TV commercial for VisitLasVegas.com.
Woodbine has completed his upcoming film, "The Fifth Commandment," an action/adventure by director Jesse V. Johnson, and "The Poker House," a drama directed by Lori Petty. He is currently filming writer/director Jake Torem's "Letting Go" and writer/director/actor Sticky Fingaz's "Caught on Tape," along with Vivica A. Fox and Cedric the Entertainer.