Malcolm & Eddie
A well-liked comic turned actor who begin his career on-stage as a dare, funnyman Eddie Griffin won over an outsized audience with his plain-spoken comedy routines, but attained even more people as an actor, standing out especially in comedic roles, but showing more than competent of dramatic fare as well. The bright and energetic comedian is probably best known to TV viewers for his role as the non-interventionist twenty-something tow-truck driver in “Malcolm & Eddie” (1996-2000), one of UPN’s most triumphant and long-running sitcoms. The Image nominee also served as writer, producer and director of select episodes, as well as co-writing the theme song with co-star and ex-“Cosby” kid Malcolm-Jamal Warner.
As a film actor, Griffin made a name for himself as an accomplished supporting player with his remarkable turns in such vehicles as Jason’s Lyric (1994), Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999), Double Take (2001 and Denzel Washington’s thriller John Q (2002) before reaching a leading man-status with his role as Anton Jackson in the 2002 hit comedy feature Undercover Brother. His other film credits include The Walking Dead (1995), Armageddon (1998), Foolish (1999), Scary Movie 3 (2003), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005), Date Movie (2006), Irish Jam (2006) and Who Made the Potatoe Salad? (2006). Moviegoers should not miss the American performer’s impressive performance in such forthcoming projects as Norbit (2007), Once Upon a Time in the Hood (2007), The Other Side (2007) and Bunyan and Babe (2007).
As for his private life, Griffin, who was once named Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time,” is married to Rochelle Lyn. As a teenager, he had a short-lived marriage with Carla. 5’ 6½” tall Griffin is the father of 20-year-old Eddie Griffin Jr.
Childhood and Family:
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Eddie Griffin was born on July 15, 1968. He attended Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri and went on to study at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was voted class clown three times in a row. An aspiring comedian, Eddie relocated to Los Angeles and soon became a darling performer at the Comedy Store.
Eddie married first wife Carla when he was sixteen years old, but the marriage ended in separation a year later. After the divorce, he joined the Navy and then found himself serving a six-month jail sentence for stabbing soon after being discharged from the Navy. Eddie tried to build a new family in 2002 by marrying Rochelle Lyn. He has a son named Eddie Griffin Jr. (born 1986).
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri Eddie Griffin opened a dance studio at age 15, and after a short-lived teenage nuptials and stints in both the US Navy and prison, made his return to his choreography roots before deciding to accept a dare to take the stage on amateur night at a local night club. He ended up winning $50 bet and the rest is history.
Following a move to Los Angeles, Griffin, who soon developed a special style reminiscent of such classic comics as Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor, got additional exposure opening for comedian Andrew Dice Clay on a 22-city tour and later in a string of impromptu performances at Los Angeles’ renowned Comic Store. The comedian also became part in Andrew Dice Clay’s concert film Dice Rules (1991) and toured with Robert Townsend and the vocal group The Dells in a series of countrywide promotional appearances for the film The Five Heartbeats, that same year. Quickly following with appearances on the HBO Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam and a Cable Ace Award-nominated special, Griffin started branching out into acting.
Kicking off his film career with a small role as M.C. in the Bruce Willis-Damon Wayans action vehicle The Last Boy Scout (1991), Griffin went on to undertook roles in such projects as the comedy feature adaptation Coneheads (1993), the urban superhero comedy The Meteor Man (1993), in which he reunited with director-writer-actor Robert Townsend, and made his guest starring debut on an episode of Fox’s series “Roc” (1993), as an daunting hustler. A year later, he starred in his own show, “HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Eddie Griffin,” a HBO special which earned a CableAce nomination. The same year, he demonstrated his acting talent with a notable performance as Rat in the fascinating inner-city set drama Jason’s Lyric, which starred Allen Payne, and worked again with Payne for 1995’s The Walking Dead, a war film which cast both Griffin and Payne as African-American soldiers.
Griffin’s acting career gained real impetus in 1996 when he landed a costarring regular role opposite Malcolm Jamal Warner in the UPN sitcom “Malcolm & Eddie” (1996-2000), where he also served as producer and writer of select episodes. As insistently enthusiastic tow truck owner Edward Otis ‘Eddie’ Sherman, he won both the hearts of critics and audience and even took home an Image nod in 2000, for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series.
A popular face on television, Griffin’s movie appearance became more frequent. Two years after landing the successful gig, he had small role in the mega blockbuster Armageddon (1998, rejoined Bruce Willis), and the next year once again showed his acting skills with memorable performances in the comedy Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, starring Rob Schneider, and Foolish, starring in the title role, a wannabe stand up comedian who joins forces with his brother, an aspiring big time gangster, to achieve their respective goals. The actor then supported Woody Allen and Sharon Stone in the black comedy Picking up the Pieces (2000) and costarred with Orlando Jones in Double Take (2001), but it was not until 2002 that Griffin’s film career gained further boost. He provided laughter to the Denzel Washington thriller John Q and took the eponymous lead, Anton Jackson, in the hit comedy Undercover Brother. He offered a spot-on spoof of Laurence Fishburne’s conceited “Matrix” character Morpheus as Orpheus in the horror satire Scary Movie 3, the next year. Still in 2003, he also penned and starred in the documentary DysFunKtional Family, directed by George Gallo. 2004 saw Griffin produce, write and star, with Anthony Anderson, in the little-seen comedy My Baby’s Daddy, which mark his screenwriting debut, have the title character in Pryor Offenses, a Showtime film based on the legendary comedian Richard Pryor, and team with Vinnie Jones in Blast!, an action feature helmed by Anthony Hickox. He returned to his role of T.J. Hicks in the needless installment Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo in 2005.
Recently, in 2006, Griffin portrayed Frank Jones in Date Movie, a comedy spoof of romantic movies co-directed and co-wrote by Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, starred as a two-faced American rapper in the comedy Irish Jam, had a supporting role in Damon ‘Coke’ Daniels’ Who Made the Potatoe Salad?, and more recently, appeared in The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006, TV) and the action feature Redline (2006). As for his upcoming ventures, Griffin is scheduled to have roles in the comedy/romance Norbit (2007), the action Once Upon a Time in the Hood (2007), David Michaels’ The Other Side (2007) and Jim Rygiel’s adventure Bunyan and Babe (2007).