LL Cool J
LL Cool J
Actor | Soundtrack | Miscellaneous Crew
LL Cool J Picture
Date of Birth 14 January 1968 , Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, USA
Birth Name James Todd Smith
Nicknames Uncle L
The Future of the Funk
Jack the Ripper
Height 6′ 1½” (1.87 m)
Mini Bio (1)
L.L. Cool J was born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968, in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, to James and Ondrea Smith. Todd, as he was called, did not have a very happy childhood. At the age of four, he saw his mother and grandfather shot by his own father. After they recovered from their injuries, his mother began to date a young physical therapist she met while in the hospital. The therapist treated Ondrea kindly, but for years he abused Todd physically and verbally, which resulted in Todd becoming a bully himself. It was during this period that he started wearing hats all the time (one of L.L. Cool J’s trademarks is the fact that people never see him without a hat on–until recently). Fortunately, Ondrea finally discovered what this man was doing to her son and left him.
As he grew older, Todd found a way to escape the effects of his abuse and his bullying attitude: hip-hop music. He fell in love with it at the age of nine, and by 11 he was writing lyrics and making his own songs with some DJ equipment his grandfather gave him. At 15, he and one of his best friends came up with his present stage name, L.L. Cool J, which means “Ladies Love Cool James.”
In 1984, when L.L. was 16, he met Rick Rubin, a student at NYU, who gave him his big break in music. Rick really liked L.L.’s music and decided to try to get him a record deal. Together, they made the single “I Need a Beat” and sent it to an artist manager named Russell Simmons. Simmons loved the single, and, in the same year, Rick and Russell co-founded the famous Def Jam Recordings; L.L.’s debut album, “Radio,” released in 1985, after securing a distribution deal for Def Jam with Columbia/CBS Records, was the label’s first long-playing release. Even today, L.L. is considered one of Def Jam’s most prized possessions.
1985 was also the year L.L. started his acting career. He first appeared in Krush Groove (1985), which is a semi-biographical account of the early days of Def Jam Recordings. L.L. had a cameo appearance in the film. In 1986, L.L. also had a cameo appearance in the movie Wildcats (1986) and also wrote that movie’s theme song. After that, L.L. took a break from film and concentrated more on his first love: music. His career took off, and after every one of his albums hit platinum-selling status, he was (and still is) regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time. After a few years, he had small roles in a few other films, but was still better known for his music.
All this changed in 1995. By this time he was a happily married 27-year-old with three children. His first starring film, Out-of-Sync (1995), had also been released. It didn’t do very well at the box office, but it got him noticed by executives at NBC-TV, who wanted to give him a part in a sitcom they were going to air. This sitcom was In the House (1995), which showed L.L.’s acting ability; the show stayed on the air until 1999. He had been offered several films roles during the run of the show and decided to accept a part in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998). Its success resulted in L.L. being cast in bigger and better film roles, and he has acted alongside actors such stars Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Woods, Al Pacino, Omar Epps, Pam Grier, Stanley Tucci, and Dennis Quaid, to name a few.
In 2000, he was finally rewarded for his acting talent. That year he won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for the best supporting actor in the action film Deep Blue Sea (1999). Even though his film career has taken off, he hasn’t forgotten his love of hip-hop music. In 1998, he was planning to retire from hip-hop and just concentrate on his film career, but he later decided to keep dividing his time between both fields. L.L. is not only known as one of the greatest MCs of all time, but he is also known as a great actor.
– IMDb Mini Biography By: Nadiya K. Edwards
Simone Johnson (7 August 1995 – present) (4 children)
Trade Mark (1)
Always wears a hat when off-camera
Almost always wears a hat, and wears one of his pant legs rolled up.
LL Cool J stands for “Ladies Love Cool James.”
Regarded as one of the most succesful rap artists of all time.
Separated from girlfriend Simone Johnson sometime after the birth of their second child.
Hosted The 28th Annual American Music Awards (2001) with Britney Spears.
Has four children (one boy and three girls): Najee (b. 1989), Italia (b. 1990), Samaria (b. 1995), and Nina Simone (b. 2000).
The only job he had besides being an entertainer was that he was briefly a paper boy.
Appeared with Rollerball (2002) co-star Chris Klein on World Wrestling Federation programming in early 2002 to promote the film. They appeared with APA members Ron Simmons (aka Faarooq) and John Layfield (aka Bradshaw), both of whom appear in the film along with a number of other WWF Superstars.
He has been on Def Jam Records longer than any other artists from its start in 1985 to the present.
Wrote and performed the first ever rap love song “I Need Love” in 1985.
In his personal life, he goes by the name Todd.
Homaged/satirized in Sonic Youth’s song “Kool Thing” (from the 1990 album “Goo”).
Ranked #5 on VH1’s 50 Greatest Hip Hop Artists.
Ranked #32 on VH1’s 100 Sexiest Artists.
On his second album “B.A.D.” (Bigger And Deffer), his single “I’m Bad” sampled the main theme of the 70’s TV show S.W.A.T. (1975) and, years later, he co-starred in the movie adaptation of that show.
He has played the same character (Sam Hanna) in three different series: NCIS (2003), NCIS: Los Angeles (2009) and Hawaii Five-0 (2010).
Personal Quotes (15)
Keeping it real ain’t about carrying a gun or smoking blunts. It’s about being true to yourself and those around you.
“Rollerball sucked!” – discussing one of his movies on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Am I James Todd Smith now or LL Cool J? Pick a name baby. Pick a name and ride with it. I don’t wanna abandon my identity as LL Cool J, but at the same time, I had to figure out how to let people know that I’m really serious about making these movies. You know when you do 25 or 30 movies and people are still asking you ‘how does it feel making the transition?’ you know you’re not communicating correctly. So I just put the James Todd Smith thing there to let people know I was serious. It’s not like I made it Lawrence Cool J or something!.
Hip-hop can be limiting and I refuse to accept limits. I’ve been training as an actor for six years. Nobody goes to acting school for six years. I mean, the college course is only four years! I absolutely trained. My acting coach is from the Stanislavsky school. It’s real – I act.
I’m happy to be black. I am what I am, I’m doing very well in my life, and I’m thankful to God for that. I am a real person that cares about his art and cares about what he’s doing – I have a heart and a soul and want to touch people and give. As a black man, my hope is that I can touch more and more people all over the world of different races and different colours. And I think eventually, if I just stay on this path, we’ll get there.
One thing I’m not gonna do, because I’m black, is suddenly say ‘you know what, I can’t play a villain!’ You don’t need to be the good guy to get a good message out. I’m not going to limit myself like that. I just want to play good roles and be able to touch a lot of people.
I think when you move past your fear and you go after your dreams wholeheartedly, you become free. Know what I’m saying? Move past the fear.
I don’t think you should go around talking trash about people because I think that’s how you get your hat handed to you. I’m good at what I do, but I wouldn’t be so bold and arrogant as to say something disrespectful about, say, Eminem. He’s talented and he’s good at what he does.
[on Deep Blue Sea (1999)] – The parrot chewed my ear something crazy. I had to take my earrings out because he kept biting them like a chew toy. Also, the [animatronic] shark didn’t always work on cue. I almost drowned once. The guy took his hand off the joystick [that maneuvered the shark] when they called lunch, but I had put my leg in the shark’s mouth, so I was stuck under water. Luckily, they had given me a little canister with some extra oxygen. When I finally came up, I was furious.
[on Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)] – Jamie Lee Curtis taught me a lot about being classy on set. Me and my guys would be there, and she would be leaving and say, “Oh, take my trailer!” I played the security guard who everybody thought was going to die, but I didn’t. That brother lived! That was wonderful. I shocked the world! Then I shocked the world a year later in Deep Blue Sea (1999) and lived again.
[on “Deep Blue Sea”] The most appealing role I’ve ever had. It was fun, it was crazy, it was a success from the beginning, and my role kept getting bigger and bigger on that set. They actually had to reshoot the ending so I could survive because the people [in test screenings] didn’t want me to die.
[on “Any Given Sunday”] It was a dream-fulfilling experience because growing up I had always wanted to be a pro football player. And if I had stayed in Long Island, I probably would have pursued it more vigorously. I actually got to run with the ball in Texas Stadium, wearing No. 33 — and [Tony] Dorsett was the guy that I loved growing up — and I got to play on a team and run the ball and take some real hits. It was great.
[on “Rollerball”] I felt like it was a bad movie. Wack. Terrible. That’s the thing with making movies: You’re always going to make some stuff you believe is bad. This was mine.
[on “S.W.A.T.”] I loved “S.W.A.T.” In retrospect, I wish I could have had a bigger role in it, but I had a great time doing it, and it was a success. It was actually the coolest movie I’ve ever done, in terms of just a pure movie. It was the most entertaining and well done.
[on George Michael] He’s very, very talented, and I’ll always like Wham! I thought it was cool. “Father Figure” was something else!