Taye Diggs

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Taye Diggs
Born Scott Leo Diggs
(1971-01-02) January 2, 1971 (age 43)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation actor, singer
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Idina Menzel (m. 2003; separated 2013)
Children 1

Scott Leo "Taye" Diggs (born January 2, 1971) is an American theatre, film and television actor, best known by his nickname, Taye Diggs. He is perhaps best known for his roles in the Broadway musical Rent, the motion picture How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the television series Private Practice and his starring role in the cult favorite motion picture The Best Man as Harper Stewart. His nickname, Taye, comes from the playful pronunciation of Scotty as "Scottay".[1]

Early life[edit]

Diggs was born in Newark, New Jersey, and grew up in Rochester, New York,[2] the son of Marcia (née Berry), a teacher and actress, and Jeffries Diggs.[3] He is the oldest of five children;[4] he has two brothers, Gabriel and Michael, and two sisters. He attended Allendale Columbia School in Rochester and later transferred to School of the Arts. Diggs received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theater from Syracuse University. He performed many times at the popular Lakes Region Summer Theatre in Meredith, New Hampshire. He also spent a summer at the New London Barn Playhouse, located in New London, New Hampshire. Diggs's Broadway debut was in the ensemble cast of the 1994 Tony Award-winning revival of the musical Carousel. In 1995, he also performed as a dancer in Sebastian's Caribbean Carnival at Tokyo Disneyland.

Career[edit]

In 1996, he originated the role of the nasty landlord Benny in Jonathan Larson's Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent, which also starred his future wife, Idina Menzel. After Rent he appeared as Mr. Black alongside Idina Menzel's character of Kate in Andrew Lippa's off-Broadway production of The Wild Party at Manhattan Theatre Club. Diggs also played The Bandleader in the 2002 film version of the long-running Broadway revival of Chicago and filled in as Billy Flynn on Broadway.[5] He also temporarily filled in for Norbert Leo Butz (an original Rent standby) as the love interest Fiyero of Idina Menzel's Elphaba character in Wicked.

Diggs then moved from stage to television, with a role on the soap opera Guiding Light. In 1998, he made his film debut in How Stella Got Her Groove Back. This movie brought Diggs much acclaim and exposure. The following year he played a tantric sex god in Doug Liman's Go, and AWOL groom in the coming-of-age drama The Wood. Malcolm D. Lee's The Best Man features Diggs as the eponymous character, an author and best friend of the groom (portrayed by Morris Chestnut). He also starred in the remake of William Castle's The House on Haunted Hill. Diggs was featured in an episode of America's Next Top Model, to help the contestants through an acting challenge. Another notable role of his was when he guest starred on the comedy-drama Ally Mcbeal as a lawyer named Jackson Duper who was the love interest of the character Renee Raddick and also the possible love interest of the Ling Woo character.

Diggs portrayed the title character on the short-lived UPN television series Kevin Hill which despite critical acclaim was not renewed for a second season. He reprised the role of Benny for the 2005 Rent film. Diggs is featured on the following cast recordings: Carousel 1994 revival cast; Rent 1996 original Broadway cast; The Wild Party original off-Broadway cast. He also sings on the Rent film soundtrack. In 2002, he reprised his role as the Bandleader in the film adaptation of Chicago, and also played opposite Christian Bale as Bale's partner/antagonist Brandt in the dystopian sci-fi thriller Equilibrium.

In 2003, Diggs was on the TV show Punk'd after being tricked by Ashton Kutcher, while getting a check-up at a Punk'd-operated doctor's office. In early 2006, Diggs guest-starred for several episodes as Will Truman's love interest, James, on the final season of Will & Grace. In May, ABC picked up his pilot, Day Break, in which he portrayed a detective trapped in the same day and forced to relive it to clear his name of murder; the show debuted in mid-November 2006, but was abruptly canceled due to poor ratings. Although his film and television career continue to move forward, he still returns to the stage frequently. Most recently he was seen alongside James McDaniel in Charles Fuller's A Soldier's Play at Second Stage Theatre in New York.

Diggs co-starred opposite Kate Walsh in Private Practice, the fall 2007 spin-off of Grey's Anatomy.[6] Diggs had a guest role on The West Wing as a Secret Service agent in charge of the security detail for the President's daughter. He then guest-starred on Grey's Anatomy again in the Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice Crossover Event. Diggs stars in the live adaptation of the comic Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.[7] He also narrated the ESPN Films documentary The Fab Five about University of Michigan basketball players Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. Diggs is one of the stars of the independent film drama Between Us that won the grand jury prize at the 2012 Bahamas International Film Festival among its other festival appearances.[8] As of the summer of 2014 Taye Diggs is starring in serial crime drama Murder in the First alongside Kathleen Robertson [9]

Personal life[edit]

Diggs married actress Idina Menzel, his Rent co-star, on January 11, 2003. Their son, Walker Nathaniel Diggs, was born on September 2, 2009. On October 29 or 30, 2013, it was reported that Diggs and Menzel had separated after ten years of marriage.[10]

Diggs is the co-artistic director of a dance company, Dre.dance, with fellow Broadway veteran and School of the Arts alumnus Andrew Palermo.[11]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Other notes
1998 How Stella Got Her Groove Back Winston Shakespeare
1999 Go Marcus
The Wood Roland
The Best Man Harper Stewart
House on Haunted Hill Eddie Baker
2000 The Way of the Gun Jeffers
2002 New Best Friend Artie Bonner
Just a Kiss Andre
Brown Sugar Andre Romulus 'Dre' Ellis main role
Equilibrium Andrew Brandt
Chicago The Bandleader
2003 Basic Jay Pike
Malibu's Most Wanted Sean (aka Blood Bath)
2004 Drum Henry Nxumalo
2005 Rent Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III
Cake Hemingway Jones
2007 Slow Burn Jeffrey Sykes
2008 Days of Wrath Steve Lerato
2010 Our Family Wedding Whipped Friend
2011 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night Vampire Vargas
The Fab Five Narrator
2012 Between Us Carlo
Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire Tommy
2013 The Best Man Holiday Harper Stewart
Baggage Claim Langston Jefferson Battle III

TV credits[edit]

Year Title Role Other notes
1996 New York Undercover Stephon Episode 50: No Greater Love
1997 Guiding Light Adrian "Sugar" Hill
2001 Ally McBeal Jackson Duper 10 episodes
2003 Punk'd Himself Episode: 2.05
Ed Himself Episode: "Captain Lucidity"
2003 The West Wing Secret Service Agent Wesley Davis Episodes: "Twenty Five", "Commencement"
2004 America's Next Top Model Himself 1 episode
2004–2005 Kevin Hill Kevin Hill
2006 Cake Hemingway Jones
Will & Grace James Episodes: "Grace Expectations", "The Definition of Marriage", "I Love L. Gay", "Von Trapped"
2006–2007 Day Break Detective Brett Hopper
2007–2009 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Sam Bennett Episodes: "The Other Side of This Life: Part 1/Part 2" (Private Practice backdoor pilot), "Before and After"
2007–2013 Private Practice Dr. Sam Bennett Seasons 1–6; 111 episodes
2009 The Super Hero Squad Show Black Panther Voice
Better Off Ted Greg Episode: Love Blurts
2013 New Girl Artie, the coffee shop owner Episode: "Coach"
2014 Murder in the First Inspector Terrance English, SFPD Series regular

Awards and honors[edit]

Year Award Category Film Result
2000 Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture The Best Man Nominated
2002 Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Ally McBeal Nominated
2003 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Chicago Won
Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture Brown Sugar Nominated
2005 Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Kevin Hill Won
2008 Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Private Practice Nominated
2009 Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Private Practice Won[12]
2010 Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Private Practice Nominated

In popular culture[edit]

  • In 2012, in the "Dr. Klaustus" episode of the animated TV series American Dad, the character Roger the Alien sees a picture of Diggs in a magazine and comments that he's "still perfect." He refers to Diggs as "my constant, my ebony north star".
  • On the NBC television series Parks and Recreation, he is often referenced by character Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), who likens himself to Diggs explaining, "I'm a small, slender man, similar to actor Taye Diggs." Tom also fantasizes about "a burlesque nightclub that I co-own with actor Taye Diggs and two of the Pussycat Dolls."
  • On the ABC/TBS television series Cougar Town, the character Laurie Keller is shown to have a crush on Taye Diggs - she describes his smile as one that "lights up the world." She has numerous pictures of him in her apartment.

References[edit]

Notes

External links[edit]