Hollywood Shuffle is a series that celebrates our cultural icons in film and television whose performances have resonated with generations of viewers. From the pioneering actors and actresses who’ve helped break barriers and pave the way for those to follow, to the most promising and decorated thespians of today, their dedication to their craft is respected and appreciated.
Laurence Fishburne exists as one of the greatest actors of his generation and arguably one of the best of all time. The on-screen talent has the ability to bring life to dramas, comedies, and even animated projects on television and the big screen. Bringing his depth and determination to every role, Fishburne has iconic characters under his belt and even more to come.
Born in July 1961, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Ga. Following his parents’ divorce, the acclaimed actor relocated to Brooklyn, NY with his mother, where he graduated from Lincoln Square Academy in New York.
In his early career, the Matrix star was credited as Larry Fishburne. Starting his acting journey as early as age 11, the industry veteran evolved from an adolescent beginner to a young adult with a brilliant future. From his first movie role as a teen in Apocalypse Now to this year’s John Wick: Chapter 4, the three-time Emmy Award and Tony Award-winning actor has the range.
In celebration of his birthday (July 30), VIBE takes a look at 10 of Laurence Fishburne’s most iconic roles.
Dap Dunlap in ‘School Daze’
Premise: Directed by Spike Lee, School Daze tells the story of a young man hoping to pledge a greek fraternity at his historically black college (HBCU).
Memorable Line: “So what? You marched with King in the ’60s. Big deal. That was over 20 years ago. Black people still catching hell all over the world, you know.”
Jason “Furious” Styles in ‘Boyz N The Hood’
Premise: Directed by John Singleton, Boyz N The Hood follows the lives of three young men in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angles, exploring topics of race, relationships, violence, and more.
Memorable Line: “Any fool with a d**k can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children.”
Ike Turner in ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’
Premise: Directed by Brian Gibson, What’s Love Got To Do With It is the harrowing story of singer Tina Turner’s rise to stardom and how she gained the courage to break free from her abusive husband, Ike Turner.
Memorable Line: “Now, you listen to me. I MADE you. You were nothing before you met me, and you ain’t gonna be nothing without me.”
Professor Maurice Phipps – Higher Learning
Premise: Directed by John Singleton, this portrait of college life examines racial tension, rape, responsibility, and the meaning of a higher education.
Memorable Line: “Your own presence should be motivation enough.”
Morpheus in ‘The Matrix’
Premise: Directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, The Matrix finds a computer hacker named Neo led to a forbidding underworld where he discovers the shocking truth about life.
Memorable Line: “I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.”
Dr. Larabee in ‘Akeelah And The Bee’
Premise: Directed by Doug Achinson, Akeelah And The Bee also stars Keke Palmer and follows a young girl from South Los Angeles who tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee.
Memorable Line: “Where do you think big words come from?”
Dr. Raymond “Ray” Langston – CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Premise: Dr. Raymond Langston is an investigator with the Las Vegas crime lab on seasons 9 through 11 of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Memorable Line: “Spread the word, I am coming.”
Earl “Pops” Johnson in ‘Black-Ish’
Year: Recurring appearances 2014-2022
Premise: Black-Ish is a sitcom created by Kenya Barris that finds a Black family exploring their sense of cultural identity while living in an upper-class, majority-white neighborhood.
Memorable Line: “It all went down in the year of Our Lord 19 and 27 during the Harlem Renaissance…”
The Bowery King in the ‘John Wick’ Franchise
Year: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)
Premise: The John Wick franchise currently has four films and follows a retired assassin who returns back to his old ways after a group of Russian gangsters steal his car and kill his dog.
Memorable Line: “I am the way into the city of woe, I am the way into eternal pain, I am the way to go among the lost. Before me there were no created things. But those that last forever as do I! Abandon all hope you who enter here. You are now in the presence of the MOTHERF**KING KING!”
Thrax in ‘Osmosis Jones’
Premise: Osmosis Jones is an animated film directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly where a white blood cell and a cold pill, must stop a deadly virus from destroying the body of the human they live in.
Memorable Line: “Ebola? Let me tell you something about Ebola, baby. Ebola is a case of DANDRUFF compared to me!”