Terrence Dashon Howard (born March 11, 1969) is an American actor and singer. Having his first major roles in the 1995 films Dead Presidents and Mr. Holland's Opus, Howard broke into the mainstream with a succession of television and cinema roles between 2004 and 2006. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Hustle & Flow. Howard has had prominent roles in many other movies including Winnie, Ray, Lackawanna Blues, Crash, Four Brothers, Get Rich or Die Tryin', Idlewild, August Rush, The Brave One and Prisoners. Howard played James Rhodes in the first Iron Man and its video game adaptation, but he was replaced by Don Cheadle for the future films. He currently stars as the lead character Lucious Lyon in the television series Empire. His debut album, Shine Through It, was released in September 2008.
Howard was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 11, 1969, to Tyrone and Anita (née Hawkins) Howard. He is the great-grandson of stage actress Minnie Gentry. Both of Howard's parents were biracial, with African and Anglo ancestry. Howard was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and experienced a rocky childhood, enduring disciplinary beatings from his physically abusive father, and even witnessing his father stabbing another man when he was just 2 years old in the Santa Line Slaying. The killing resulted in his father spending 11 months in jail for manslaughter. Howard's parents divorced upon his father's release. He was then raised by his great-grandmother, who died shortly after Howard appeared in Iron Man as Lt. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Tony Stark/Iron Man's best friend.
Howard first entered the entertainment world when he portrayed Jackie Jackson in The Jacksons: An American Dream, an ABC miniseries. Three years later, he made his big film break in 1995's Mr. Holland's Opus. He continued being cast in television and movie roles and co-starred as Greg Sparks in the late-1990s television series Sparks, with James L. Avery, Sr. and Miguel A. Nunez Jr. Howard also appeared in The Best Man in 1999, in Ashanti's music video for her 2002 single "Foolish", and in Mary J. Blige's video for "Be Without You". Howard made an appearance on the TV series Family Matters.
Howard has stated that he looks for characters that "teach him about himself" when choosing his film roles. Howard has also worked as a film producer, receiving such a credit for the film Pride. In 2008, Howard hosted the PBS series Independent Lens.
For the 2005 movie Hustle & Flow, Howard performed all the tracks for his character, including "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp", which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 78th Academy Awards.
Howard was the highest-paid cast member of the 2008 film Iron Man. He did not appear in either of the follow-up sequels because it was reported that he would have had to take a 50 to 80 percent pay cut and was replaced by actor Don Cheadle.
Howard released his debut adult alternative album, Shine Through It, in 2008 on Columbia/SME Records. He described the album as urban country and either wrote or co-wrote all the tracks on the album.
In 2008, he made his Broadway debut, playing Brick in an all-African-American production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, directed by Debbie Allen and also starring James Earl Jones (Big Daddy), Phylicia Rashad (Big Mama) and Anika Noni Rose (Maggie). During rehearsals he allegedly attacked and seriously injured musical composer Tex Allen (brother of the director), who said he suffered multiple injuries as a result of being punched multiple times in the head and face. In October 2008, Allen filed a $5 million lawsuit against Howard.
In October 2008, Howard made a guest appearance in the short film For All Mankind directed by Daniel L. Clifton, filmed on location in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. In 2009, he starred in the movie Fighting.
It was reported on July 30, 2010, that Howard had joined the cast of the new Law & Order: Los Angeles installment of the Law & Order franchise, where he played Deputy District Attorney Joe Dekker. He alternated shows with Alfred Molina, who portrayed Deputy District Attorney Ricardo Morales. The series was cancelled after one season. In 2011, Howard played Nelson Mandela in Winnie Mandela alongside Jennifer Hudson.
Since 2015, he stars on the Fox television series, Empire. The former was created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong in which he plays a hip-hop mogul who discovers he is dying and must ensure the survival of his music empire. The cast includes Taraji P. Henson and Gabourey Sidibe. He was also part of the Fox series Wayward Pines, which ran for one season in 2015. The latter series was produced by M. Night Shyamalan and also included cast members Matt Dillon, Melissa Leo, and Juliette Lewis.
Howard married his first wife, Lori McCommas, in 1994. They had three children together: daughters Aubrey and Heaven, and son Hunter. Through Aubrey, Howard has two grandchildren, a granddaughter born in December 2012 and a grandson (Adrian) born in February 2015. Howard and McCommas divorce filed in 2000 and finalized in 2003, but remarried in 2005. They subsequently filed for divorce a year later and finalized for a second time in 2007. McCommas was born Jewish but was raising their children as Jehovah's Witnesses.
Howard married his second wife, commercial production employee Michelle Ghent. Ghent filed for divorce in February 2011. Ghent filed for a restraining order in December 2011, accusing Howard of being physically abusive toward her. Their divorce was finalized in May 2013.
Though he did not complete his engineering degree, Howard thinks of himself as an engineer and intends to return one day to complete the "three credits" of which he is currently short. Howard's account of his educational history has not been confirmed; Pratt Institute, which he says he attended, closed its engineering degree program in 1993. On February 26, 2013, Howard said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that he had earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from South Carolina State University that year. He was awarded an honorary "Doctorate of Humane Letters" from SCSU after speaking at its commencement ceremony in 2012. However, he never attended the university and in fact the university is not empowered to confer doctorates in chemical engineering.
In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Howard explained that he had formulated his own language of logic, which he called Terryology, and which he was keeping secret until he had patented it. This logic language would be used to prove his contention that "1 x 1 = 2".
"How can it equal one?" he said. "If one times one equals one that means that two is of no value because one times itself has no effect. One times one equals two because the square root of four is two, so what's the square root of two? Should be one, but we're told it's two, and that cannot be."
Howard blames his leaving Pratt over disagreements with a professor regarding this hypothesis. He also stated that he spends many hours a day constructing models of plastic and wire that he patented and claims to confirm his belief.
In February 2009, it was reported on The Smoking Gun that Howard was arrested in 2001 for a variety of charges related to a violent attack on his estranged first wife, including simple assault, terrorist threats, harassment and stalking. According to police reports, he arrived at her house after an argument on the phone, forced entry into her home by breaking in doors, and chased her into the backyard where he punched her twice in the face with a closed fist. The violent attack ended when Howard's brother stepped in. In 2002, he pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace.
According to The Smoking Gun, Howard was also arrested for assaulting a Continental Airlines flight attendant after refusing her request to return to his seat because the seat belt sign was on.
On December 5, 2011, a judge granted Howard's then-wife Michelle Ghent a restraining order based on her claims that Howard had caused her physical injuries that required medical attention, once broke her computer in half, repeatedly threatened her, and stalked her by telephone and on the Internet.
In August 2013, Howard's second wife, Michelle Ghent, obtained a second restraining order against him after showing up in court with a black eye she says he gave her. Howard initially denied hitting her but, later, admitted in court to a "mutual" physical altercation, which he claimed included being pepper sprayed by Ghent.
In a September 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Howard admitted to hitting his first wife in 2001 saying, "she was talking to me real strong, and I lost my mind and slapped her in front of the kids."
|1992||The Jacksons: An American Dream||Adult Jackie Jackson|
|1993||Who's the Man?||Customer|
|1995||Mr. Holland's Opus||Louis Russ|
|1996||Johns||Jimmy the Warlock|
|1998||Players Club, TheThe Players Club||K.C.|
|1999||Best Laid Plans||Jimmy|
|1999||Best Man, TheThe Best Man||Quentin Spivey||NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actor
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
|2000||Big Momma's House||Lester Vesco|
|2000||Love Beat the Hell Outta Me||Chris|
|2002||Hart's War||Lt. Lincoln A. Scott|
|2003||Biker Boyz||Chu Chu|
|2004||Crash||Cameron Thayer||Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor
Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Florida Film Critics Circle Pauline Kael Breakout Award
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
National Board of Review Award for Breakthrough Performance by an Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Black Movie Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
|2004||Ray||Gossie McKee||Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|2005||Hustle & Flow||Djay||Austin Film Critics Association Award for Breakthrough Artist
BET Award for Best Actor
Black Movie Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Black Reel Award for Best Actor
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Song
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Gotham Award – Breakthrough Award
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
|2005||Four Brothers||Lt. Green||Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble|
|2005||Get Rich or Die Tryin'||Bama|
|2007||Pride||Jim Ellis||Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture|
|2007||Hunting Party, TheThe Hunting Party||Duck (journalist)|
|2007||Brave One, TheThe Brave One||Detective Mercer|
|2007||August Rush||Richard Jeffries (child counselor)|
|2007||Awake||Dr. Jack Harper|
|2007||Perfect Holiday, TheThe Perfect Holiday||Mr. Bah Humbug|
|2008||Iron Man||USAF Lt. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes||Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|2008||Phillies World Series Champions DVD||Narrator|
|2009||Princess and the Frog, TheThe Princess and the Frog||James||Voice role|
|2011||Little Murder||Drag Hammerman|
|2011||Ledge, TheThe Ledge||Hollis Lucetti|
|2011||Winnie Mandela||Nelson Mandela|
|2012||Red Tails||Col. A.J. Bullard|
|2012||On The Road||Walter|
|2012||The Company You Keep||Cornelius|
|2013||Movie 43||Coach Jackson||Segment "Victory's Glory"|
|2013||Dead Man Down||Alphonse Hoyt|
|2013||House of Bodies||Starks|
|2013||The Best Man Holiday||Quentin Spivey|
|2014||Sabotage||Julius "Sugar" Edmonds|
|2016||Term Life||Sheriff Braydon|
|1992||Jacksons: An American Dream, TheThe Jacksons: An American Dream||Jackie Jackson|
|1993||Tall Hopes||Chester Harris|
|1995||The O. J. Simpson Story||Young A.C.|
|2000||King of the World||Cassius Clay|
|2001||Boycott||Ralph Abernathy||Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
|2005||Their Eyes Were Watching God||Amos Hicks|
|2005||Lackawanna Blues||Bill Crosby||NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actor
|1994||Family Matters||John||1 episode|
|1994||Living Single||Brendan King|
|1994||Getting By||Herbert||1 episode|
|1994||Picket Fences||Malik||2 episodes|
|1995||New York Undercover||Buster Goings|
|1998–99||NYPD Blue||A.J. Foreman / Lonnie||2 episodes|
|2002–03||Soul Food||Benny Jones||2 episodes|
|2003||Street Time||Lucius Mosley||13 episodes|
|2010–11||Law & Order: LA||Senior D.D.A. Jonah "Joe" Dekker||Series regular|
|2011||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Senior D.D.A. Jonah "Joe" Dekker||Episode: "Reparations"|
|2012||Hawaii Five-0||Billy||Episode: "I Ka Wa Mamua"|
|2015–present||Empire||Lucious Lyon||Series regular
Won—BET Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Drama TV Actor
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Villain
Nominated—Teen Choice Awards for Choice TV Chemistry
Nominated—People's Choice Awards, Favorite Dramatic TV Actor (2016)
Pending—People's Choice Awards, Favorite Dramatic TV Actor (2017)
|2015–16||Wayward Pines||Sheriff Arnold Pope||Series regular (season 1)
Recurring (season 2)
|2017||Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams||George||Episode: "Real Life"|
|2008||Iron Man||USAF Lt. Col. James "Rhodey" Rhodes||Voice role|
|2005||"Be Without You"||Mary J. Blige||4:07||The Breakthrough||Be Without You|
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