Damon Wayans

Biography

An outrageous cueball-domed comedian of film and television satire, fortified by a dazzling, sly smile, New York-born Damon Wayans is the third of ten children of Elvira Alethia (Green), a social worker and singer, and Howell Wayans, a supermarket manager. He grew up humbly in the Fulton Housing Projects. He began zeroing in on his comedic skills while still a child, conjuring up a number of weird characters that were later utilized on his older brother Keenen Ivory Wayans' groundbreaking In Living Color (1990), the show that made Damon a huge comedy star. Ostracized by other children due to a severe physical disability - a club foot - humor was a strong part of helping Damon overcome a severely painful and debilitating childhood. He wore leg braces, orthopedic shoes and endured numerous surgeries before his affliction was corrected. Dropping out of high school in the ninth grade, he worked various jobs (mail clerk, etc.) until following older brother Keenen out to Hollywood to seek comedy fame and fortune. Doing the typical L.A. stand-up scene starting in 1982, he toured in national comedy club circuits until earning a regular featured slot on Saturday Night Live (1975) for one season (1985-1986). On the big screen, he had a number of bit parts in films that showcased Hollywood's top comedians, including Eddie Murphy in Le flic de Beverly Hills (1984), his movie debut, and Steve Martin in Roxanne (1987). He also appeared briefly in brother Keenen's film spoofs Hollywood Shuffle (1987) and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988). Damon gained major notice as an alien alongside Jeff Goldblum and future co-star Jim Carrey in the wild and woolly Objectif Terrienne (1988), as well as in various supporting roles that included Punchline (Le mot de la fin) (1988) with Tom Hanks and the grim police drama Colors (1988) with Sean Penn. However, smart-alec superstardom came to him via television (thanks again to older brother Keenen) in the form of the landmark sketch variety series "In Living Color". The show, created and hosted by Keenen, gave Damon a showcase in which he easily broke out among the talented ensemble players with his eclectic gallery of sketch characters that usually bordered on raunch: Homey the Clown, the disabled Handiman and the outrageously gay film critic Blaine Edwards from the "Men on Film" skits. In 1992, Damon followed brother Keenan off the popular show over creative and financial issues. For the last decade and a half, the slyly sarcastic comic has become his own "Man on Film". He was Bruce Willis' partner in the noticeably violent crime thriller Le dernier samaritain (1991); wrote, executive-produced and starred as a former conman trying to mend his ways in Mo' Money (1992), which also featured younger brother Marlon Wayans; expanded his "In Living Color" handicapped superhero character Handiman into feature-length form with Blankman (1994); played an in-your-face drill sergeant in the aptly titled Major Payne (1995); co-starred with Adam Sandler as a policeman bringing in a petty crook (Adam Sandler) in the action comedy À l'épreuve des balles (1996); joined in the basketball-themed Celtic Pride (1996); and stretched his acting muscles in Spike Lee's comedy-drama The Very Black Show (2000). He was also executive producer on Waynehead (1996), a Saturday morning animated show based on his childhood that featured the voices of younger siblings Kim Wayans, Marlon and Shawn Wayans. Although his strongest suit is still in stand-up (he has starred in several HBO comedy specials), Damon went back to steady television employment as star and executive producer of the sitcom Ma famille d'abord (2001). He also starred as Detective Roger Murtaugh on the comedy-drama L'arme fatale (2016), based on the film series of the same name. Divorced from his wife Lisa, he is the father of four, including actor Damon Wayans Jr..

Filmography

Movie Name Release Date