Laurence Fishburne is an American actor, writer, director and producer. He was born on July 30, 1961 in Augusta, Georgia to Hattie Bell and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr. His parents divorced when he was very young and he moved to Brooklyn, New York with his mother while visiting his father once a month. He graduated from Lincoln Square Academy in New York but never studied acting formally. He received his first role in 1973 on a television soap opera “One Life to Live”. As a child actor, he named himself “Larry Fishburne” and only began to use his full name as an adult. His most notable childhood performance was the role of a young boy who witnessed a police shooting in the 1975 American drama film “Cornbread, Earl and Me”. In 1976, at the age of 14, he received a supporting role on the hit 1979 film “Apocalypse Now”. Filming for the movie actually began in 1976 when Fishburne was just 14 years old and he apparently lied about his age to get the part. The movie, however, took so long to produce that Fishburne was 17 years old by the time of it was finished.
During the 1980s, Fishburne made several television and theatre appearances and worked other jobs such as club bouncer at punk rock clubs. Some of his roles included a minor role on Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed film “The Color Purple”, a role in the 1984 movie “The Cotton Club” and a recurring role on the children’s television show “Pee-wee’s Playhouse”. Some of his theatre performances include Short Eyes in 1984, and Loose Ends in 1987, both produced at Second Stage Theatre in New York City. In 1990, he starred in the crime thriller film “King of New York” also starring acclaimed actors Christopher Walken, Wesley Snipes and Steve Buscemi. In 1991, he followed this up with “Boyz n the Hood” starring alongside Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Angela Bassett. The following year he won an Emmy Award for his performance in the opening episode of a brief television drama TriBeCa as well as a Tony Award for the play Two Trains Running.