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Stars That Died

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Who is Christopher Julius "Chris" Rock III

Chris Rock

Who is Christopher Julius Rock III[6]

[7][8] The world knows him by his stage name ChrisRock, Rock is an American comedian, actor, screenwriter, television producer, film producer and director. He was voted by Comedy Central as the fifth greatest stand-up comedian of all time.[9]

Rock was born February 7, 1965 in Andrews, South Carolina. Shortly after his birth, his parents moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. A few years later, they relocated and settled in the working-class area of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.[6] His mother, Rosalie (née Tingman), was a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped; his father, Julius Rock, was a former truck driver and newspaper deliveryman.[10] Julius died in 1988 after ulcer surgery.[11] His younger brothers Tony and Kenny[12] are also in the entertainment business. His older brother, Charles, died in 2006 due to a long struggle with alcoholism.[13][14][15] Rock has said that he was influenced by the performing style of his paternal grandfather, Allen Rock, a preacher.[6][16]

Rock began doing stand-up comedy in 1985 in New York City's Catch a Rising Star.[6] He slowly rose up the ranks of the comedy circuit in addition to earning bit roles in the film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka

and the TV series Miami Vice.

Upon seeing his act at a nightclub, Eddie Murphy

befriended and mentored the aspiring comic. Murphy gave Rock his first film role in Beverly Hills Cop II.

Rock became a cast member of the popular sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live in 1990. He and other new cast members Chris Farley,

Adam Sandler,

Rob Schneider

and David Spade

became known as the Bad Boys of SNL. In 1991, he released his first comedy album Born Suspect

and won acclaim for his dramatic role as a crack addict in the film New Jack City.

His tenure on SNL gave Rock national exposure.

A frustrated Rock left Saturday Night Live in 1993, appearing instead as a "special guest" star on the predominately African-American sketch show In Living Color.

The show, however, was canceled months later. Rock then decided to concentrate on a film career. He wrote and starred in the mockumentary CB4

but the film was not a success. Acting jobs became scarce, and Rock abandoned Hollywood to concentrate on stand-up comedy.[16]
Rock starred in his first HBO comedy special in 1994 titled Big Ass Jokes.

But it was his second stand-up special, 1996's Bring the Pain,

that reinvented Rock as one of the best comedians in the industry.[17][18] His routine, which featured commentaries on race in America, stirred up a great deal of controversy.[19] Rock won two Emmy Awards for that special. Adding to his popularity was his much-publicized role as a commentator for Comedy Central's Politically Incorrect during the 1996 Presidential elections[17] which e arned him another Emmy nomination.[20] Rock also was the voice for the "Lil Penny"

puppet who was the alter ego to basketball star Penny Hardaway

in a series of Nike shoe commercials from 1994-1998,[17] and hosted the '97 MTV Video Music Awards.
Rock later had two more HBO comedy specials: Bigger & Blacker

in 1999, and Never Scared

in 2004. Articles relating to both specials called Rock "the funniest man in America" in Time[21] and Entertainment Weekly,[2] respectively. HBO also aired his talk show, The Chris Rock Show,

which gained critical acclaim for Rock's interviews with celebrities and politicians. The show won an Emmy for writing. His television work has won him a total of three Emmy Awards and 15 nominations.[20] By the end of the decade, Rock was established as one of the preeminent stand-up comedians and comic minds of his generation.
During this time, Rock also translated his comedy into print form in the book Rock This! and released the Grammy Award-winning comedy albums, Roll with the New, Bigger & Blacker and Never Scared.
Rock's fifth HBO special, Kill the Messenger,

premiered on September 27, 2008.[22]

It was not until the success of his stand-up act in the late 1990s that Rock began receiving major parts in films. These include roles in Dogma,

Beverly Hills Ninja,

Lethal Weapon 4,

Nurse Betty,

The Longest Yard,

Bad Company,

and a starring role in Down to Earth.

Rock has also increasingly worked behind the camera, both as a writer and director of Head of State

and I Think I Love My Wife.

In the fall of 2005, the UPN television network premiered a comedy series called Everybody Hates Chris,

based on Rock's school days, of which he is the executive producer and narrator. The show has garnered both critical and ratings success.[23] The series was nominated for a 2006 Golden Globe for Best TV Series (Musical or Comedy), a 2006 People's Choice Award for Favorite New Television Comedy, and two 2006 Emmy Awards for costuming and cinematography.[24]

In early 2005, Rock hosted the 77th Academy Awards ceremony. The decision to have Rock host the awards was seen by some as a chance to bring an "edge" to the ceremony, and to make it more relevant or appealing to younger audiences. During one segment Rock asked, "Who is this guy?" in reference to actor Jude Law

seemingly appearing in every movie Rock had seen that year and implied Law was a low-rent Tom Cruise

(he made a joke about filmmakers rushing production when unable to get the actors they want: "If you want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law, wait [to make the film]!"). Subsequently, a defensive Sean Penn

took the stage to present and said, "In answer to our host's question, Jude Law is one of our finest young actors." (At the time, Penn and Law were shooting All the King's Men.)

Law was not the only actor that Rock poked fun at that evening, however -- he turned the joke on himself at one point, saying, "If you want Denzel [Washington]

and all you can get is me, wait!" Older Oscar officials were reportedly displeased with Rock's performance, which did not elevate ratings for the ceremony.[25] Rock was also criticized for referring to the Oscars as "idiotic", and asserting that heterosexual men do not watch them, in an interview prior to Oscar night.[26][27]

Rock's first music video was for his song "Your Mother's Got a Big Head" from his album Born Suspect. Rock

also made videos for his songs "Champagne" from Roll With the New and "No Sex (In the Champagne Room)" from Bigger & Blacker. Chris Rock also directed and appeared in the music video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Hump de Bump".

Watch more Stadium Arcadium videos on AOL Video

Rock appeared in the Big Daddy Kane music video "Smooth Operator"

Watch more MySpace videos on AOL Video

as a guy getting his hair cut.
He also appeared in Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down",

Watch more American V: A Hundred Highways videos on AOL Video

one of the many celebrities seen lip-synching the song.


subject matter typically involves family, politics, romance, music, class relationships, and race relations in the United States. Though not strictly autobiographical, much of his comic standpoint seem rooted in his teenage experience; his strict parents, concerned about the inadequacies of the local school system, arranged to have the adolescent Rock bused to a nearly all-white high school in Bensonhurst (an Italian-ethnic neighborhood of Brooklyn known at the time for poor race relations). In his memoir "Rock This," the comedian recalls, "My parents assumed I'd get a better education in a better neighborhood. What I actually got was a worse education in a worse neighborhood. And a whole bunch of ass-whippings."[28]
The comedian has also expressed discomfort with the notion that success in standup comedy—or, indeed, in any aspect of the entertainment industry—should oblige him to serve as a role model. In this position, he finds himself directly at odds with one of his comic idols, Bill Cosby.

Cosby has reprimanded Rock both explicitly—for his famous/notorious Niggas vs. Black People track[29]—

and implicitly, for heavy use of the word "nigger."[30] Rock has not wavered from a position explored in his 1996 Roll With The New show, and reiterated in his 1997 memoir: "Why does the public expect entertainers to behave better than everybody else? It's ridiculous...Of course, this is just for black entertainers. You don't see anyone telling Jerry Seinfeld

he's a good role model. Because everyone expects whites to behave themselves...Nowadays, you've got to be an entertainer and a leader. It's too much."[31]
At the London Live Earth concert on July 7, 2007, which was broadcast live on the BBC, before introducing the Red Hot Chili Peppers,

Rock called the crowd "motherfuckers" and "shit" after a brief sigh when he said he was joking. Due to the broadcast being at 5:45pm Rock was immediately cut off, and the BBC made several apologies for his use of the word "motherfucker".[32]

Rock has been married to Malaak Compton

since November 23, 1996.[33] She is the founder and executive director of StyleWorks, a non-profit, full-service salon that provides free services for women leaving welfare and entering the workforce.[33] They have 2 daughters together, Lola Simone (born June 28, 2002) and Zahra Savannah (born May 22, 2004).[34]

In November 2006, the entertainment news website reported that Rock

was filing for divorce after nearly ten years of marriage to Malaak.[35] Two weeks later, however, TMZ reported that Rock had not filed divorce papers, and that it appeared that the couple had been able to work out their differences and stay together.[36] In response to the reports, the Rocks released a statement to the press denouncing them as "untrue rumors and lies".[33]
Often the subject of tabloids, when asked about paparazzi and the other negative aspects of fame, Rock says he accepts the bad with the good: "You can't be happy that fire cooks your food and be mad it burns your fingertips."[37]
In 2007, freelance journalist and former actress Kali Bowyer

filed a paternity suit against Chris Rock, claiming he was the father of her son, and in need of hospitalization.[38] DNA testing proved that Rock was not the child's father.[39]
Rock currently resides in Alpine, New Jersey.[40]
Rock is an avid supporter of the New York Mets baseball team. During the 2007 season he was seen nearly every game on the video screen leading the crowd in a chant of "Let's Go Mets."
In 2008, Rock's family history was profiled on the PBS series African American Lives 2.

A DNA test showed that he is descended from the Udeme people of northern Cameroon and that he is 20% Caucasian.[41]

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