Black Movie Awards
Wed., Oct. 18, at 10/9c

Watch the 2006 Black Movie Awards Wednesday, Oct. 18 10/9c on TNT sponsored by
Laurence Fishburne
Special Honoree Excellence in Arts Award

Over the past years, acknowledgment of Laurence Fishburne’s work as a multi-hyphenate actor/producer/director has been impressive.  In 1992, he was awarded a Tony, a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critic’s Circle Award and a Theater World Award for his work on Broadway as Sterling Johnson in August Wilson’s Two Trains Running.  His rare television appearance in the 1993 premiere episode of Tribeca landed him an Emmy®. And he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar® in 1993 for his portrayal of Ike Turner in the film What’s Love Got to do With It.

In 2006 Fishburne reunited with his What’s Love Got to Do With It co-star Angela Bassett in Liongate’s Akeelah & the Bee. He produced the film through his Cinema Gypsy production banner.  He has also worked with Tom Cruise and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Mission: Impossible 3 and filmed the movies Bobby and The Death of Bobby Z.

2006 was a big year for Fishburne and the theater.  First he appeared as an inspirational teacher in the drama Without Walls by Alfred Uhry, directed by Christopher Ashley, at the Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Currently, he can be seen at The Pasadena Playhouse once again opposite Angela Bassett in August Wilson's Fences.

Fishburne has been acting in films and on stage since he was 10, starting on the soap opera One Life To Live, then making his feature film debut in Cornbread, Earl and Me at 12. When he was 14, he was cast in a show for the Negro Ensemble Theater and accepted to the High School of Performing Arts.

Fishburne made audiences stand up and take notice when he co-starred in Francis Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. His long list of film credits includes the Matrix trilogy of movies, Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, Assault on Precinct 13, Hoodlum, Othello, Event Horizon, Higher Learning, Just Cause, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Boyz n the Hood, Class Action, King of New York, Spike Lee’s School Daze, Gardens of Stone, The Color Purple, The Cotton Club, Rumble Fish and Fast Break.

In October of 2000, Fishburne made his directorial debut with Once in the Life, a film he wrote and produced and in which he also starred.  The screenplay is based on Fishburne’s own one-act play “Riff Raff,” which he performed and directed in 1994. The initial run in Los Angeles was the first production produced under his own banner L.O.A. Productions.

In 1997, Fishburne received an Emmy® nomination and an NAACP Image Award for his starring role in the HBO drama Miss Evers’ Boys, which he also executive produced. His additional television credits include the films A Rumor of War, I Take these Men, Decoration Day and The Tuskegee Airmen, which earned him an Image Award, as well as Golden Globe®, Emmy® and CableACE nominations. His television series credits include appearances on Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, The Equalizer and Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

At the same time that Fishburne consistently breaks new ground, he appreciates that which is hallowed.  In reflecting on such actors as Sidney Poitier and Morgan Freeman, who have paved the way, he says, “The power of their presence alone spoke to me, made me believe I could do the same thing.”  He has also worked with “ancestral memory” and finds it a “source of spiritual strength.  I believe ancestors push me here, push me there, and guide me...they are a resource to be valued and respected.”

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