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Leon in October 2010
|Born||Leon Preston Robinson IV
March 8, 1962
New York City, New York, United States
Leon Preston Robinson IV (born March 8, 1962) usually credited as simply Leon, is an American actor and singer, who began his professional career as an actor in 1982.
Before striking it on the big screen, Leon amassed numerous small screen credits, notably in a 1989 episode of the NBC series Midnight Caller, in which he played an athlete who falls victim to crack cocaine. He also co-starred in the 1989 ABC miniseries The Women of Brewster Place, as the boyfriend of a suburbanite (played by Robin Givens). He became a part of popular music history when he was cast as Saint Martin de Porres in Madonna's controversial 1989 music video "Like a Prayer".
Leon's early film roles included a football teammate of Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves (1983), as Fortune Smith, the Notre Dame-bound basketball playing co-worker of Matt Dillon, in The Flamingo Kid (1984), he costarred the Michael Mann produced Tri-Star Pictures cult classic Band of The Hand as well the memorable "Killer Bee" in the Dennis Hopper directed gang classic Colors, starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall. After his exposure in the 1989 video for the song "Like a Prayer" by Madonna, Leon's roles became more substantial. In 1993, he played a leading role in the Disney hit film Cool Runnings. That same year, he co-starred as John Lithgow's ruthless henchman out to get Sylvester Stallone in Renny Harlin's Cliffhanger and followed with a turn as a disillusioned ex-jock in New Line Cinema's Above the Rim (1994). Leon also appeared as Lela Rochon's married lover in 1995's Waiting to Exhale directed by Forest Whitaker and starring Whitney Houston and a starring role in the Merchant/Ivory produced movie, Side Streets with Rosario Dawson. Leon produced as well as starred in the 1997 romantic drama The Price of Kissing with TV star Pauley Parette. He also starred in the movie Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored, directed by Tim Reid and winner of Best Picture at the NAACP Image Awards.
Leon has received critical acclaim for his portrayal of three legendary singers: David Ruffin in the 1998 NBC miniseries The Temptations, Little Richard in the self-titled 2000 NBC movie based on the life of the rock-and-roll pioneer, and he also played JT in the 20th Century Fox movie,The Five Heartbeats directed by Robert Townsend. He received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Little Richard. During this period, Leon joined the ensemble casts of two TV series, playing the popular Jefferson Keane on HBO's first series, Oz and as Lawrence Hill on Showtime's Resurrection Blvd., a costarring role as "Stoney" best friend of Joaquin Phoenix in Miramax's military drama Buffalo Soldiers, an uncredited role as "Joseph 13 X" in Michael Mann's award winning bio-pic, Ali starring Will Smith, in addition to briefly hosting his own late-night talk show, The L-Bow Room, on BET.
In 2008, Leon starred in the 20th Century Fox thriller Cover, directed by Bill Duke, and starred alongside Danny Masterson and Dominique Swain in the indie comedy The Brooklyn Heist, directed by Julian Mark Kheel. In 2009, AOL Black Voices voted Leon one of the Sexiest Actors of All-time. Leon stars in four upcoming 2013 and 2014 movies, the romantic comedy I Really Hate My Ex, written and directed by Troy Beyer, and the southern drama Soul Ties, based on the book by Tee Austin, the indie rock/drama 37 and the romantic drama, And Then There Was You with Garcelle Beauvais.
In theater, Leon has head lined three national tours, with sold out performances at Hollywood's Kodak Theater, NYC's Beacon Theater, Detroit's Fox Theater, the Warner Theater in DC and more in ''Friends and Lovers (2005), ''based on Eric Jerome Dickey's NY Times Best Selling Book. In 2009 and 2010 as a soldier returning from Iraq in ''3 Ways to Get A Husband'' co-starring Billy Dee Williams and in 2012, the revival of ''Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boys.''
Leon, who is also a professional singer, is the lead vocalist & songwriter of his own band, Leon and the Peoples. In 2007, he received an International Reggae and World Music Award nomination for the band's debut CD The Road Less Traveled, winner of Best International Artist at the Joe Higgs Reggae Awards and completed a 36 city US tour with reggae greats Beres Hammond and Marcia Griffiths titled the "For The Love Of It Tour". He was a frequent surprise guest on Beres Hammond’s 2008 and 2010 North American tours. He recently head-lined NYC's Central Park's 2010 and 2013 Aids Walk Concerts. Other notable performances include: 2011 Aspen Jazz Fest, 2012 Catalpa NYC Music Festival, New Orleans Music Festival, Chicago's Festival Of Life, Reggae on River, Jamaica's Rebel Salute, and BET"s popular 106 & Park.
Leon and The Peoples' new single, Love Is A Beautiful Thing is featured on the new BET/Centric TV show Culture List, which premiered on July 21, 2013.
Leon had a relationship with model and The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey, with whom he has a 14 year old daughter, Noelle Robinson (November 9, 1999). More recently, he was in a relationship with Australian fashion model Ebony Mciver. Leon loves to play tennis during his free time and is an avid New York Knicks fan, who regularly sits court side at Madison Square Garden.
- All the Right Moves (1983)...Shadow Nadeing
- The Flamingo Kid (1984)...Fortune Smith
- Band of the Hand (1986)...Moss
- The Father Clements Story (1987)...Ice
- The Lawless Land (1988)...Road Kill
- Colors (1988)...Killer Bee
- The Women of Brewster Place (1989)...Abshu
- A Mother's Courage (1989)...Michael Thomas
- Like a Prayer (music video)...(1989)
- The Five Heartbeats (1991)...J. T. Matthews
- Cool Runnings (1993)...Derice Bannock
- Cliffhanger (1993)...Kynette
- Bad Attitude (1993)
- Above the Rim (1994)...Shep
- Waiting to Exhale (1995)...Russell
- Pure Danger (1996)...Felix
- Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored (1996)...Uncle Melvin
- Spirit Lost (1997)...John
- B.A.P.S. (1997)...Himself
- The Price of Kissing (1997)...Larry
- The Temptations (1998)...David Ruffin
- Side Streets (1999)...Errol Boyce
- Friends & Lovers (1999)...Tyrell
- Bats (1999)...Jimmy Sands
- The Little Richard Story (2000)...Little Richard
- Ali (2001)...Joe Simmons
- Buffalo Soldiers (2001)...Stoney
- Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2005)...Slim
- Cover (2007)... Ryan Chambers
- The Brooklyn Heist (aka Capers) (2009)...Ronald
- Je'Caryous Johnson Presents: 3 Ways to Get a Husband (2009)
- The Heart Specialist (2011)...Handsome Doctor
- Soul Ties (2012)
- Ex-Free (2012)
- Leon at the Internet Movie Database
- Leon's official website
- Leon and The Peoples Page
- Leon & The Peoples MySpace Page