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Morris Chestnut

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Morris Chestnut
Chestnut at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2010
Morris Lamont Chestnut

(1969-01-01) January 1, 1969 (age 55)
Years active1990–present
Pam Byse-Chestnut
(m. 1995)

Morris Lamont Chestnut (born January 1, 1969) is an American actor. He first came to prominence for his role as Ricky in the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood. He has appeared in feature films such as G.I. Jane, The Brothers, Like Mike, Ladder 49, The Game Plan, The Call, and Kick-Ass 2. He has also played Lance Sullivan in The Best Man, reprising the role in sequel film The Best Man Holiday, and follow-up series The Best Man: The Final Chapters.

His television work has included regular roles as Ryan Nichols in ABC's V, Ike Prentiss in Showtime's Nurse Jackie, the lead role of Beaumont Darius Rosewood, Jr. in Fox's Rosewood, Hakeem Rashad in Prime Video's Goliath, and Barrett Cain in Fox's The Resident. He will play the title character in the upcoming CBS medical drama Watson.[1]

He has been nominated for four NAACP Image Awards, winning once for Nurse Jackie. His body of work has seen him receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Early life[edit]

Chestnut was born on January 1, 1969, in Cerritos, California,[2] the son of Morris and Shirley Chestnut.[3] His mother was a teacher, while his father worked as a medical salesman.[4] He studied finance and drama at California State University, Northridge.[5][4] Chestnut worked as a bank teller prior to being an actor.[6]


Boys n the Hood and breakout[edit]

Chestnut's first professional acting role was as Jason in Freddy's Nightmares – A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series, season 2, episode 19 ("A Family Affair"), which aired on February 18, 1990. His first feature film role was as Ricky Baker in Boyz n the Hood (1991).[7] He followed that up with roles in various TV movies, notably including the Peabody Award winning Disney Channel film The Ernest Green Story, in which he played Ernest Green. Chestnut also appeared in Patti LaBelle's short-lived sitcom Out All Night.[8] His career continued to rise steadily with co-starring roles in standard big-budget studio films such as Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) with Steven Seagal and Katherine Heigl, and G.I. Jane (1997) with Demi Moore. He was also a regular cast member on C-16, in the role of Special Agent Mal Robinson, from 1997 to 1998.[9]

The Best Man and other films[edit]

In 1999, Chestnut starred in The Best Man with Taye Diggs and Nia Long, as a professional football player on the eve of his wedding.[10] The Best Man earned positive reviews from the press and did well at the box office. For his performance, Chestnut earned an NAACP Image Award nomination.[11] He again played a football player in Disney's The Game Plan (2007), co-starring opposite Dwayne Johnson.

Chestnut starred in The Brothers (2001), a film centering on the themes of fidelity and success among young Black professionals.[12] That same year, he portrayed Keith Fenton, the love interest of Vivica A. Fox, in the romantic comedy Two Can Play That Game[13] and appeared as basketball player Tracey Reynolds in 2002 film Like Mike.[14] In 2004, he played firefighter Tommy Drake in Ladder 49, opposite John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix.[15]

He has worked with Steven Seagal three times: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995) as his reluctant partner[16] and lead male villain in Half Past Dead (2002)[17] and Prince of Pistols (2008).

Chestnut appeared in four films in 2013: Identity Thief, The Call, Kick-Ass 2 (playing Omari Hardwick's character from the first film), and The Best Man sequel The Best Man Holiday, in which he reprised his role as Lance Sullivan, earning him another NAACP Image Award nomination.[18]

Recent cinema work includes The Perfect Guy, Heist (both 2015) and When the Bough Breaks (2016)

Television work[edit]

In recent years, the majority of Chestnut's work has been in television.

From 2009 to 2011, Chestnut starred in the ABC science fiction drama V, based on the classic 1983 miniseries. In 2013, he joined the cast of Showtime's medical dramedy Nurse Jackie as war veteran Dr. Ike Prentiss, staying for two seasons.[19] For his performance in the latter, he won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.[20] Shortly afterward, he co-starred in the TNT crime drama Legends opposite Sean Bean.

From 2015 to 2017, Chestnut played the lead role of pathologist Dr. Beaumont "Rosie" Rosewood Jr. in the Fox crime procedural Rosewood,[21] receiving another NAACP image Award nomination as a result.[22]

Chestnut had main roles in the second season of Prime Video's Goliath, and NBC's The Enemy Within. He played cold-hearted neurosurgeon Barrett Cain in seasons three and four of the Fox medical drama The Resident, and appeared as Raymond Dupont in the short-lived Our Kind of People, also for Fox.[23]

In 2022, he once again played Lance Sullivan in the Peacock limited series The Best Man: The Final Chapters. As of 2023, he hosts the OWN docuseries Rebuilding Black Wall Street, produced by Sunwise Media.[24] In 2024, he starred opposite Diarra Kilpatrick in the BET+ mystery-dramedy Diarra from Detroit.

In 2025, Chestnut will star in the CBS medical-mystery series Watson, playing Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes stories.[25]

Personal life and other work[edit]

Chestnut has been married to Pam Byse-Chestnut since 1995. The couple has two children, son Grant and daughter Paige.[26] Chestnut was raised in the Baptist church, and he is a practicing Christian.[27]

In 1998, Chestnut won the annual Madden Bowl video game competition.[28]

To prepare to reprise his role as professional football player Lance Sullivan in the movie The Best Man Holiday, Chestnut had to get into shape. His fitness training experience with celebrity fitness trainer Obi Obadike inspired him to become Obadike's co-author on the health and fitness book, The Cut. Published on April 18, 2017, the book contains exercise drills and recipes.[29]

People magazine named Chestnut as one of the "Sexiest Men Alive" in 2015.[30]

In March 2022, Chestnut was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a star that was unveiled in his presence.[31]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 Boyz n the Hood Ricky Baker
The Last Boy Scout Locker Room Kid
1994 The Inkwell Harold Lee
1995 Higher Learning Track Anchor
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Bobby Zachs
1997 G.I. Jane McCool
Firehouse Andre
1999 The Best Man Lance Sullivan
2001 The Brothers Jackson Smith
Two Can Play That Game Keith Fenton
Scenes of the Crime Ray
2002 Like Mike Tracy Reynolds
Half Past Dead Donny Johnson / 49ner One
2003 Confidence Travis
2004 Breakin' All the Rules Evan Fields
Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid Gordon Mitchell
Ladder 49 Tommy Drake
2005 The Cave 'Top' Buchanan
2007 The Game Plan Travis Sanders
The Perfect Holiday Benjamin
2009 Not Easily Broken Dave Johnson
Love in the Nick of Tyme Marcelles Wynters Video
2012 Think Like a Man James Merrill
2013 Identity Thief Detective Reilly
The Call Officer Phillips
Kick-Ass 2 Detective Marcus Williams
The Best Man Holiday Lance Sullivan
2015 The Perfect Guy Dave
Heist Derrick 'Dog' Prince
2016 When the Bough Breaks John Taylor
2017 Girls Trip Himself


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Freddy's Nightmares Jason Woodman Episode: "A Family Affair"
1992 In the Line of Duty: Street War Prince Franklin TV movie
1992–1993 Out All Night Jeff Carswell Main role
1993 The Ernest Green Story Ernest Green TV movie
1994 Living Single Hamilton Brown 2 episodes
1997–1998 C-16: FBI Special Agent Mal Robinson Main role
2000 ER ICU Nurse Frank 'Rambo' Bacon 2 episodes
2001 The Killing Yard Shango TV movie
2005 Bones Agent Oakes Episode: "The Man in the Wall"
Dante Dante TV movie
2008 The Prince of Motor City Leo Moore TV movie
2009–2011 V Ryan Nichols Main role
2011 American Horror Story Luke Recurring role (season 1)
2013 American Dad! Craig (voice) Episode: "For Black Eyes Only"
2013–2014 Nurse Jackie Dr. Ike Prentiss Main role (seasons 5-6)
2014–2015 Legends Tony Rice Main role (season 1), guest (season 2)
2015–2017 Rosewood Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. Main role
2018 Goliath Deputy District Attorney Hakeem Rashad Main role (season 2)
2019 Being Mary Jane Beau Mercer Episode: "Becoming Pauletta"
The Enemy Within FBI Agent Will Keaton Main role
2019–2021 The Resident Dr. Barrett Cain Main role (seasons 3–4), Recurring role (season 5)
2021 Our Kind of People Raymond Dupont Main role
2022 The Best Man: The Final Chapters Lance Sullivan Main role
2023 The Daily Show Himself (Guest) Episode: January 17
Rebuilding Black Wall Street Himself (Host)
2024 Diarra from Detroit Swa Main role
2025 Watson Dr. John Watson Main role, also executive producer (upcoming)

Theatrical performances[edit]

  • Love In The Nick of Tyme (2007)
  • What My Husband Doesn't Know (2011)
  • The Nutcracker (2013)

Published work[edit]

  • Chestnut, Morris (2017). The Cut: Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 10 Days and Sculpt Your Best Body. Hachette Book Group, Inc. ISBN 978-1455565238.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Recipient Outcome
2000 NAACP Image Award NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture The Best Man Nominated
2014 Acapulco Black Film Festival Acapulco Black Film Festival Award for Best Acting Ensemble The Best Man Holiday Won
Acapulco Black Film Festival Award for Best Actor Nominated
NAACP Image Award NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Nominated
NAACP Image Award NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Nurse Jackie Won
2016 NAACP Image Award NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Rosewood Nominated


  1. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 3, 2024). "Morris Chestnut to Star in 'Watson' as Arthur Conan Doyle-Inspired Drama Gets CBS Series Order". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  2. ^ "Today's Birthdays". Toledo Blade. January 1, 2004. p. D3.
  3. ^ "Morris Chestnut". TVGuide.com. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Perlman, Cindy (March 18, 2001). "Morris Chestnut shows his sensitive side in 'The Brothers'". Record-Journal. pp. F1, F6.
  5. ^ Kiesewetter, John (October 24, 1992). "'Boyz' star success on TV comedy". Sun Journal. p. 14.
  6. ^ Longeretta, Emily (March 23, 2022). "Morris Chestnut Reflects on Surviving and Thriving Three Decades in the Business: 'In Hollywood, There's No Blueprint'". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  7. ^ Walentis, Al (July 16, 1991). "'Boyz N the Hood' an auspicious debut". Reading Eagle. p. 11.
  8. ^ Wood, Bret (January 16, 1993). "'Out All Night' has LaBelle and much more". The Dispatch. p. 2.
  9. ^ Terrace, Vincent. Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 Through 2007 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2008), p. 331.
  10. ^ Carr, Jay (October 30, 1999). "A celebration of friendship". Toledo Blade. p. 6.
  11. ^ "NAACP announces Image Award nominees". The Michigan Daily. December 2, 1999. p. 13B.
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 23, 2001). "It's All About the Characters". Lakeland Ledger. p. 4.
  13. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (September 8, 2001). "Comedy plays up game between sexes". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. C-7.
  14. ^ Rickey, Carrie (July 2, 2002). "Charismatic Bow Wow goes hoop-hop in 'Like Mike'". Daily News. p. 4B.
  15. ^ Monush, Barry; Willis, John (April 2006). Screen World: 2005 Film Annual. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 134. ISBN 9781557836670.
  16. ^ Holden, Stephen (July 17, 1995). "Once again, Seagal on the spot to save world". The Spokesman-Review. p. C5.
  17. ^ Cherry, Nanciann (November 15, 2002). "Seagal entertains with strong cast, lots of action". Toledo Blade. p. E4.
  18. ^ Couch, Aaron; Washington, Arlene (February 22, 2014). "NAACP Image Awards: The Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  19. ^ Gilbert, Matthew (April 11, 2013). "'Nurse Jackie': Every step she takes". Boston.com. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  20. ^ "NAACP Image Awards: Beyonce, John Legend Win Top Music Honors". Billboard. February 23, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  21. ^ Perigard, Mark (September 23, 2015). "Poor diagnosis: Morris Chestnut plays crime-solving pathologist in 'Rosewood'". Boston Herald. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  22. ^ "'Straight Outta Compton,' 'Empire,' Michael B. Jordan Top NAACP Image Awards". Variety. February 5, 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  23. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 17, 2021). "Morris Chestnut to Star in Lee Daniels' 'Our Kind of People' for Fox". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  24. ^ Bell, BreAnna (2023-09-06). "OWN Unveils 'Rebuilding Black Wall Street' Trailer With Morris Chestnut as Host, Sets Premiere Date (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  25. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 3, 2024). "Morris Chestnut to Star in 'Watson' as Arthur Conan Doyle-Inspired Drama Gets CBS Series Order". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  26. ^ Carvajal, Edduin (2019-01-29). "Morris Chestnut's grown-up son shows off his shirtless body, posing by the sea in recent photos". amomama.com. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  27. ^ GRAHAM, CHANEL (January 6, 2009). "Making Marriage Work". Christianity Today. Retrieved June 6, 2019. Chestnut: I was raised in a Baptist church, so I've always been strong in my faith.
  28. ^ "EA SPORTS and NFL PLAYERS Present Madden Bowl XVII – Broadcast live on ESPN3.com". EA Sports. Retrieved June 6, 2024.
  29. ^ Jack, Fisher (2017-04-18). "Morris Chestnut and Obi Obadike's 'The Cut: Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 10 Days". EURweb. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  30. ^ "The Weeknd, Jussie Smollett Among People's Sexiest Men of the Year - Music News". ABC News Radio. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  31. ^ "Morris Chestnut gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame". KTTV. 23 March 2022. Retrieved 25 March 2022 – via Fox News affiliates.

External links[edit]