Rhames in 2014
Irving Rameses Rhames
May 12, 1959
Harlem, New York, U.S.
|Education||State University of New York, Purchase|
Juilliard School (BFA)
(m. 1994; div. 1999)
Deborah Reed (m. 2000)
Irving Rameses Rhames (born May 12, 1959) is an American stage and screen actor. He is best known for his starring role as Luther Stickell in the Mission: Impossible film series and his supporting role as gang kingpin Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction. He also appeared in Jacob's Ladder (1990), Dave (1993), Striptease (1996), Don King: Only in America (1997), Rosewood (1997), Con Air (1997), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Dawn of the Dead (2004), Day of the Dead (2008), Baby Boy (2001),Piranha 3D (2010), and Father Figures (2017). He voiced Cobra Bubbles in the animated film Lilo & Stitch (2002). Rhames is a Golden Globe Award winner, as well as an Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee.
Early life and education
Rhames was born on May 12, 1959 in Harlem, New York City, the son of Reather, a homemaker, and Ernest Rhames, an auto mechanic. His parents were raised as sharecroppers in South Carolina. He was named after NBC journalist Irving R. Levine.
He entered New York's High School of Performing Arts, where he discovered his love of acting. After high school, he studied drama at SUNY Purchase, where fellow acting student Stanley Tucci gave him his nickname "Ving". Rhames later transferred to the Juilliard School's Drama Division (Group 12: 1979–1983) where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1983.
Rhames first appeared on Broadway in the play The Boys of Winter in 1984. He started out in film in Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs (1991) as Leroy, he watched over Kevin Kline as Secret Service agent Duane Stevensen in Dave (1993), and he played Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction (1994).
Rhames played Dr. Peter Benton's brother-in-law on the TV medical drama ER, a recurring role he filled for three seasons. He played ace computer hacker Luther Stickell opposite Tom Cruise in Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible (1996). In 1997 Rhames portrayed the character of Nathan 'Diamond Dog' Jones in the popular film Con Air. and Muki in the Ice Cube film Dangerous Ground.
Rhames won a Golden Globe in 1998 for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film in HBO's Don King: Only in America. At the ceremony he gave his award to fellow nominee Jack Lemmon, saying, "I feel that being an artist is about giving, and I'd like to give this to you." Lemmon was clearly touched by the gesture as was the celebrity audience who gave Lemmon a standing ovation. Lemmon, who tried unsuccessfully to give the award back to Rhames, said it was "one of the nicest, sweetest moments I've ever known in my life." The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced later that they would have a duplicate award prepared for Rhames. That moment was #98 on E!'s 101 Awesome Moments in Entertainment. The New York Times lauded Rhames for the act, writing that in doing so he "demonstrated his capacity for abundant generosity."
Rhames appeared in Striptease (1996) as the wisecracking bodyguard Shad, Bringing Out the Dead (1999), then reprised his Luther Stickell role for Mission: Impossible 2 (2000). He played Johnnie Cochran in American Tragedy (2000), the ex-con boyfriend of Jodie's mother in the John Singleton film Baby Boy, portrayed a gay drag queen in the television movie Holiday Heart, contributed his voice for the character of Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch (2002) and the subsequent TV series, and played a stoic cop fighting zombie hordes in Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Day of the Dead (2008) remakes. Rhames has also appeared in a series of television commercials for RadioShack, usually performing with Vanessa L. Williams.
In March 2005, Rhames played the lead role on a new Kojak series, on the USA Network cable channel (and on ITV4 in the UK). The bald head, lollipops, and "Who loves ya, baby?" catchphrase remained intact, but little else remained from the Savalas original.
Reprising his Luther role, Rhames co-starred in Mission: Impossible III (2006), had a cameo appearance in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), and played a major role in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) and Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018), the fifth and sixth films, respectively. He is the only actor besides Tom Cruise to appear in all six Mission: Impossible films. It was announced that he would have a role in the Aquaman-based show Mercy Reef, however due to the integration of The WB and UPN for the new network, CW, Mercy Reef was not picked up. Rhames played a homosexual, possibly also homicidal, firefighter who comes out of the closet in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. He narrates the BET television series American Gangster.
In the 2008 film Saving God, he played an ex-con who is released from prison a changed man looking to take over his father's former church congregation in a deteriorating neighborhood. Rhames stars in Phantom Punch, a biopic of boxer Sonny Liston released directly to DVD as well as The Tournament portraying a fighter out to win a no-rules tournament.
In 2015, he filmed a series of commercials for The ADT Corporation.
Rhames is one of the narrators for UFC.
Rhames's deep voice is the center of many recent (2015–present) Arby's commercials, with the catchline 'Arby's, we have the meats!'
|1984||Go Tell It on the Mountain||Young Gabriel Grimes|
|1988||Patty Hearst||Cinque Mtume|
|1989||Casualties of War||Lt. Reilly|
|1990||The Long Walk Home||Herbert Cotter|
|1991||Flight of the Intruder||CPO Frank McRae|
|1991||The People Under the Stairs||Leroy|
|1992||Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot||Mr. Stereo|
|1993||Blood in Blood Out||Ivan|
|1993||The Saint of Fort Washington||Little Leroy|
|1994||Pulp Fiction||Marsellus Wallace|
|1995||Kiss of Death||Omar|
|1996||Mission: Impossible||Luther Stickell|
|1997||Con Air||Nathan 'Diamond Dog' Jones|
|1998||Out of Sight||Buddy Bragg|
|1999||Entrapment||Aaron Thibadeaux||Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actor – Action|
|1999||Bringing Out the Dead||Marcus||Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2000||Mission: Impossible 2||Luther Stickell|
|2001||Baby Boy||Melvin||Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2001||Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within||Ryan Whittaker|
|2002||Undisputed||George "Iceman" Chambers|
|2002||Lilo & Stitch||Cobra Bubbles (voice)|
|2002||Dark Blue||Arthur Holland||Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2003||Stitch! The Movie||Cobra Bubbles (voice)|
|2004||Dawn of the Dead||Sgt. Kenneth Hall|
|2005||Back in the Day||Joseph "J-Bone" Brown|
|2005||Animal||James "Animal" Allen|
|2005||Shooting Gallery||Cue Ball Carl Bridgers|
|2006||Mission: Impossible III||Luther Stickell|
|2006||Leroy & Stitch||Cobra Bubbles (voice)|
|2007||I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry||Fred G. Duncan|
|2008||Animal 2||James "Animal" Allen|
|2008||A Broken Life||Vet|
|2008||Day of the Dead||Capt. Rhodes|
|2008||Saving God||Armstrong Cane|
|2008||Phantom Punch||Sonny Liston|
|2009||Echelon Conspiracy||Agent Dave Grant|
|2009||The Bridge to Nowhere||Nate|
|2009||The Tournament||Joshua Harlow|
|2009||The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard||Jibby Newsome|
|2009||Give 'Em Hell, Malone||Boulder|
|2010||Caged Animal||Miles "Cain" Skinner|
|2010||Master Harold...and the Boys||Sam|
|2010||Piranha 3D||Deputy Fallon|
|2010||King of the Avenue||Norman De'Sha|
|2010||Death Race 2||R.H. Weyland|
|2011||Julia X||The Man|
|2011||Soldiers of Fortune||Grimaud Torneur|
|2011||The River Murders||Captain Langley|
|2011||Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol||Luther Stickell||Uncredited cameo|
|2012||Piranha 3DD||Deputy Fallon|
|2012||Won't Back Down||Principal Thompson|
|2013||Death Race 3: Inferno||R.H. Weyland|
|2013||Force of Execution||Ice Man|
|2015||Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation||Luther Stickell|
|2017||Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2||Charlie-27||Cameo|
|2017||Father Figures||Rod Hamilton|
|2018||Mission: Impossible – Fallout||Luther Stickell|
|1985||Miami Vice||Georges||Episode: "The Maze"|
|1986||Crime Story||Hector Lincoln||Episode: "Abrams for the Defense"|
|1987||Miami Vice||Walker Monroe||Episode: "Child's Play"|
|1987||Tour of Duty||SP4 Tucker||Episode: "Burn Baby, Burn"|
|1988||Spenser: For Hire||Henry Brown||Episode: "McAllister"|
|1989||Men||Charlie Hazard||6 episodes|
|1989||The Equalizer||Luther Paxton||Episode: "Suicide Squad"|
|1990||When You Remember Me||Leon||TV film|
|1994–1996||ER||Walter Robbins||8 episodes|
|1995||Ed McBain's 87th Precinct: Lightning||Detective Artie Brown||TV film|
|1995||New York Undercover||Max Villareal||Episode: "Olde Thyme Religion"|
|1995||Deadly Whispers||Det. Jackson||TV film|
|1997||Don King: Only in America||Don King||TV film|
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
|2000||American Tragedy||Johnnie Cochran||TV film|
|2000||Holiday Heart||Holiday Heart||TV film|
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Actor on Television
|2001||UC: Undercover||Quito Real||3 episodes|
|2002||Sins of the Father||Garrick Jones||TV film|
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Actor on Television
|2002||Little John||John Morgan||TV film|
|2002||RFK||Judge Jones||TV film|
|2002||The Proud Family||Garrett Krebs||Episode: "A Hero for Halloween"|
|2002–2003||The District||Attorney General Troy Hatcher||5 episodes|
|2003||Lilo & Stitch: The Series||Cobra Bubbles
|2003||The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius||Chief||Episode: "Operation: Rescue Jet Fusion"|
|2005||Kojak||Theo Kojak||9 episodes|
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Actor on Television
|2007||Football Wives||Frank Wallingford||TV pilot|
|2010||Gravity||Dogg McFee||10 episodes|
|2011||Black Jack||Black Jack||TV film|
|2013||Monday Mornings||Dr. Jorge Villanueva||10 episodes|
|2014||A Day Late and a Dollar Short||Cecil Price||TV film|
|2003||Mission: Impossible – Operation Surma||Luther Stickell|
|2004||Driver 3||Tobias Jones|
|2017||Call of Duty: WWII||Jefferson Potts|
Awards and nominations
|1998||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor in Mini-Series or Motion Picture||Don King: Only in America||Won|||
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Best Actor in Mini-Series or Movie||Don King: Only in America||Nominated|
|Acalpulco Black Film Festival||Best Actor||Rosewood||Nominated|
|Image Awards||Outstanding Actor in Motion Picture||Rosewood||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in Television or Mini-Series||Don King: Only in America||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor - Mini-Series or TV Film||Don King: Only in America||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Best Actor - Mini-Series or TV Film||Don King: Only in America||Nominated|
|2000||Blockbuster Entertainment Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Action||Entrapment||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Comedy or Music||Bringing out the Dead||Nominated|
|ShoWest Convention||Best Supporting Actor||Won|||
|2001||Black Reel Awards||Best Actor - Network||Holiday Heart||Nominated|
|Image Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture||Mission: Impossible 2||Nominated|
|Locarno International Film Festival||Special Mention||Baby Boy||Won|
|2002||Black Reel Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Baby Boy||Nominated|
|Image Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series||UC: Undercover||Nominated|
|Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture||Baby Boy||Nominated|
|2003||Black Reel Awards||Best Actor - Mini-Series||Sins of the Father||Nominated|
|Image Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Comedy||The Proud Family||Nominated|
|Best Actor - Mini-Series or TV Film||Sins of the Father||Nominated|
|2004||Black Reel Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Dark Blue||Nominated|
|2006||Black Reel Awards||Best Actor - Television||Kojak||Nominated|
|2015||Black Reel Awards||Best Actor - Television||A Day Late and a Dollar Short||Nominated|
|Image Awards||Best Actor - Television||Nominated|
- Mills, Bart (October 17, 1999). "Ving And A Prayer Faith Is The Cornerstone Of Rhames' Life — And His Character's In Scorsese's 'Bringing Out The Dead'". New York Daily News.
- Charles, Nick (June 23, 1996). "Nursery Rhames ... 'Mission Impossible' And 'Pulp Fiction' Star Ving Learned His Values At His Mother's Knee". New York Daily News.
- WHO LOVES YA, BABY? 'KOJAK'S' BACK – AND THIS TIME, HE'S BLACK
- Newsmakers – Newsweek Entertainment – MSNBC.com
- "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. April 2010. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011.
- "Ving Rhames". All Movie Guide. The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
- Riché Richardson (2007). Black masculinity and the U.S. South: from Uncle Tom to gangsta. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0-8203-2890-1. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- Marlene Calvin (2010). Diasporic Lives: Alienation and Violence as Themes in African American Jamaican Cultural Texts. LIT Verlag Münster. ISBN 3-643-10574-6. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- Gerston, Jill. "Ving Rhames – About This Person". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
- "Ving Rhames Returns for Mission: Impossible 5". www.superherohype.com. August 17, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- Ving Rhames to Producer: Do I Look Like a Bitch?. TMZ.com. Retrieved on August 28, 2010.
- "1998 Golden Globes Award". Ropeofsilicon. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- Jones, Anderson (March 10, 2000). "ShoWest 2000 Signs Off". Eonline.com. Retrieved February 12, 2015.