J A M I E F O X X
Eric Marlon Bishop (born December 13, 1967), known professionally as Jamie Foxx, is an American actor, stand-up comedian, singer-songwriter, musician, and talk radio host. As an actor, his work in the film 2004 Ray earned him the Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Actor as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a musical or comedy. The same year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the action film Collateral.
He is also a Grammy Award winning musician, producing three albums which have charted highly on the Billboard 200: Unpredictable, which topped the chart, Best Night of My Life, and Intuition. Foxx starred in his own television show, The Jamie Foxx Show, as Jamie King. In 2012, Foxx starred in the film Django Unchained, and is due to star as the villain Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014.
Foxx was born in Terrell, Texas. He is the son of Louise Annette Talley Dixon and Darrell Bishop; his father sometimes worked as a stockbroker, and changed his name to Shahid Abdula after converting to Islam. Shortly after his birth, Foxx was adopted and raised by his mother’s adoptive parents, Esther Marie (Nelson), a domestic worker and nursery operator, and Mark Talley, a yard worker. He has had little contact with his birth parents, who were not part of his upbringing. Foxx was raised in the black quarter of Terrell, at the time a racially segregated community. As a teenager, he was a part-time pianist and choir leader in Terrell’s New Hope Baptist Church, and had a strict Baptist upbringing.
Foxx began playing the piano when he was five years old. As a second grader, he was so talented in telling jokes that his teacher used him as a reward. If the class behaved, Foxx would tell them jokes. Foxx attended Terrell High School, where he received top grades, played basketball and football as quarterback, and had an ambition to play for the Dallas Cowboys. He was the first player in the school’s history to pass for more than 1,000 yards. He also sang in a band called Leather and Lace. After completing high school, Foxx received a scholarship to United States International University, where he studied classical music and composition. He has often acknowledged his grandmother’s influence in his life as one of the greatest reasons for his success.
1989–2004: Beginnings and acting debut
After accepting a girlfriend’s dare, Foxx told jokes at a comedy club’s open mic night in 1989. When he found that female comedians were often called first to perform, he changed his name to Jamie Foxx, feeling that it was an ambiguous enough name to disallow any biases. He chose his surname as a tribute to comedian Redd Foxx. In addition, his recurrent In Living Color character LaWanda shared names with Redd’s friend and co-worker, LaWanda Page. Foxx joined the cast of In Living Color in 1991 and subsequently played a recurring role in the comedy-drama sitcom Roc. From 1996 to 2001, Foxx starred in his own sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show.
He made his film debut in the 1992 comedy Toys. His first dramatic role came in Oliver Stone’s 1999 film Any Given Sunday, wherein he portrayed a hard-partying American football player. He was cast in the role, in part, because of his background as a football player. Following Any Given Sunday, Foxx was featured as taxi driver Max Durocher in the film Collateral alongside Tom Cruise, for which he received outstanding reviews and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1994, Foxx released an album (on the Fox record label) entitled Peep This. In 2003, Foxx made a cameo in Benzino’s music video for “Would You”, which features LisaRaye McCoy and Mario Winans.
2004–2006: Ray and Unpredictable
Foxx and Kanye West performing “Gold Digger”
In 2004, he was featured on rapper Twista’s song, “Slow Jamz”, which also featured Kanye West. The song reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, as well as #3 on the UK Singles chart. Foxx’s second collaboration with Kanye West, “Gold Digger,” in which he sang the “I Got a Woman” Ray Charles-influenced hook, went straight to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and remained there for 10 weeks. In 2005, Foxx was featured on the single “Georgia” by Atlanta rappers Ludacris and Field Mob. The song sampled Ray Charles’ hit “Georgia on My Mind.”
Foxx portrayed Ray Charles in the biopic Ray (2004), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Foxx is the second male in history to receive two acting Oscar nominations in the same year for two different movies, Collateral and Ray. The only other male actor to achieve this was Al Pacino. In 2005, Foxx was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Foxx released his second studio album, Unpredictable, in December 2005. It debuted at #2, selling 598,000 copies in its first week. The following week, the album rose to #1, selling an additional 200,000 copies. To date, the album has sold 1.98 million copies in the United States, and was certified double Platinum by the RIAA. The album also charted on the UK Albums Chart, where it peaked at #9. Foxx became the fourth artist to have won an Academy Award® for an acting role and to have achieved a #1 album in the U.S. (The other three to accomplish this feat were Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Barbra Streisand.) Foxx’s first single from the album, the title track “Unpredictable” (featuring Ludacris), samples “Wildflower” by New Birth. The song peaked in the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 singles and also made the UK Top 20 singles chart. The second U.S. single from the album was “DJ Play a Love Song,” which reunited Foxx with Twista. In the UK, the second single was “Extravaganza,” which saw Foxx once again collaborate with Kanye West. Foxx was not featured in the song’s music video.
Foxx promoting Stealth in July 2005.
At the 2006 Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards, Foxx won Best Duet/Collaboration with Kanye West for “Gold Digger” and tied with Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You” for Video of the Year. On December 8, 2006, Foxx received four Grammy Award® nominations, which included Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for Love Changes featuring Mary J. Blige, Best R&B Album for Unpredictable, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for Georgia by Ludacris & Field Mob featuring Jamie Foxx, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for Unpredictable featuring Ludacris.
2006–2009: Dreamgirls and Intuition
Foxx’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Following these successes, Foxx appeared in Jarhead, Miami Vice, and Dreamgirls, which were box-office hits, and lifted his profile even higher as a bankable star in Hollywood. 2007 brought him the lead role in the film The Kingdom opposite Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner and Ashraf Barhom. In September 2007, Foxx was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He said, upon receiving the honor, “[it was] one of the most amazing days of my life.” In April 2009, Foxx played the lead role in the dramatic film The Soloist. A few months later in October 2009, He played a starring role alongside Gerard Butler in the thriller Law Abiding Citizen.
On January 22, 2007, Foxx was on Sirius Satellite Radio, announcing his new channel The Foxxhole. The channel features talk-radio programs, stand-up comedy albums, and music primarily by African-American performers, and features much of Foxx’s own material as well. The Jamie Foxx Show, Foxx’s own talk-radio variety program, airs Friday evenings on The Foxxhole, and features Johnny Mack, Speedy, The Poetess, Lewis Dix, and T.D.P., as his co-hosts. Guests include popular musicians, actors, and fellow comedians. On the April 17, 2009 episode of The Jamie Foxx Show, Foxx and his co-hosts made several sexually suggestive and disparaging jokes (advising her to have sex and abuse drugs) regarding teenaged singer Miley Cyrus, in response to a caller’s comment on a recent altercation between Cyrus and rock band Radiohead. Foxx issued a public apology on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno several days later in response to growing public outcry as well as televised criticism by Cyrus’s father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.
Foxx continued his musical career with a number of collaborations. In 2007, he recorded a song with country superstars Rascal Flatts entitled “She Goes All the Way” for their album, Still Feels Good. Foxx also performed background vocals for artist/songwriter Tank. He and The-Dream are featured on Plies’ “Please Excuse My Hands.” He also appeared on the remix of Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent” entitled “She Got Her Own.” The track also features Fabolous. Foxx then collaborated with rapper The Game on the track “Around The World.” Foxx released his third album titled Intuition in 2008, featuring such artists as Kanye West, T.I., Ne-Yo, and T-Pain. The album’s first single, “Just Like Me” featuring T.I., was promoted by a video directed by Brett Ratner and featuring an appearance by Taraji P. Henson. The second single “Blame It” featured T-Pain and became a top 5 single on the Billboard Hot 100 and a number-one single on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The “Blame It” music video, directed by Hype Williams, features cameo appearances by Forest Whitaker, Samuel L. Jackson, Ron Howard, Quincy Jones, and Jake Gyllenhaal, among others. Foxx was also featured on T.I.’s single “Live in the Sky” from the album King. On April 6, 2009 Foxx performed the George Strait song “You Look So Good in Love” at the George Strait Artist of the Decade All-Star Concert. Foxx has been a fan of country music for many years. Jamie Foxx hosted the 2009 BET Awards ceremony on June 28, 2009, which featured several tributes to pop star Michael Jackson, who had died three days prior to the show. Aside from performing “Blame It” with T-Pain and “She Got Her Own” with Ne-Yo and Fabolous, Foxx opened the show with a rendition of Jackson’s “Beat It” dance routine and closed the show with a cover of The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” with Ne-Yo. Foxx stated during the ceremony, “We want to celebrate this black man. He belongs to us and we shared him with everybody else.”
Jamie Foxx at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2013, promoting The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
2010–present: Django Unchained and Best Night of My Life
In 2011, Foxx was cast in the title role of Django Unchained. It was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, and Foxx starred alongside his Ray co-star Kerry Washington, as well as Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson. As a producer, Foxx played a role in In the Flow with Affion Crockett on Fox in summer 2011. In April 2011, Foxx voiced Nico, a canary in the movie Rio.
Foxx released his fourth album, Best Night of My Life, on December 21, 2010. The first single is “Winner”, featuring Justin Timberlake and T.I.. The second single is “Living Better Now” featuring rapper Rick Ross and the third single is “Fall for Your Type” featuring rapper Drake. On October 7, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding J Records along with Arista Records and Jive Records. With the shutdown, Foxx (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) will release his future material on the RCA Records brand. In 2011, Jamie Foxx was featured in the rapper Pitbull’s album “Planet Pit” in the song “Where Do We Go”.
In an interview about Django Unchained, Foxx told Vibe magazine: “As a black person it’s always racial. … when I get home my other homies are like how was your day? Well, I only had to be white for at least eight hours today, [or] I only had to be white for four hours.”
On November 25, 2012 at BET’s Soul Train Awards, Foxx joked “It’s like church in here. First of all, give an honor to God and our lord and savior Barack Obama.” The joke led to condemnation from some Christians, to which Foxx responded by saying “I’m a comic [and] sometimes I think people get a little too tight.” While hosting NBC’s Saturday Night Live on December 9, 2012 and promoting Django Unchained, Foxx joked about being excited “to kill all the white people in the movie”. Appearing at the 2013 NAACP Image Awards, Foxx praised the achievements of black people, saying that “black people are the most talented people in the world”.
In 2014, Foxx is due to appear in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as the main antagonist Electro and appear with Quvenzhané Wallis in Annie, the update of the comic strip-turned-musical that Sony is making with producers Will Smith and Jay-Z. Foxx was also confirmed by director Oliver Stone to be cast as Martin Luther King Jr. in his upcoming biopic produced by Steven Spielberg.
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Foxx in 2005
Foxx has two daughters, Corinne Bishop, born in 1994, and Annalise, born in August 2009.
In 2008, Foxx filmed a public service announcement for Do Something to promote food drives in local communities.
In April 2003, Foxx was involved in an incident with two police officers who were attempting to escort him and his sister out of Harrah’s casino in New Orleans. Employees claimed the Foxx party had failed to show identification upon entry. Originally charged with trespassing, disturbing the peace, battery on police officers and resisting arrest, Foxx pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace in exchange for the other charges’ being dropped, and was sentenced to a six-month suspended jail term with two years probation and a $1,500 fine.
Jamie Foxx REVEALED
NAME: Jamie Foxx (born Eric Marion Bishop)
BORN: Dec. 13, 1967
HOMETOWN: Terrell, Texas
MH Covers: 2
PROFESSION: Actor, singer, comedian
HOW YOU KNOW HIM:
Academy Award winner for his role as Ray Charles in the 2004 movie Ray, star of 2012’s Django Unchained.
His comic idol: Richard Pryor … Attended Julliard where he studied classical piano … Big fan of professional wrestling … Not married, father to a teen daughter, Corinne?
Jamie Foxx understands that success doesn’t happen by accident. You’d think the self-described “Southern gentleman” had a secret formula for creating infallible projects. But the disciplined approach to his career merely raises the odds of success. “My success in the past couple of years has been exhilarating. It’s given me that push, that credibility in areas I’ve always wanted to be in,” he says. “Every plan may not come true, but you still put it out there. Set it up, ‘I want to do this, this, and this,’ and hopefully you can see the future.”
Adopt Foxx’s success strategies and learn how to make life start working for you.
JAMIE FOXX IS CALM AMID THE SWIRL. In a buzzing Montreal studio, photographers crouch around a huge Macintosh screen. Publicists tap smartphones. A guy sweeps a video camera back and forth like a lawn sprinkler. A local woman banters in French-accented English while a bodyguard impassively scans the scene.
And in the middle of the blindingly white floor, Foxx is doing pushups. Nobody is taking his picture.
It’s midafternoon and Foxx hasn’t eaten all day. He was working late last night, filming the Roland Emmerich action thriller White House Down, in which he plays the president. But he’s not tired or cranky. Soon enough, he’s posing for photo after photo, all business. Whenever the photographers take a break, Foxx does more pushups. Or he’s out in the hallway, snapping off pullups on a bar that Jack Manson, his towering combat-boot-wearing trainer, has assembled for him. A nice pump never hurt a cover shoot.
An hour later, Foxx sits down to a plate of syrup-drowned pancakes. He’s back in casual, all-black street clothes: sneakers, loose slacks, a tight Polo shirt with an oversized logo. I ask him about all those pushups. “It goes back to when you’re a kid looking in the mirror,” he says, “and you want to be the guy in the magazine.” (Perfect your pushups with these variations.)
Over the years, Foxx has been the guy in many magazines, for many reasons. He broke out as a gleefully profane stand-up comic before moving on to the great early-1990s sketch show In Living Color and then to The Jamie Foxx Show, the sitcom he headlined for five seasons. Next came dramatic film roles: He stole Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday as a cocky young quarterback, and he earned an Oscar channeling Ray Charles in Ray. He’s dabbled in music too. Foxx and Kanye West crooned with Twista on “Slow Jamz,” West’s first-ever appearance at the top of the charts, and then Foxx scored his own long-running No. 1 with “Blame It.”
Foxx, who turns 45 this month, is set to hit yet another peak with the title role in Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s new slave-revenge epic. For this role, Foxx had to pack on extra layers of muscle—hard, functional muscle rather than the showy beach muscles he’d already developed. And even more difficult, he had to dive headlong into centuries of American racism and explore the attendant mix of dehumanized numbness and boiling anger. After all that, a few onscreen fistfights were, he says, “actually a breath of fresh air, to get all that tension out.” (Want to build a fighter’s body? Then check out our intense Warrior Cardio today!)
Tarantino auditioned a number of prominent actors for the part, but when he spoke with Foxx, he realized he’d found his leading man. And even though Foxx’s flashy club-king persona doesn’t exactly scream cowboy, that aspect of the role, as Foxx explains, was second nature to him—as it would’ve been to anyone his age who’d grown up in Texas: I watched Bonanza. I watched Hee Haw. I spun guns on my finger. Every kid, if you were in Texas, wanted to be a cowboy, whether you were black, white, Mexican, whatever.” In the movie, he rides his own horse.
From fearlessly raunchy stand-up comedian to stoically badass dramatic actor, Foxx has proved himself time and time again to be one of the most adaptable entertainers in the business. As a singer, he doesn’t come off as an actor filling time between movie roles; he’s a fully formed R&B loverman with at least half of a greatest-hits album already under his belt. As an actor, he disappears into his roles, often becoming nearly unrecognizable. And as a comic, he’s all snarling, ribald energy. (If you think you’re as funny as any stand-up, then it’s time to Find Out if You’re Actually Funny.)
That kind of adaptability, in career and in life, is an essential quality for just about everyone these days. We’re no longer expected to work a single career for decades or to focus all our brainpower on one task at a time. In this fast-paced world, we need to keep work and family and our always-expanding RSS feeds in the forefront of our minds, and we need to move from one persona to the next with a fluidity that would have baffled previous generations. It’s a juggling act. Foxx is simply doing it on a bigger stage.
“You just have to live,” he says. “As a comedian, you have to do it in different rooms. You can do it in the hood; I did it in the hood for a long time. And I took that same muscle and did it uptown, where the audience is Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and all those guys. You still remain the same person, and you get your stamp. It’s like a passport.”
Foxx had plenty of stamps on his passport before he ever stepped onto a comedy club stage. As a kid he rode horses. In elementary school, he cracked so many jokes that his teachers ended up giving him a few minutes at the end of the day to repeat the comedy routines he’d heard on the Tonight Show. In high school, he played quarterback; when he left for college, he did so on a classical piano scholarship. He was a renaissance man before he even became a man.
That eclectic past helped his career. After telling jokes in front of class, he felt at home in a comedy club. His musical training let him weave song parodies into his act. And in Any Given Sunday, his football days gave him a certain authority even when he was working with much more experienced actors. “I got into the movie, and there’s Al Pacino, there’s Cameron Diaz, there’s James Woods, there’s all these incredible actors,” Foxx remembers. “But the one thing I had on my side: I played football. And I knew more about football than any of these guys. That’s what I relied on.”
It turns out that following your passions can lead to unexpected career opportunities. So can knowing what you don’t know. Changing with your environment and with the times: It’s the only way to evolve. (Chisel rock-hard abs like Jamie Foxx in only 4 weeks! Discover the exercise and eating plan designed specifically to melt belly fat FAST. Find your complete six-pack plan in The Men’s Health Big Book: Getting Abs!
“One thing I’ve learned: You have to rely on someone to tell you what is hot and what’s not as you get older,” Foxx says. “That’s what I do; I ask. When Kanye was telling me about ‘Slow Jamz,’ I was trying to sing it all happy, and he was like, ‘Don’t do that. This is hip-hop. Trust me, the simpler it is, the more effective it is.’ Music is changing. If you don’t change with it, you’ll be at the casino performing: ‘How y’all feel out there tonight?’ I’m still learning how to stay relevant and current—and at the same time not lose who I am, not be too young.”
And that’s another thing that’s kept Foxx on top for so long: a willingness to unlearn. When he started landing serious movie roles, Foxx had to figure out how to stop delivering his lines like a TV actor. And when his music career took off, he was already well into his 30s, and he had to dial back the slick R&B moves he’d spent years perfecting. Now, he says, he has to teach himself not to be so flashy.
“Here’s what you’re going to unlearn now,” he says, more to himself than to anyone else. “Somehow you have to pull yourself away from media, not be so shiny in the next 10 years, because it hurts the art. When you go on talk shows, you have to be lighthearted, which helps and hurts. Now I’ve got to change the satellite a little bit. That’s the tricky part now. How do you navigate through the world you live in and still be an artist? Because that’s the only thing that’s going to survive.” And while most of us might not have to worry about what entertains Jimmy Kimmel’s studio audience, the struggle to age gracefully is pretty universal.
In Django Unchained—a movie even more concerned with substance than it is with style—Foxx has found a way. Playing the lead in a greatly anticipated movie by a celebrated director and taking on his country’s brutal legacy, Foxx could never be accused of letting his art suffer. He’s pushing himself forward yet again.
As the photo shoot carries on, he tells funny stories about how he’d embarrass his teenage daughter—showing up to high school functions driving a Bentley and wearing a too-tight leather jacket. (Apparently this is just as embarrassing as picking up the kids in an old beater. A parent can never win.) After a few stories, it slips out that he’s taken those experiences and written a half-hour sitcom pilot based on them. It’s classic Foxx: Live life and then figure out how to use your experiences. Even now, he’s adapting.
How Jamie Foxx developed functional strength
Preparing for Django Unchained, Jamie Foxx had to become ripped, and he had to look like a slave. “In the 1800s, there was no Bally Total Fitness,” Foxx says. “That was a challenge. So instead of hiring a standard Hollywood personal trainer, Foxx worked with Jack Manson, who’d spent 7 years as a strength and conditioning coach for the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets. “Everything the slaves did was functional,” Manson says. “Picking cotton or swinging a sickle for sugarcane, they were using their backs, using their shoulders.”
“I had been doing bench presses my whole life,” Foxx says. “The chest, the front. But I hadn’t been working on my back, so it made me hunch forward.”
Manson stressed back and core muscles rather than “show muscles.” Foxx played basketball to stay lean, and he quit emphasizing chest weights; this in turn improved his posture. Foxx also traded weights for resistance bands and stretches. Manson loves stretches and pullups, and he’s a big believer in the power of balance, especially as clients approach middle age. One simple move he recommends: Stand on one foot with your leg extended straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor, and hold the pose for 10 seconds. Then swing it out to the side for another 10, and to the back for another 10. Then switch legs. When you’re comfortable with that, try doing it on a balance beam, Bosu ball, or Airex pad.