Mekhi Phifer

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Mekhi Phifer
Phifer at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1974-12-29) December 29, 1974 (age 49)
Years active1994–present
(m. 1999; div. 2003)
Reshelet Barnes Phifer
(m. 2013)

Mekhi Phifer (/mɛˌk ˈffər/ meh-KY FY-fər; born December 29, 1974) is an American actor. He portrayed Dr. Greg Pratt on NBC's long-running medical drama ER from 2002 to 2008, and had a co-starring role opposite rapper Eminem in the 2002 feature film 8 Mile. He was a recurring cast member on the Fox crime show Lie to Me in the role of Ben Reynolds before season 3, and also starred as CIA officer Rex Matheson in Torchwood: Miracle Day.

Early life[edit]

Phifer was born on December 29, 1974,[1][2] in Harlem, New York City. He grew up in a single-parent household with his mother, Rhoda Phifer,[3] a high-school teacher.[citation needed]


In 1994, while attending Columbia University to study electrical engineering, 18-year-old Phifer attended an open-casting call for director Spike Lee's Clockers, beating over a thousand others to get the lead role as a narcotics dealer embroiled in a murder cover-up.[2] He followed that role with another in the comedy spoof feature High School High (which also starred his former wife Malinda Williams) and continued by co-starring in the horror film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. He also starred in the film Paid in Full in 2002.

He portrayed Dr. Gregory Pratt on the NBC medical drama ER, a role which he introduced in April 2002. Phifer left the show in September 2008, in the first episode of Season 15. His character died during the conclusion of the season 14 finale cliffhanger involving an ambulance explosion that was rigged to kill an injured FBI informant (Steve Buscemi). During his six years in the show, he was nominated twice for an NAACP Image Award.

Phifer on the flight deck of USS Nimitz in 2004

Phifer's television credits include the film The Tuskegee Airmen (1995), HBO's Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground (1997), and Brian's Song as former Chicago Bear Gale Sayers. He received additional notice for his performance opposite singer Beyoncé Knowles (from Destiny's Child) on MTV's alternative take on the Carmen legend with the film Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001).

Phifer had a recurring guest role in the fifth and sixth seasons of Homicide: Life on the Street, portraying "Junior Bunk", the troubled nephew of Baltimore drug lord Luther Mahoney, and also guest-starred in New York Undercover. He earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for the TV film, A Lesson Before Dying, opposite Don Cheadle. In 2009, Phifer began a guest-starring arc on the Fox drama Lie to Me.[4]

Among Phifer's other big-screen credits are Soul Food, The Biography of Spud Webb, Hell's Kitchen, NYC, Tears of a Clown, O (as the titular character Odin a.k.a. O), and the thriller Uninvited Guest (as Silk). He appeared in Impostor as well as Paid in Full, an urban classic, that has given him notorious recognition as he portrayed Mitch and director Curtis Hanson's 8 Mile, opposite Eminem. He is mentioned in the Grammy- and Academy Award-winning song "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.

In June 2011, Phifer starred alongside John Barrowman and Eve Myles as CIA agent Rex Matheson in Torchwood: Miracle Day, the fourth series of the BBC/Starz Entertainment TV show Torchwood. In December of that year, he also starred on Broadway in Lydia Diamond's Stick Fly.

Phifer starred as Agent Collins in the fourth season of White Collar.

He made a guest appearance on the sitcom series Husbands in its second season.[5]

In Fall 2016, he joined the TV show Frequency as a series regular.

Personal life[edit]

Phifer has a son with his former wife, actress Malinda Williams. His second son was born to Oni Souratha in Los Angeles in 2007.[6] On March 30, 2013, Phifer married his longtime girlfriend Reshelet Barnes in Beverly Hills, California.[7]

Other activities[edit]

Phifer was the 2004 winner of the Celebrity Poker Showdown Championship, defeating Neil Patrick Harris during the fourth season. Phifer plays on the World Poker Tour in the Hollywood Home games for the Love Our Children USA charity. Phifer is chairman of the board of trustees of The Vine Group USA.[8] a non-profit organization established in 2000 to provide educational resources to universities in Africa. He has signed up with Full Tilt Poker. He has his own well on the poker forum 2+2.

Phifer is an owner of a number of Athlete's Foot athletic shoe-store franchises in California.[2]

In January 2011, Phifer launched Third Reel Films.[9] The stated mission of the company is to provide an environment for filmmakers to showcase their work to entertainment representatives, acquisition executives, and other key-industry professionals.



Year Title Role Notes
1995 The Tuskegee Airmen Lewis Johns Television film
Clockers Ronald 'Strike' Dunham
1996 Girl 6 Himself
High School High Griff McReynolds
Sureshot Kevin
1997 SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground Man in Hallway Television film
Soul Food Lem Van Adams
Hav Plenty Harold
1998 Hell's Kitchen Johnny
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Tyrell Martin
1999 A Lesson Before Dying Jefferson Television film
Uninvited Guest Silk
2000 Shaft Trey Howard
2001 Carmen: A Hip Hopera Derek Hill Television film
O Odin "O" James
Impostor Cale
Brian's Song Gale Sayers Television film
Head Games John Ambrose, Jr. 'John John'
2002 The Other Brother Martin
Paid in Full Mitch
8 Mile David "Future" Porter
2003 Honey Chaz
2004 Dawn of the Dead Andre
2005 Slow Burn Isaac Duperde
2006 Puff, Puff, Pass Big Daddy
2007 This Christmas Gerald
2008 Nora's Hair Salon 2: A Cut Above Dr. Terry
2009 A Day in the Life King Khi
2010 Tenement Tyrese Harris
2011 Flypaper Darrien
Last Man Standing Jeremy Davis Television film
2013 The Suspect The Suspect
The Love Section James Johnson
2014 Divergent Max
A Day Late and a Dollar Short Lewis Television film
2015 The Divergent Series: Insurgent Max
2016 Pandemic Gunner
The Divergent Series: Allegiant Max
2017 Chocolate City: Vegas Strip Best Valentine
2018 A Talent for Trouble Mekhi Phifer
Canal Street Prosecutor A.J Canton
2019 Obsession Sonny
2024 Lights Out Max Bomer [10]
TBA The Supremes At Earl's All-You-Can-Eat TBA Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Models Inc. Model #2 Episode: "By Crook or by Hook"
1995–96 New York Undercover Dion Broat / Sekou 2 episodes
1996–98 Homicide: Life on the Street Nathaniel Lee "Junior Bunk" Mahoney 3 episodes
2002–08 ER Gregory Pratt Recurring cast: season 8, main cast: season 9–14, guest: season 15
2004 Punk'd Himself Episode: "Episode #3.6"
2005 Curb Your Enthusiasm Omar Jones Recurring cast: season 5
2008 The Black Poker Stars Invitational Himself TV series
2009–11 Lie to Me Ben Reynolds Recurring cast: season 1, main cast: season 2
2011 Torchwood Agent Rex Matheson Main cast: season 4
2012 Psych Drake Episode: "Let's Doo-Wop It Again"
White Collar Kyle Collins Episode: "Wanted" & "Most Wanted"
Husbands Mark Episode: "The Straightening"
2014 House of Lies Andrew "Dre" Collins Recurring cast: season 3
2015 Key & Peele Cousin Episode: "Hollywood Sequel Doctor"
2016 Roots Jerusalem Episode: "Part 4"
Secret City US Ambassador to Australia Moreton Main cast: season 1
2016–17 Frequency Satch Reyna Main cast
2017 Match Game Himself/Celebrity Panelist TV series
2018 Chicago P.D. Joe Baker Episode: "Captive"
The Bobby Brown Story Tommy Brown 2 episodes
2019–23 Truth Be Told Markus Killebrew Main cast
2020–22 Love, Victor Harold Brooks Recurring cast

Music videos[edit]


  1. ^ "BIRTHDAYS 29 Dec: Mary Tyler Moore is 74. Ted Danson is 64. Patricia Clarkson is 52. Jude Law is 39. @MekhiPhifer is 37. Diego Luna is 32". Mekhi Phifer Verified Twitter. December 29, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2014. Mekhi Phifer retweeted this to his Verified Twitter Account
  2. ^ a b c "Mekhi Phifer". Archived from the original on May 7, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  3. ^ "Mekhi Phifer".
  4. ^ "'Lie to Me' recruits Mekhi Phifer". Zap2it. Retrieved May 6, 2009.
  5. ^ Hollywood Stars Drop in on Male Newlyweds in 'Husbands',, August 18, 2012, retrieved August 18, 2012
  6. ^ Saad, Nardine (May 7, 2014). "Report: Mekhi Phifer of 'ER,' 'Divergent' files for bankruptcy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "Former 'ER' actor Mekhi Phifer marries Reshelet Barnes". United Press International. April 1, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  8. ^ The Vine Group, USA
  9. ^ Thirdreel,
  10. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (January 27, 2022). "Frank Grillo, Mekhi Phifer, Scott Adkins & Dermot Mulroney Set For Action Movie 'Lights Out'". Deadline Hollywood.

External links[edit]