Keenen Ivory Wayans

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Keenen Ivory Wayans
Wayans in 2013.
Born (1958-06-08) June 8, 1958 (age 56)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Education Tuskegee University
Occupation Actor, Comedian, Director, Screenwriter, Producer
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) Daphne Polk
(m. 2001-05; 5 children)
Relatives Damon Wayans (brother)
Kim Wayans (sister)
Shawn Wayans (brother)
Marlon Wayans (brother)
Awards 1990-Emmy Award Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
In Living Color (as executive producer)

Keenen Ivory Wayans, Sr. (born June 8, 1958) is an American actor, comedian, producer, director and writer, and a member of the Wayans Family of entertainers. He first came to prominence as the host and co-creator of the 1990-1994 Fox sketch comedy series In Living Color. He has produced, directed and/or written a large number of films, starting with Hollywood Shuffle, which he co-wrote, in 1987. A majority of these films have included him and one or more of his brothers and sisters in the cast. One of these films, Scary Movie (2000), which Wayans directed, was the highest-grossing movie ever directed by an African American until it was surpassed by Tim Story's Fantastic Four in 2005. From 1997 to 1998, he hosted the talk show The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show.[1] Most recently, he was a judge for the eighth season of Last Comic Standing.

Life and career[edit]

Wayans was born in New York City, son of Howell Wayans, a supermarket manager, and his wife Elvira, a homemaker and social worker. His father[citation needed] was a devout Jehovah's Witness.[2][3][4] Wayans attended Tuskegee University. However, he dropped out in his final year to become a comedian.

In 1990, Wayans and his brother Damon, Sr. created, wrote and starred in In Living Color, an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on the Fox Network from 1990 to 1994. The show was notable for producing comedy with a strong emphasis on modern black culture. The show also starred Jim Carrey, Kelly Coffield, Kim Coles, T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh, Jamie Foxx, brothers Damon Wayans, Sr., Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans, sister Kim Wayans, David Alan Grier, Tommy Davidson and featured Rosie Perez, Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Ann Inaba and Laurieann Gibson.

Wayans is one of many family members who have had successful careers in the entertainment industry, including his siblings Damon, Sr., Kim, Shawn and Marlon. His nephews and nieces include Craig Wayans, Damon Wayans, Jr., Michael Wayans, Cara Mia Wayans, Damien Dante Wayans and Chaunté Wayans.

Personal life[edit]

In 2004, Wayans filed for divorce from his wife of three years and sought joint custody of their five children.[5]

In Living Color[edit]


  • Death Row Comic (Prison Cable Access)
  • Frenchie
  • Ice Man (Homeboy Shopping Network)
  • Tom Brothers (The Brothers Brothers)
  • Wes (Wes & Less)



Year Title Role
1983 Star 80 Comic
1987 A Different World Professor Lawrence
1987 Hollywood Shuffle Donald/Jheri Curl
1988 I'm Gonna Git You Sucka Jack Spade
1994 A Low Down Dirty Shame Shame
1996 Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood Mailman
1996 The Glimmer Man Det. Jim Campbell
1997 Most Wanted Gunnery Sergeant James Dunn
2000 Scary Movie Slave (Amistad II)
2009 Dance Flick Mr. Stache

Writing/producing/directing credits[edit]


  1. ^ Braxton, Greg (1997-08-03). "Will 'Hip' Equal 'Hit'?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  2. ^ Keenen Ivory Wayans Biography (1958-)
  3. ^ Stein, Joel (2000-09-11). "Marlon Wayans". Time. 
  4. ^ The Movie Chicks - Interview - Marlon Wayans
  5. ^ "Keenen Ivory Wayans files for divorce". USA Today (Gannett). Associated Press. 2004-05-04. 
  6. ^, "CBS Films partners with Tristar to develop ‘It Takes A Village’". Accessed 24 September 2010.

External links[edit]