“My personal standard of the pursuit of quality work challenges me to be the best actor that I can be. I really couldn't be less interested in the fame or the fortune. I don't wish to be unknown, but I just like the work.” Harry Lennix
An active actor since the late 1980s, Harry Lennix, also known as Harry J. Lennix, has appeared in a number of television and film projects as well as on stage. He took home a Golden Satellite Award for his supporting role of Aaron in Julie Taymor's “Titus” (1999) and received a Black Reel Award for his starring role of Adam in the television film “Keep the Faith, Baby” (2002). The talented performer also nabbed a Screen Actors Guild nomination for his work in the critically acclaimed biographical film “Ray” (2004) and an Image nomination for the ABC series “Commander in Chief” (2005-2006). Lennix's film credits include Robert Townsend's “The Five Heartbeats” (1991), Spike Lee's “Clockers” (1995) and “Get on the Bus” (1996), “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” (both 2003), “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” (2004), “Resurrecting the Champ” (2007) and “State of Play” (2009). The Chicago native has also appeared in numerous television series, including “ER,” “Diagnosis Murder” and “24” and portrayed the role of Boyd Langton in Fox's “Dollhouse” (2009-2010).
Lennix currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife Djena Nichole Graves. He serves on the advisory board of the Congo Square Theater in Chicago and The Robey Theater in Los Angeles and sits on the Northwestern University Advisory Council.
Childhood and Family:
Harry Joseph Lennix III was born on November 16, 1964, in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Harry Lennix, was from Louisiana and worked as a mechanic, and his mother, Lillian Cleo, was a laundress. He is the youngest of three boys and one girl. Always an A student, Harry graduated from Quigley Preparatory Seminary South in Chicago in 1982 and then attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he was an acting and directing major. While at college, he was known in “Who's Who Among American College Students.” He received his BS in 1986 and after graduation, taught music and English for several years in the Chicago public school system. He later moved to New York and later Los Angeles, California.
On June 27, 2009, Harry married Djena Nichole Graves.
Keep the Faith, Baby
Harry Lennix began his career in the Chicago theater scene. In 1988, he was cast in August Wilson's musical “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” at the Pegasus Players Theatre in Chicago and was awarded the 1988 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role in a Musical or Revue for his performance. He received his next Joseph Jefferson Award Citation the next year thanks to his performance in Trevor Cowper's play “Caught in the Act” (1989), at Chicago's Lifeline Theatre. The same year, Lennix set up Legacy Productions in Chicago with Chuck Smith, a colleague from the Goodman Theatre.
It was also in 1989 that Lennix made his feature debut in “The Package” (1989), a political thriller directed by Andrew Davis that starred Gene Hackman, Joanna Cassidy and Tommy Lee Jones. He also made his television movie debut in the biopic “A Mother's Courage: The Mary Thomas Story,” starring Alfre Woodard as Mary Thomas. With the hope of further pursuing his career, Lennix later left Chicago for New York City and eventually settled in Los Angeles, California.
Entering the 1990s, Lennix appeared in the television films “Perry Mason: The Case of the Defiant Daughter” (1990), starring Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale and William R. Moses, and “In the Best Interest of the Children” (1992), a fact based drama starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Sally Struthers and Lexi Randall. In between, Lennix landed the role of Terrence “Dresser” Williams in the musical drama “The Five Heartbeats” (1991), which was directed, co-written and produced by Robert Townsend, who also starred in the film. The movie enjoyed moderate success at the box office, but was not well received by critics.
Lennix next played the supporting role of Tom Dilton in “Mo' Money” (1992), a film starring Damon Wayans, Marlon Wayans and Stacey Dash, and in “Bob Roberts” (1992), which was directed, written by and starred Tim Robbins. He also supported Shirley MacLaine and Nicolas Cage in Hugh Wilson's “Guarding Tess” (1994), costarred with Dana Ashbrook and Angela Shelton in the drama “Comfortably Numb” (1995) and appeared as Bill Walker in the Spike Lee feature “Clockers” (1995), starring Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo and Mekhi Phifer. He was then reunited with Lee for the inspirational “Get on the Bus” (1996), where he played the role of Randall.
The actor returned to the small screen in the sequel “Vanishing Son II” (1994), starring Russell Wong, Chi Muoi Lo and Tamlyn Tomita. He went on to reprise his role in “Vanishing Son IV” (1994) and played Detective Vernon Jones in the television drama “Nothing But the Truth” (1995), opposite Patricia Wettig, Ken Olin and Bradley Whitford. Lennix also had recurring roles in such series as “The Client” (3 episodes, 1995-1996), “ER” (6 episodes, 1997) and “Diagnosis Murder” (6 episodes, 1997-1998), and guest starred in “The Parent 'Hood” (1996), “Murder One” (1996-1997), “Living Single” (1997), “Ally McBeal” (1998), “Any Day Now” (1998), “The Practice” (1998), “Judging Amy” (1999) and “JAG” (1999). During 1997/1998, he also acted in the TV films “Friends 'Til the End,” “Too Close to Home” and “Since You've Been Gone.”
Lennix revisited the Chicago stage when he joined Tim Edward Rhoze to appear in “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” (1997) at the Goodman Theatre. He was handed the 1997 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role in a Play for his work. After appearing in the Chicago shot films “Chicago Cab” (1997) and “The Unspoken” (1999), Lennix was cast as Aaron, the servant and illegitimate lover of Tamora, in Julie Taymor's “Titus” (1999), a film adaptation of Shakespeare's revenge tragedy “Titus Andronicus.” Starring Anthony Hopkins, the film received mixed reviews and was a flop at the box office. For his performance in the film, Lennix picked up a 2000 Golden Satellite in the category of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Drama and a Chlotrudis nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
In the new millennium, Lennix starred in August Wilson's “King Hedley II” (2000) at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. From September to October 2001, he appeared in Christopher Moore's play “The Last Season” at Stage 52 in Los Angeles. On the wide screen, he was cast as the father of Sanaa Lathan in “Love & Basketball” (2000) and worked with Tyrone Gibson, Adrian R'Mante and Kiko Ellsworth in the film “All or Nothing” (2001). He was also cast in the Gregory Wilson action movie “Home Invaders” (2001), played a teacher in “Pumpkin” (2002), and appeared with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elias Koteas, Francesca Neri, Cliff Curtis, John Leguizamo and John Turturro in the action movie “Collateral Damage” (2002). He then starred with Marianne Jean-Baptiste in the film “Don't Explain” (2002) and played the supporting role of Brandon in the drama “Never Get Outta the Boat” (2002), for director Paul Quinn and writer Nick Gillie. Still in 2002, Lennix starred as Adam Clayton Powell Jr. in the TV film “Keep the Faith, Baby” (Showtime, 2002) and earned a Black Reel for Network/Cable - Best Actor, an Image nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special, and a Golden Satellite nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television.
In 2003, Lennix was cast as Commander Lock in “The Matrix Reloaded,” a role he would reprise in “The Matrix Revolutions.” He also provided the voice of Lock in the video game “Enter the Matrix” (2003) and portrayed Mr. Silk in “The Human Stain,” a thriller directed by Robert Benton that starred Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman and Gary Sinise. The next year, he appeared in the Kevin Rodney Sullivan helmed “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” (as Quentin Leroux), Ray McKinnon's “Chrystal” (with Billy Bob Thornton, Lisa Blount, Walton Goggins and Grace Zabriskie), director E. Elias Merhige's thriller “Suspect Zero” (opposite Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley and Carrie-Anne Moss) and “Ray,” a biopic of legendary blues singer Ray Charles (played by Jamie Foxx). For his work in the latter film, Lennix shared a 2005 Screen Actors Guild nomination in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The same year, he also guest starred in “Century City” and “Second Time Around.”
After guest starring in “House M.D.,” (2005) Lennix starred in the series “Commander in Chief,” opposite Geena Davis, Kyle Secor and Donald Sutherland. The show, created by Rod Lurie, ran on ABC from September 2005 to June 2006. Lennix was nominated for a 2006 Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance. Meanwhile, he also portrayed Tom in the feature “Sharif Don't Like It” and provided the voice of Dr. Mar Londo in an episode of “Legion of Super Heroes” called “Timber Wolf” (both 2006).
In January through February 2007, Lennix appeared as a fictional Muslim civil rights activist in several episodes of the Fox show “24.” Also in 2007, he teamed up with Columbus Short, Meagan Good, Darrin Henson, Rivah Feseha, Brian White, Laz Alonso, Valarie Pettiford, Ne-Yo and Chris Brown for the movie “Stomp the Yard” (directed by Sylvain White). He then worked with Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett, Teri Hatcher, Kathryn Morris and Alan Alda in the Rod Lurie directed drama “Resurrecting the Champ” and Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs and Martin Luther McCoy in “Across the Universe” by Julie Taymor. He also acted in August Wilson's play “Radio Golf” on Broadway in 2007.
In 2008, Lennix made a special guest performance in the HBO sketch comedy show “Little Britain USA” and acted in “Fly Like Mercury” (2008). In 2009, he portrayed a pathologist in “State of Play,” a political thriller directed by Kevin Macdonald that starred Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Viola Davis, Robin Wright Penn and Jason Bateman. He was then cast as Boyd Langton, a former cop with an unknown past, in the Fox series “Dollhouse” (2009-2010). In December 2010, he guest starred as Gary Bloom in an episode of “Undercovers.”
Lennix next played Agent Bossy in an episode of “Law & Order: Los Angeles” called “Plummer Park,” which was broadcasted on January 1, 2011. He will play roles in the upcoming films “Mr. Sophistication” (2011), “The Algerian” (2011) and “Macbett (The Caribbean Macbeth)” (2012).
Black Reel: Network/Cable - Best Actor, “Keep the Faith, Baby,” 2003
Golden Satellite: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Drama, “Titus,” 2000
Joseph Jefferson: Actor in a Principal Role in a Musical or Revue, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom,” 1997
Joseph Jefferson: Actor in a Principal Role in a Play, “Caught in the Act,” 1989
Joseph Jefferson: Actor in a Principal Role in a Musical or Revue, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom,” 1988