HEAD OF STATE
CHRIS ROCK (Mays Gilliam/Director/Producer/Co-Screenwriter), widely recognized
as one of America's most influential comedians, is also one of its most
honored, having been recognized with numerous awards, including three Emmys, two
Grammys, and an American Comedy Award.
In 2001, Rock appeared in two feature
films, first starring in the romantic comedy "Down to Earth," which he
also co-wrote. Directed by Paul and Chris Weitz, the film is an updated remake
of "Heaven Can Wait" with an urban twist. Later in the year, he
produced and starred in the comedy "Pootie Tang."
Rock previously joined the ensemble
cast of Neil LaBute's critically acclaimed dark comedy "Nurse
Betty," which won the Palm D'Or for Best Screenplay at the 2000 Cannes
Film Festival. The film teamed Rock with Morgan Freeman as a pair of hitmen who are trying to track down and kill
the title character, who witnessed their latest hit. Rock's other feature film
credits include Kevin Smith's "Dogma"; the hit sequel "Lethal
Weapon 4"; 2002's "Bad Company," with Anthony Hopkins;
"New Jack City," as a desperate crack addict, which marked his first
dramatic role; "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!," with Keenen Ivory Wayans;
and "Beverly Hills Cop II," in which he made his feature film debut.
He also lent his voice to the hit comedy "Dr. Dolittle," and Steven
Spielberg's futuristic fantasy "A.I."
Rock grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant
neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. After honing his comedic skills on the
comedy club circuit, he realized a long-held dream when he joined the cast of
"Saturday Night Live" in 1989. In 1994, Rock emerged as a comedy star
in his own right with the award-winning HBO special "Chris Rock: Big Ass
Jokes." In 1996, he scored even greater success with another HBO special,
"Bring the Pain," which brought Rock two 1997 Emmy Awards for
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special and Outstanding Writing. That same
year, Rock also picked up an Emmy nomination for his writing on the then-cable
show "Politically Incorrect."
"Bring the Pain" had a
successful life beyond its airing on HBO. DreamWorks Records released a home
video and DVD of the special, as well as a Grammy Award-winning CD, which also
contains musical bits and comedy sketches.
In the wake of his two highly rated,
award-winning specials, Rock expanded his presence on HBO to the series
"The Chris Rock Show," which brought Rock a shared Emmy for
Outstanding Writing. In addition, he received three more shared Emmy nominations
for writing, two nominations for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series,
and two individual nominations for his work as the series host.
Rock's most recent HBO special,
"Bigger & Blacker," accorded the comedian a more personal triumph,
as the one-hour stand-up comedy show was taped on the stage of Harlem's
legendary Apollo Theatre. It also spawned a hit CD, produced by Rock and rap
impresario Prince Paul, which won a 2000 Grammy Award for Best Spoken or Comedy
Album. In addition, his first book, Rock This (Hyperion, 1997), spent time on
both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
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