Taye Diggs
Birth Date:
January 2, 1972
Birth Place:
Rochester, New York, USA
5' 10
Famous for:
His role as Winston Shakespeare in 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back' (1998)
Syracuse University (BFA degree in musical theater)
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Taye Diggs
Private Practice


“It's a trip but it hasn't crossed over to the point where women are throwing their panties at me.” Taye Diggs (about being famous)

American actor Taye Diggs first came to the attention of public when he played the nasty landlord Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III on the original Broadway production of Jonathan Larson's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning “Rent” (1996). He reprised the role on the 2005 coolly received big screen adaptation of the critically acclaimed musical, from which he netted a Black Reel nomination and two Broadcast Film Critics Association nominations. Diggs made an auspicious film debut on the box office hit “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” (1998), where he earned an Acapulco Black Film Festival nomination for his role as Angela Bassett's love interest. The New Jersey native actor went on to give notable performances in such films as “The Best Man” (1999, earned a Black Reel nomination and an Image nomination), “House on Haunted Hill” (1999, won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award), “Brown Sugar” (2002, received an Image nomination and two Teen Choice nominations) and the film version of “Chicago” (2002, netted a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award). On the small screen, Diggs is maybe best known for his roles as Kevin Hill on the UPN short lived legal drama series of the same name, which ran from September 2004 to May 2005, and as Dr. Sam Bennett on the ABC medical series “Private Practice” (2007-?). He took home an Image Award for each series. In 2003, Diggs was handed the Excellence in Filmmaking Award from the Chicago International Film Festival. He was named one of People Magazine's “Sexiest Men Alive” for 2007.   

Currently, Diggs lives in New York with wife Idina Menzel and son Walker Nathaniel (born 2009). He and his actress wife have appeared together on stage in such productions as “Rent,” “Wicked” and “The Wild Party.” The couple have a Yorkshire Terrier named Sammy Davis Jr. and two cats named Ella and Coltrane. Diggs co-owns and co-directs a dance company,, with fellow Broadway veteran, Andrew Palermo.

Scott Leo

Childhood and Family:

“All my friends from my past would know me as Scott Diggs. Taye Diggs comes from Scott-taye. When I went to college I liked it because it was so different and I have an infatuation with nicknames.” Taye Diggs

Scott Leo Diggs, who would later be known professionally as Taye Diggs, was born on January 2, 1971, in Newark, New Jersey, to parents Jeffries and Marcia Diggs. The oldest of five children, Taye spent his formative years helping his mother raise his four younger siblings (Gabriel, Michael, Shalom and Christian) after the death of his father. Growing up in Rochester, New York, he attended Allendale Columbia School and later transferred to the High School of the Arts. In 1993, he received a BFA in musical theater from Syracuse University in  Syracuse, New York. While in college, he also led a band called Zoo Trip.    

On January 11, 2003, Taye married actress, singer and songwriter Idina Menzel (born May 30, 1971), whom he met in 1996 during the original production of “Rent.” The couple welcomed their first child, son Walker Nathaniel Diggs, on September 2, 2009.



Taye Diggs was discovered by talent agent while performing in a showcase during his senior year of college. Following college graduation, he appeared in regional theater productions before making his Broadway debut as an understudy in a 1994 multi Tony award winning production of  “Carousel,” staged by Nicholas Hytner. The first success, however, did not deliver for the goods for Diggs as anticipated, so he accepted a job at a musical revue at Tokyo Disneyland to support himself. He returned to the United States after eight months and began to audition again.

Diggs' big break came when he landed the role of the awful landlord Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III on the original Broadway production of “Rent” (1996), opposite future wife Idina Menzel, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker. He remained with the show for a year.   

The success of “Rent” opened other opportunities for Digss. Subsequently, he made his primetime television debut in an episode of Fox's “New York Undercover” (1996), followed by guest spots in the hit NBC series “Law & Order”(1996) and Disney's animated series, “101 Dalmatians: The Series” (1997). It was not long before he got his first regular role as a glossy music producer named Adrian 'Sugar' Hill on the CBS daytime drama “Guiding Light” (1997). However, he decided to leave the show when he began entering the film industry.

Diggs won the starring role of Winston Shakespeare, Stella's good-looking and much younger Jamaican lover on “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” (1998), starring Angela Bassett as the title character. Under the direction of Kevin Rodney Sullivan, he was nominated for a Black Film Award for Best Actor at the 1999 Acapulco Black Film Festival for his performance.  An adaptation of Terry McMillan's bestselling novel by the same name, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” was a success at the box office. The film brought Diggs much acclaim and exposure.

In the following year, Diggs delivered an entertaining performance as the straight man in a pair of friends in deep trouble in Las Vegas in Doug Liman's “Go,” opposite William Fichtner, Katie Holmes, Jay Mohr, Sarah Polley and Scott Wolf, and starred as the unwilling groom, Roland, in Rick Famuyiwa's “The Wood,” opposite Omar Epps and Richard T. Jones. He also had the title role, an author and best friend of the groom (played by Morris Chestnut) in the drama film “The Best Man,” which was written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee. The role brought him a Black Reel nomination for Theatrical - Best Actor and an Image nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. “The Best Man” earned generally good reviews from critics and audiences alike and scored over $34.1 million worldwide. In the horror film “House on Haunted Hill,” where he co-starred with Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen, the actor won a Blockbuster Entertainment for Favorite Supporting Actor- Horror for his portrayal of Eddie Baker.

Diggs returned to the stage for an Off Broadway production of Andrew Lippa's musical “The Wild Party,” in which he played the role of Mr. Black, opposite Julia Murney as Queenie, Brian D'Arcy James as Burrs and wife Idina Menzel as Kate. The production opened on February 24, 2000 at the Manhattan Theatre Club and was closed after 54 performances. Still in 2000, he also appeared with Benicio del Toro, Ryan Phillippe, James Caan and Juliette Lewis in Christopher McQuarrie's “The Way of the Gun,” in which he portrayed Lewis' bodyguard. In 2001, Diggs joined the cast of Fox's legal dramedy “Ally McBeal” in the recurring role of Jackson Duper, a lawyer who found himself in the middle of a love triangle between  Renee Raddick and  Ling Woo (played by Lisa Nicole Carson and Lucy Liu, respectively). He appeared in a total of 10 episodes from February to May, and was nominated for an Image for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2002 for the role.

In 2002, Diggs had five movies under his belt. He first was cast as a sheriff in the low budget thriller “New Best Friend,” opposite Mia Kirshner, Meredith Monroe and Dominique Swain, and then had an uncredited part in “Just a Kiss,” a dark comedy film scripted by Patrick Breen, based on his own off-Broadway play, and directed by Fisher Stevens. He starred with Sanaa Lathan in the popular drama “Brown Sugar,”  where he picked up an Image nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture and two Teen Choice nominations for Choice Movie Chemistry and Choice Movie Liplock (both shared with Lathan) for his portrayal of Dre, a record executive at a hip hop label who falls for a magazine editor he has known since childhood. After supporting Christian Bale and Emily Watson in “Equilibrium,” a science fiction action film written and directed by Kurt Wimmer, Diggs was cast as the Bandleader in film version of the satirical stage musical “Chicago,” which was directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall and scripted by Bill Condon. The film received general acclaim, and won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, making it the first musical to win the award since “Oliver!” in 1969. It was also a huge success at the box office. For his work on the film, Diggs picked up Broadcast Film Critics Association's Critics Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble, a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture and a Phoenix Film Critics Society nomination for Best Acting Ensemble. Prior to the film's release, Diggs played the role of Billy Flynn on Broadway from September 19, 2002 to November 5, 2002.

2003 saw Diggs work with John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in John McTeirnan's military detective thriller, “Basic,” where he played a cadet who disappears during a training exercise, and with Jamie Kennedy for the hip hop comedy “Malibu's Most Wanted.” In addition, he appeared as Secret Service Agent Wesley in two episodes of “The West Wing.” On stage, he reunited with Menzel on Broadway in the smash hit “Wicked” (2003), where his wife won a Tony for her performance. In 2004, he starred as Henry Nxumalo on the film “Drum,” opposite Gabriel Mann as photographer Jürgen Schadeberg.

Diggs returned to the small screen when he had the title character on the UPN legal drama “Kevin Hill,” created by Jorge A. Reyes. The show ran for a season from September 29, 2004 to May 18, 2005. Diggs won an Image for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his work on the series.

After appearing in “Cake,” with Heather Graham and David Sutcliffe, and Wayne Beach's drama/thriller “Slow Burn,” where he played the role of Jeffrey Sykes (both 2005), Diggs reprised his role of Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III in the film adaptation of “Rent” (also 2005), which was directed by Chris Columbus. The film received mixed reception and was not a commercial success. For his performance, Diggs earned a Black Reel nomination for Best Ensemble and Broadcast Film Critics Association nominations for Best Song and Critics Choice Award. Commenting about the film, he stated, “Working on such an amazing movie that was reminiscent of such an incredible time in our lives-we had a ball.”

In 2006, Diggs had a recurring role as James Hanson, Eric McCormack's boyfriend, in several episodes of the popular NBC sitcom “Will & Grace” and began his starring role as Detective Brett Hopper on the short lived drama series “Day Break,” opposite Moon Bloodgood, Victoria Pratt, Meta Golding, Ramón Rodríguez and Adam Baldwin. The show premiered on ABC on November 15, 2006 and was canceled on December 15 after only six episodes due to poor ratings. 2006 also found him appearing in the drama film “30 Days.”

Diggs appeared as Dr. Sam Bennett in “Grey's Anatomy”'s episodes “The Other Side of This Life: Part 1 and Part 2” in 2007.  He continued to reprise the role in “Private Practice,” a spin off of “Grey's Anatomy” that debuted on ABC on September 26, 2007. The role has brought him an Image for  Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2009) and three additional nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2008) and Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2010 and 2012).

In 2008, Diggs returned to the big screen when he had a supporting role on the Celia Fox drama  “Days of Wrath,” starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Laurence Fishburne and Wilmer Valderrama. In 2009, Diggs guest starred in “The Super Hero Squad Show” (as the voice of Black Panther) and “Better Off Ted” (as Greg). He also portrayed Dr. Sam Bennett in an episode of “Grey's Anatomy” called “Before and After” (2009). Diggs next had an uncredited part in “Our Family Wedding” (2010), a comedy/romance film starring America Ferrera, Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia, and portrayed Vargas in the horror/mystery film “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” (2011), starring Brandon Routh, Anita Briem and Sam Huntington.   

Diggs is set to star with Julia Stiles and Melissa George in the upcoming drama film “Between Us” (2012), directed by Dan Mirvish.      


Image : Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, “Private Practice,” 2009
Image: Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, “Kevin Hill,” 2005
Chicago International Film Festival: Excellence in Filmmaking Award, 2003
Broadcast Film Critics Association: Critics Choice Award,     Best Acting Ensemble, “Chicago,” 2003
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture, “Chicago,” 2003
Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actor – Horror, “House on Haunted Hill,” 2000 Show Less
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