Christopher Julius "Chris" Rock III (born February 7, 1965) is an American comedian, actor, screenwriter, television producer, film producer, and director.
Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina. Shortly after his birth, his parents moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. A few years later, they relocated and settled in the working-class area of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His mother, Rosalie (née Tingman), was a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped; his father, Julius Rock, was a former truck driver and newspaper deliveryman. Julius died in 1988 after ulcer surgery. His younger brothers Tony, Kenny and Jordan are also in the entertainment business. His older half-brother, Charles, died in 2006 after a long struggle with alcoholism. Rock has said that he was influenced by the performing style of his paternal grandfather, Allen Rock, a preacher.
Rock began doing stand-up comedy in 1984 in New York City's “Catch a Rising Star.” He slowly rose up the ranks of the comedy circuit in addition to earning bit roles in the film “I'm Gonna Git You Sucka” and the TV series “Miami Vice.” Upon seeing his act at a nightclub, Eddie Murphy befriended and mentored the aspiring comic. Murphy gave Rock his first film role in “Beverly Hills Cop II.”
Rock became a cast member of the popular sketch comedy series “Saturday Night Live” in 1990. He and other new cast members Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider and David Spade became known as the Bad Boys of SNL. In 1991, he released his first comedy album Born Suspect and won acclaim for his dramatic role as a crack addict in the film “New Jack City.” His tenure on SNL gave Rock national exposure.
Rock left Saturday Night Live in 1993, appearing instead as a "special guest" star on the predominantly African-American sketch show “In Living Color.” The show, however, was canceled months later. Rock then decided to concentrate on a film career. Acting jobs became scarce, and Rock abandoned Hollywood to concentrate on stand-up comedy.
Rock’s second stand-up special, 1996's “Bring the Pain,” reinvented him as one of the best comedians in the industry. For it, Rock won two Emmy Awards and gained large critical acclaim. Adding to his popularity was his much-publicized role as a commentator for Comedy Central's “Politically Incorrect” during the 1996 Presidential elections which earned him another Emmy nomination.
It was not until the success of his stand-up act in the late 1990s that Rock began receiving major parts in films. These include roles in “Dogma,” “Beverly Hills Ninja,” “Lethal Weapon 4,” “Nurse Betty,” “The Longest Yard,” “Bad Company” and a starring role in “Down to Earth.” Rock has also increasingly worked behind the camera, both as a writer and director of “Head of State” and “I Think I Love My Wife.” In the fall of 2005, the UPN television network premiered a comedy series called “Everybody Hates Chris,” based on Rock's school days, of which he is the executive producer and narrator. The show has garnered both critical and ratings success. The series was nominated for a 2006 Golden Globe for Best TV Series (Musical or Comedy), a 2006 People's Choice Award for Favorite New Television Comedy, and two 2006 Emmy Awards for costuming and cinematography.
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