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Damon Kyle Wayans Sr. (; born September 4, 1960) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer, and member of the
Wayans familyThe Wayans family () is an American show business family. Family members include Chaunté Wayans, Damon Wayans Sr., Kim Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Damon Wayans Jr., Keenen Ivory Wayans and Shawn Wayans. Some works created by Wayans family members include ...
of entertainers. Wayans performed as a comedian and actor throughout the 1980s, including a year long stint on the sketch comedy series ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known simply as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiere was hosted by George Carlin on NBC on Oc ...
.'' His true breakthrough, however, came as writer and performer on FOX's sketch comedy show ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
'' from 1990 to 1992 and his TV series '' Damon'' (1998). Since then, he has starred in a number of films and television shows, some of which he has co-produced or co-written, including ''Beverly Hills Cop'', ''The Last Boy Scout'', and ''Major Payne'' and the sitcom ''My Wife and Kids''. From 2016 to 2019, he starred as Roger Murtaugh in the television series ''Lethal Weapon (TV series), Lethal Weapon''.


Early life

Wayans was born in Harlem in New York City, the son of Elvira Alethia (Green), a homemaker, singer and social worker, and Howell Stouten Wayans, a supermarket manager. He has five sisters—Elvira, Vonnie, Nadia Wayans, Nadia, Kim Wayans, Kim and Diedra—and four brothers—Keenen Ivory Wayans, Keenen, Marlon Wayans, Marlon, Shawn Wayans, Shawn and Dwayne Wayans, Dwayne. He was club footed as a child. This attribute would also be given to his character in ''My Wife and Kids'', and his character on the short lived cartoon series ''Waynehead''. Wayans attended Murry Bergtraum High School.


Career

Damon started doing stand-up comedy in 1982. His earliest film appearance was a brief cameo as an effeminate hotel employee in the Eddie Murphy film of 1984, ''Beverly Hills Cop''. From 1985 to 1986, he appeared on ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known simply as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiere was hosted by George Carlin on NBC on Oc ...
'' as a featured performer, before getting fired after just eleven episodes for improvising during a live sketch, playing his character as a flamboyant gay cop instead of a straight cop. (Damon continued this sketch character in his family created show ''In Living Color'' on Fox Television, in 1990, as the flamboyant gay character, Blaine Edwards, an obvious hat tip to Blake Edwards of movies starring ''The Pink Panther''.) Wayans later claimed that he wanted to be fired due to lack of creative freedom and screen time. Wayans further explained that Lorne Michaels did not want Wayans to do too much too soon and begin drawing comparisons to Eddie Murphy who had just left the show. He also appeared in the syndicated television series ''Solid Gold (TV series), Solid Gold'' during the 1980s as a comedian. With his brother Keenen, Wayans created the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox sketch comedy series ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
'', which had a mostly African-American cast. The show went on the air in April 1990. It continued running until May 1994, although Wayans left the show in 1992 to pursue a film career. After ''In Living Color'', he starred in films such as ''Mo' Money'', ''The Last Boy Scout'', ''Major Payne'', ''Celtic Pride'', ''Bulletproof (1996 film), Bulletproof'', and ''The Great White Hype'', and wrote and starred in the film ''Blankman''. He also appeared in Janet Jackson's video "The Best Things in Life Are Free" and was considered for the role of The Riddler in ''Batman Forever'' (the role went to Jim Carrey, his co star from ''In Living Color'' and ''Earth Girls Are Easy''). In October 1996, he produced ''Waynehead'', a short lived cartoon for the The WB Television Network, WB, loosely based on his own childhood growing up in a large family, starring a poor boy with a club foot. The show only lasted a season due to poor ratings. From 1997 to 1998, he was the executive producer of ''413 Hope St.'', a short lived drama on the Fox Broadcasting Company, FOX network starring Richard Roundtree and Jesse L. Martin. In March 1998, he starred in the short lived comedy television series '' Damon'', in which he played a detective from Chicago. It aired on Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox. In 1999, his ''The New York Times Best Seller list, The New York Times'' bestselling book ''Bootleg'', with co author David Asbery was published; it is a humorous compilation of his observations about family. In October 2000, he was the lead in Spike Lee's ''Bamboozled''. Wayans starred in the ABC comedy series ''My Wife and Kids'' from March 2001 to May 2005. In the end of 2006, he produced and starred in the Showtime (TV network), Showtime sketch comedy series ''The Underground (TV series), The Underground'', which also featured his son, Damon Wayans Jr., Damon Jr.. He also hosted the June 2006 BET Awards. In 2011, he also added author of a serious fictional novel to his credits with "Red Hats" which is the story of a suicidal sixty five-year-old woman who finds friendship and happiness, when she joins the Red Hat Society. , Wayans continues to perform stand-up comedy and has developed application software, apps with his company of freelancers "MIMS" (Money in My Sleep). The company created applications such as Flick Dat, Diddeo and VHedz. On November 12, 2015, at the Irvine Improv, Damon Wayans announced his retirement from stand up commencing December 2015. In September 2016, he was cast as Roger Murtaugh in the television version of ''Lethal Weapon (TV series), Lethal Weapon'', a role originated by Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon (franchise)#Films, film series. On October 3, 2018, it was reported that Wayans would leave ''Lethal Weapon'' after filming of the first thirteen episodes of Season 3 wrapped. ''Lethal Weapon'' officially ended in February 2019, after three seasons. Damon Wayans is returning with a new project at ABC and is reteaming with My Wife and Kids co-creator Don Reo on the new family comedy, Let’s Stay Together (working title). The project, now in development, will be produced by ABC Studios, a division of Disney TV Studios.


Awards and honors

Wayans received four Emmy awards nominations for his acting and writing in ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
''. For his role in ''My Wife and Kids'', he won the 2002 People's Choice Awards for Favorite Male Performer in a New TV Series, and received four International Press Academy "Golden Satellite Award" nominations.


Personal life

Wayans was married to Lisa Thorner; they divorced in 2000. He has four children with Thorner: sons Damon Wayans Jr. and Michael Wayans and daughters Cara Mia Wayans and Kyla Wayans. He is also a grandfather. He is the uncle of Damien Dante Wayans, Chaunté Wayans and Craig Wayans. Wayans is a close personal friend of both National Basketball Association, NBA legend Michael Jordan and fellow ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
'' star Jim Carrey. Wayans was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January 2013. In September 2015, Wayans defended American comedian Bill Cosby from his Bill Cosby sexual assault cases, sexual assault accusations, stating, "It's a money hustle". He continued, saying, "Forty years – listen, how big is his penis that it gives you amnesia for 40 years? If you listen to them talk, they go, 'Well, the first time...' The first time? Bitch, how many times did it happen? Just listen to what they're saying and some of them really is unrape-able. I look at them and go, 'You don't want that. Get outta here.


''In Living Color''


Characters

*Whiz (Homeboy Shopping Network) *Homey D. Clown *Blaine Edwards (Men on...) *Handi-Man *Reverend Ed Cash *Anton Jackson *Head Detective *Tom Brothers (w/Keenen Ivory Wayans) *Oswald Bates


Impressions

* Babyface (musician), Babyface (on ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known simply as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiere was hosted by George Carlin on NBC on Oc ...
'') * Don King (boxing promoter), Don King (on ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
'') * Little Richard (on ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known simply as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiere was hosted by George Carlin on NBC on Oc ...
'' and ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
'') * Louis Farrakhan (on both ''Saturday Night Live'' and ''In Living Color'') * Redd Foxx (on ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
'') * Richard Pryor (on ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
'') * Fab Morvan (on ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
'') * Jamie Foxx (on ''
In Living Color ''In Living Color'' is an American sketch comedy television series that originally ran on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994. Keenen Ivory Wayans created, wrote and starred in the program. The show was produced by Ivory Way Productions in as ...
'')


Filmography


Film


Television


References


External links

*
Twit.tv's Triangulation Episode 175 Damon Wayans
{{DEFAULTSORT:Wayans, Damon 1960 births Male actors from New York City American male film actors African-American stand-up comedians American stand-up comedians American male screenwriters African-American television producers Television producers from New York City American television writers American people of Malagasy descent Living people Wayans family, Damon African-American male actors American male television actors American male voice actors 20th-century American male actors 21st-century American male actors American sketch comedians American male television writers African-American film directors Comedians from New York City 20th-century American comedians 21st-century American comedians Screenwriters from New York (state) Film producers from New York (state) People from Chelsea, Manhattan Murry Bergtraum High School alumni