Laurence J. Fishburne III has achieved an impressive body of work as an actor, producer and director. He starred in his first television show at age 10 in the drama “One Life to Live” and made his feature film debut at age 12 in “Cornbread, Earl and Me.” At 15, Fishburne appeared in “Apocalypse Now,” the first of many cult classics destined to define his long career.
Fishburne’s versatile acting has won him awards in theatre, film and television. In 1992, Fishburne won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Sterling Johnson in August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running.” He won his first Emmy Award in 1993 for “The Box” episode of “Tribeca” and his second for his one-man show “Thurgood” in 1997. In 1993, Fishburne was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” He was an Emmy Award nominee and an NAACP Image Award winner for his starring role in the 1997 telefilm “Miss Evers’ Boys,” which he also executive produced. Fishburne has been nominated 18 times for NAACP Image awards, garnering five wins—most recently in 2015 for his role in ABC’s “black-ish.”
Fishburne may be best known for his role as Morpheus in the Wachowksi brothers’ blockbuster “The Matrix” trilogy, but his many film credits include: Academy Award nominee John Singleton’s “Boyz ‘n the Hood” and “Higher Learning,” Richard T. Heffron’s telefilm “A Rumor of War,” Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple,” Steven Zaillian’s “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River” and cult classics “Deep Cover” and “King of New York.”
In 2000, Fishburne founded Cinema Gypsy Productions with his longtime manager and producing partner, Helen Sugland. They have produced numerous nominated and award-winning projects, including: “Thurgood” (HBO), “Five Fingers” (Lionsgate), “Akeelah and the Bee” (Lionsgate), “Once in the Life” (Lionsgate), “Always Outnumbered” (HBO), “Hoodlum” (United Artists), and “Miss Evers’ Boys” (HBO). Currently, they produce the ABC-TV hit series “black-ish,” in which Fishburne stars alongside Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. In 2016, “black-ish” received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series.
In early 2016, Fishburne starred in Warner Bros.’ blockbuster “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and A&E’s miniseries remake of “Roots” alongside Forest Whitaker and Anna Paquin. The “Roots” remake premiered with universal acclaim, and Fishburne received a 2016 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Narrator as Alex Haley. Fishburne also appeared alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in “Passengers” which was released in December 2016.
Fishburne’s recent releases include: “Bronzeville,” a 10-episode audio drama written by “A History Of Violence” scribe Josh Olson and produced with Larenz Tate’s company TateMan Entertainment and Audio HQ; and “Madiba,” a 2017 miniseries for BET Networks in which he portrayed Nelson Mandela. Fishburne is also in production for Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying,” in which he stars with Steve Carell and Bryan Cranston. Cinema Gypsy Productions is also developing an adaptation of “The Alchemist” at TriStar with Kevin Frakes of Palm Star Media.
Outside of acting, producing and directing, Fishburne has served as an Ambassador for UNICEF since 1996. In 2007, he was honored by Harvard University as Artist of the Year for his Outstanding Contributions to American and International Performing Arts as well as his humanitarian contributions.