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TERRENCE HOWARD (Franklin Birch) is currently on screens starring in "Lee Daniels' The Butler," alongside Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and Melissa Leo. Howard is perhaps best known for his Golden Globe- and Academy Award-nominated work in "Hustle & Flow." For the movie, Howard, a self-taught musician who plays both piano and guitar, 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. Howard also garnered numerous accolades for his supporting role in "Crash," receiving a National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Performance.

Howard made his film debut in 1993 in "Who's the Man?," which he followed with a role in the period saga "Dead Presidents." Howard was next noticed for his role as a star high school athlete in "Mr. Holland's Opus," and in 1999, for his performance in "The Best Man," he was honored with the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, an Independent Spirit Award nomination and a Chicago Film Critics Association Award nomination. Howard's additional feature film credits include such diverse roles as Ray Charles' one- time guitarist Gossie McKee in the Academy Award-nominated "Ray," as well as "Pride," "The Brave One," "August Rush" and "Iron Man."

Howard took on another real-life figure, playing Nelson Mandela alongside Jennifer Hudson in the film "Winnie Mandela," which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011. He also starred alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. and Bryan Cranston in executive producer George Lucas' "Red Tails," appeared in "On the Road," with Garrett Hedlund and Viggo Mortensen, played an FBI agent in Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep," and was in the thriller "Dead Man Down," with Colin Farrell. He recently completed filming the sequel to the hit film "The Best Man," entitled "The Best Man Holiday," which reunites the original cast.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Howard began his acting career on the small screen as Jackie Jackson in the ABC miniseries "The Jacksons: An American Dream," which was quickly followed by several notable TV appearances on series such as "Living Single" and "NYPD Blue." Soon after, he was offered a lead role in the series "Sparks." Howard was more recently seen in "Law and Order: Los Angeles," a role for which he won an NAACP award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

In 2008, Howard made his Broadway debut in an all-African-American production of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

When not acting, the philanthropist and father of three has involved himself in a great deal of other projects, including becoming an ambassador for Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and Stand Up To Cancer. Very involved in cancer research, Howard has done many public service announcements for the cause.

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