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JUST MY LUCK

FAIZON LOVE (Damon Phillips) is best known for his turn as one of Santa's helpers in "Elf,” opposite Will Ferrell. He first gained popularity when he starred in "Blue Crush,” playing a boisterous NFL player visiting Hawaii with an unexpected desire to learn how to surf. In "Wonderland,” Love played the ominous bodyguard of Los Angeles' real-life nightclub and drug kingpin Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian) in the flashy retelling of L.A.'s infamous Wonderland Avenue murders. He was also seen in "The Fighting Temptations” as a prison warden.

Large both in actual physical stature and in presence, Love moved to New York City from Newark, New Jersey upon graduating from high school. As a student, Love was encouraged by an English teacher who invited the young man to perform before the class at the end of the day if his studies were in order. This fostering of his creativity led to bigger and better things for the performer, who landed a role in the Off-Broadway play "Bitter Heart Midtown” at the Harlem National Black Theatre within his first year in NYC. A modernized take on Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations,” the play was a good start for the actor, who had an early TV appearance in an episode of the CBS series "WIOU” in 1990. In 1992, Love was called in to replace Robin Harris when the comedian died suddenly, providing a voice for the animated feature "Bebe's Kids.”

Moving towards more mainstream fare, Love was featured in "The Replacements,” a comedy set during an NFL strike. Here he played a celebrity bodyguard turned football player, and reached a wider audience with his appropriately goofy portrayal. He also caught the attention of co-star Jon Favreau, who cast Love a supporting role as Horrace, Ruiz's (Sean Combs) muscle in "Made,” writer-director Favreau's portrait of two dim-witted wannabe made men from L.A. (Favreau and Vince Vaughn) who get mixed up in real-life organized crime in New York City. The actor was quickly added to Favreau's regular ensemble of players (Love's hilarious outtakes are one of the highlights of the film's DVD edition).

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