Ving Rhames

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Ving Rhames
Ving Rhames 2014-05-29 20-33.jpg
BornIrving Rameses Rhames
(1959-05-12) May 12, 1959 (age 55)
New York City, New York, U.S.
EducationJuilliard School (BFA 1983)
Years active1984–present
Spouse(s)Deborah Reed (2000–present)
Valerie Scott (1994–1999; divorced)
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Ving Rhames
Ving Rhames 2014-05-29 20-33.jpg
BornIrving Rameses Rhames
(1959-05-12) May 12, 1959 (age 55)
New York City, New York, U.S.
EducationJuilliard School (BFA 1983)
Years active1984–present
Spouse(s)Deborah Reed (2000–present)
Valerie Scott (1994–1999; divorced)

Irving Rameses "Ving" Rhames (born May 12, 1959) is an American actor best known for his work in Bringing Out the Dead, Pulp Fiction, Out of Sight, Baby Boy, Don King: Only in America, Dawn of the Dead, Rosewood, Con Air, and the Mission: Impossible film series.

Early life and education[edit]

Rhames was born in Harlem, New York City, New York, the son of Reather, a homemaker, and Ernest Rhames, an auto mechanic.[1][2] His parents were raised as sharecroppers in South Carolina.[2][3] Named after the late NBC journalist, Irving R. Levine,[4] Irving Rhames also grew up in Harlem.

He entered New York's High School of Performing Arts, where he discovered his love of acting. After high school, he studied drama at SUNY Purchase, where fellow acting student Stanley Tucci gave him his nickname "Ving".[5] Rhames later transferred to the Juilliard School's Drama Division (Group 12: 1979–1983)[6] where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1983.[7]


Rhames first appeared on Broadway in the play The Boys of Winter in 1984. He started out in film in Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs as Leroy and played the role of Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction (1994).

Rhames played Peter Benton's brother-in-law on the TV medical drama ER, a recurring role he filled for three seasons. He was cast with Tom Cruise as the ace computer hacker Luther Stickell in Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible (1996). In 1997, Rhames portrayed the character of Nathan 'Diamond Dog' Jones in the popular film Con Air.

Rhames won a Golden Globe in 1998 for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film in HBO's Don King: Only in America. At the ceremony Rhames gave his award to fellow nominee Jack Lemmon, saying, "I feel that being an artist is about giving, and I'd like to give this to you." Lemmon was clearly touched by the gesture as was the celebrity audience who gave Lemmon a standing ovation. Lemmon, who tried unsuccessfully to give the award back to Rhames, said it was "one of the sweetest moments I've ever known in my life." The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced later that they would have a duplicate award prepared for Rhames. That moment was #98 on E!'s 101 Awesome Moments in Entertainment.[8][9][10] The New York Times lauded Rhames for the act, writing that in doing so he "demonstrated his capacity for abundant generosity."[10]

Rhames appeared in Striptease (1996) as the wisecracking bodyguard Shad, Bringing Out the Dead (1999), then reprised his Luther Stickell role for Mission: Impossible II (2000). He played Johnnie Cochran in American Tragedy (2000), the ex-con boyfriend of Jodie's mother in the John Singleton film Baby Boy, portrayed a gay drag queen in the television movie Holiday Heart, contributed his voice for the character of Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch (2002) and the subsequent TV series, and played a stoic cop fighting zombie hordes in Dawn of the Dead (2004) and the Day of the Dead 2008 remake. Rhames has also appeared in a series of television commercials for RadioShack, usually performing with Vanessa L. Williams.

In March 2005, Rhames played the lead role on a new Kojak series, on the USA Network cable channel (and on ITV4 in the UK). The bald head, lollipops, and "Who loves ya, baby?" catchphrase remained intact, but little else remained from the Savalas original.

Rhames voiced the part of Tobias Jones in the computer game Driv3r.

In 2006, Rhames reprised his role in Mission: Impossible III, and has a cameo appearance in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, making him the only actor besides Tom Cruise to appear in all four Mission: Impossible films. It was announced that he would have a role in the Aquaman-based show Mercy Reef, however due to the integration of The WB and UPN for the new network, CW, Mercy Reef was not picked up. Rhames played a homosexual, possibly also homicidal, firefighter who comes out of the closet in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. He narrates the BET television series American Gangster.

In the 2008 film Saving God he played an ex-con who is released from prison a changed man looking to take over his father's former church congregation in a deteriorating neighborhood. Rhames stars in Phantom Punch, a biopic of boxer Sonny Liston released directly to DVD as well as The Tournament portraying a fighter out to win a no-rules tournament.

Rhames makes an appearance in Ludacris's song "Southern Gangstas" on his album Theater of the Mind. Rappers Playaz Circle and Rick Ross are also featured on the track.

In 2010 he filed a lawsuit against the producer of a film titled Red Canvas.[11]

He filmed the movie Submission with Ernie Reyes, Jr. and UFC lightweight contender Gray Maynard and Randy Couture.

In 2015 he filmed a series of commercials for The ADT Corporation.

Rhames is also one of the narrators for UFC. stated that Rhames will return for the fifth Mission: Impossible film, which will be directed by Christopher McQuarrie.[12]


1984Go Tell It on the MountainYoung Gabriel
1985Miami ViceGeorgesEpisode: "The Maze"
1985American PlayhouseHector LincolnEpisode: "Abrams for the Defense"
1986Native SonJack
1987Miami ViceWalker MonroeEpisode: "Child's Play"
1987Tour of DutySP4 TuckerEpisode: "Burn Baby, Burn"
1988Spenser: For HireHenry BrownEpisode: "McAllister"
1988Patty HearstCinque
1989MenCharlie Hazard6 episodes
1989Casualties of WarLt. Reilly
1989The EqualizerLuther PaxtonEpisode: "Suicide Squad"
1990The Long Walk HomeHerbert Cotter
1990Jacob's LadderGeorge
1991Flight of the IntruderCPO Frank McRae
1991HomicideRobert Randolph
1991The People Under the StairsLeroy
1992Stop! Or My Mom Will ShootMr. Stereo
1993Blood in Blood OutIvan
1993DaveDuane Stevenson
1993The Saint of Fort WashingtonLittle Leroy
1994Pulp FictionMarsellus Wallace
1994Drop SquadGarvey
1994–1996ERWalter Robbins8 episodes
1995Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: LightningDetective Artie BrownTV film
1995New York UndercoverMax VillarealEpisode: "Olde Thyme Religion"
1995Kiss of DeathOmar
1995Deadly WhispersDet. JacksonTV film
1996Mission: ImpossibleLuther Stickell
1996StripteaseShad (bodyguard)
1997Dangerous GroundMuki
1997Con AirNathan 'Diamond Dog' Jones
1997Don King: Only in AmericaDon KingTV film
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
1998Body CountPike
1998Out of SightBuddy Bragg
1999EntrapmentAaron ThibadeauxNominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actor – Action
1999Bringing Out the DeadMarcusNominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor
2000Mission: Impossible IILuther Stickell
2000American TragedyJohnnie CochranTV film
2000Holiday HeartHoliday HeartTV film
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Actor on Television
2001Baby BoyMelvinNominated—Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor
2001Final Fantasy: The Spirits WithinRyan Whittaker
2001UC: UndercoverQuito Real3 episodes
2002Sins of the FatherGarrick JonesTV film
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Actor on Television
2002Little JohnJohn MorganTV film
2002UndisputedGeorge "Iceman" Chambers
2002Lilo & StitchCobra BubblesVoice only
2002RFKJudge JonesTV film
2002Dark BlueArthur HollandNominated—Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor
2002The Proud FamilyGarrett KrebsEpisode: "A Hero for Halloween"
2002-2003The DistrictAttorney General Troy Hatcher5 episodes
2003Stitch! The MovieCobra BubblesVoice only
2003Lilo & Stitch: The SeriesCobra BubblesVoice only
2003Jimmy NeutronChiefEpisode: "Operation: Rescue Jet Fusion"
2003Mission: Impossible – Operation SurmaLuther StickelVideo game (voice only)
2003SinEddie Burns
2004Dawn of the DeadSgt. Kenneth Hall
2004Driv3rTobias JonesVideo game (voice only)
2005Back in the DayJ-Bone
2005KojakTheo Kojak9 episodes
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Actor on Television
2005AnimalJames "Animal" Allen
2005Shooting GalleryCue Ball Carl Bridgers
2006AquamanMcCafferyTV pilot
2006Mission: Impossible IIILuther Stickell
2007Football WivesFrank WallingfordTV pilot
2007I Now Pronounce You Chuck and LarryFred G. Duncan
2008Animal 2James "Animal" Allen
2008A Broken LifeVet
2008Day of the DeadCapt. Rhodes
2008Saving GodArmstrong Cane
2008Phantom PunchSonny Liston
2009Echelon ConspiracyAgent Dave Grant
2009The Bridge to NowhereDrug-dealer Nate
2009Evil AngelCarruthers
2009The TournamentJoshua Harlow
2009The Goods: Live Hard, Sell HardJibby Newsome
2009SurrogatesThe Prophet
2009Give 'Em Hell, MaloneBoulder
2010Operation: EndgameJudgement
2010GravityDogg McFeeTV series
2010Caged AnimalMiles "Cain" Skinner
2010Master Harold...and the BoysSam
2010GravityDogg McFee10 episodes
2010Piranha 3DDeputy Fallon
2010Red Canvas[11]Himself
2011Death Race 2Weyland
2011Soldiers of FortuneGrimaud
2011The River MurdersCaptain Langley
2011Mission: Impossible – Ghost ProtocolLuther Stickell(cameo)
2011Zombie ApocalypseHenry
2011MafiaRenzo Wes
2012Seven BelowJack
2012Piranha 3DDDeputy Fallon
2012Won't Back DownPrincipal Thompson
2013Death Race 3: InfernoWeyland
2013Monday MorningsDr. Jorge Villanueva10 episodes
2014Jamesy BoyConrad
2013Force of ExecutionIce Man
2015Mission: Impossible 5Luther StickellFilming

Awards and Nominations[edit]

1998Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor in Mini-Series or Motion PictureDon King: Only in AmericaWon[13]
Primetime Emmy AwardsBest Actor in Mini-Series or MovieDon King: Only in AmericaNominated
Acalpulco Black Film FestivalBest ActorRosewoodNominated
Image AwardsOutstanding Actor in Motion PictureRosewoodNominated
Outstanding Actor in Television or Mini-SeriesDon King: Only in AmericaNominated
Satellite AwardsBest Actor - Mini-Series or TV FilmDon King: Only in AmericaNominated
Screen Actors Guild AwardsBest Actor - Mini-Series or TV FilmDon King: Only in AmericaNominated
2000Blockbuster Entertainment AwardsBest Supporting Actor - ActionEntrapmentNominated
Satellite AwardsBest Supporting Actor - Comedy or MusicBringing out the DeadNominated
ShoWest ConventionBest Supporting ActorWon[14]
2001Black Reel AwardsBest Actor - NetworkHoliday HeartNominated
Image AwardsBest Supporting Actor - Motion PictureMission Impossible IINominated
Locarno International Film FestivalSpecial MentionBaby BoyWon
2002Black Reel AwardsBest Supporting ActorBaby BoyNominated
Image AwardsOutstanding Actor in a Drama SeriesUC: UndercoverNominated
Supporting Actor in a Motion PictureBaby BoyNominated
2003Black Reel AwardsBest Actor - Mini-SeriesSins of the FatherNominated
Image AwardsBest Supporting Actor - ComedyThe Proud FamilyNominated
Best Actor - Mini-Series or TV FilmSins of the FatherNominated
2004Black Reel AwardsBest Supporting ActorDark BlueNominated
2006Black Reel AwardsBest Actor - TelevisionKojakNominated
2015Black Reel AwardsBest Actor - TelevisionA Day Late and a Dollar ShortPending
Image AwardsBest Actor - TelevisionNominated


  1. ^ Mills, Bart (October 17, 1999). "Ving And A Prayer Faith Is The Cornerstone Of Rhames' Life — And His Character's In Scorsese's 'Bringing Out The Dead'". New York Daily News. 
  2. ^ a b Charles, Nick (June 23, 1996). "Nursery Rhames ... 'Mission Impossible' And 'Pulp Fiction' Star Ving Learned His Values At His Mother's Knee". New York Daily News. 
  4. ^ Newsmakers – Newsweek Entertainment –
  5. ^ Ving Rhames at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. April 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-11-11. 
  7. ^ "Ving Rhames". All Movie Guide. The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  8. ^ Riché Richardson (2007). Black masculinity and the U.S. South: from Uncle Tom to gangsta. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0-8203-2890-1. Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ Marlene Calvin (2010). Diasporic Lives: Alienation and Violence as Themes in African American Jamaican Cultural Texts. LIT Verlag Münster. ISBN 3-643-10574-6. Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Gerston, Jill. "Ving Rhames – About This Person". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Ving Rhames to Producer: Do I Look Like a Bitch?. Retrieved on 2010-08-28.
  12. ^ "Ving Rhames Returns for Mission: Impossible 5". August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ "1998 Golden Globes Award". Ropeofsilicon. Retrieved 2015-02-12. 
  14. ^ Jones, Anderson (2000-03-10). "ShoWest 2000 Signs Off". Retrieved 2015-02-12. 

External links[edit]