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Harlem, New York City
Birth Sign
Harlem, New York City

Ving Rhames is an African-American actor who is well-known. This highly features and muscular actor found his passion for performing at an early age, and is known for his unusual baritone and bald head. He studied acting and went on to have a great career as an actor. Rhames worked in theater and television as well as cinema over his career. Through his strong and frightening characters, the actor has made a significant contribution to American cinema throughout the course of his three-decade career. Many of the characters Rhames has played are based on real-life crooks and thugs that were common in the urban milieu where he grew up. This Golden Globe winner has also lent his voice to a number of animated characters. This well-known film director has received numerous awards. The star has also received recognition from The National Association of Theatre Owners, in addition to the Golden Globes. The star is described as a ‘character actor of movie and stage who is known to depict credible and complicated heavies as well as imperfect men of power’ on the Cinemania website.

Childhood and Adolescence

Ving Rhames was born Irving Rameses Rhames on May 12, 1959 in Harlem, New York City. Reather, the star’s mother, was a stay-at-home mom, while Ernest, the star’s father, was an auto mechanic. The NBC journalist Irving R. Levine inspired Irving’s name.

He received his formal education at the prestigious High School of Performing Arts in New York, where he discovered his passion for acting.

He went on to SUNY Purchase to study drama after graduation. He met the now-famous actor ‘Stanley Tucci,’ who gave him the moniker ‘Ving.’

He later received a scholarship and attended the Juilliard School of Drama, where he studied classical theater. He received his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Drama in 1983. Following that, he began appearing in Shakespeare in the Park shows.

Career of Ving Rhames

In 1984, Ving Rhames had his debut television appearance in the film ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain.’ Later that year, he had his Broadway debut in ‘The Winter Boys,’ in which he played a leading part.
He subsequently went on to work in television films, starring in shows like ‘Guiding Light,’ ‘Another World,’ and ‘Miami Vice.’

In 1986, he made his big screen debut as ‘Jack’ in the film ‘Native Son.’ After a few years, he participated in the ‘Brian de Palma Vietnam War drama Casualties of War’ in 1989, and his career took off from there.

Rhames co-starred in ‘The Saint of Fort Washington’ with Matt Dillon in 1993. The next year, in 1994, the actor received critical praise for his portrayal of ‘Marsellus Wallace’ in the film ‘Pulp Fiction.’ The Quentin Tarantino film was a box office success.

In the 1996 film ‘Mission: Impossible,’ he played elite computer hacker Luther Stickell. He co-starred in this picture with Tom Cruise, who is a Hollywood legend. In the same year, he appeared in ‘Striptease,’ portraying a wisecracking bodyguard.

In 1997, he starred as Nathan ‘Diamond Dog’ Jones in the film ‘Con Air.’ In the same year, he also starred in the film ‘Don King: Only in America.’
In 1999, he appeared in two films: ‘Entrapment’ and ‘Bringing Out the Dead.’

He returned to the character of Luther Stickell in ‘Mission: Impossible II’ in 2000. In the same year, he starred in the film ‘American Tragedy’ as Johnnie Cochran.
In 2004, Ving Rhames confronted ravenous zombie hordes as a beefy cop in ‘Dawn of the Dead.’

In 2005, he was cast as the lead in a new Kojak series that aired on ITV4 in the United Kingdom and the USA Network cable channel in the United States.

In 2006, the towering star returned in the third installment of the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise.
Ving Rhames’ exceptional comedic abilities were on display in 2007’s ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.’ The actor portrayed a homosexual firefighter in this comedic film.

Rhames displayed his comedic muscles once more in 2009’s ‘The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.’ The next year, he switched genres and starred in Alexandre Aja’s version of ‘Piranha 3D,’ a horror film.
He made a cameo appearance in ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ in 2011.

He appeared in the fifth edition of the Mission Impossible series, ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,’ in 2015. He did a series of advertisements for Arby’s and The ADT Corporation the same year.

Major Projects of Ving Rhames

Ving Rhames played Don King in the 1997 television movie “Don King: Only in America.” The film, which depicts the narrative of King’s rise to prominence as a boxing promoter and manager, was a critical hit.

Rhames has also had notable parts on the tiny screen in addition to the big screen. He starred as Peter Benton’s brother-in-law in the medical drama ‘ER,’ which he performed for three seasons.
Rhames portrays an ex-con in the film ‘Saving God’ in 2008. This film tells the story of a con who transforms after being released from prison and takes over his father’s old church.

He also contributed to the film ‘Phantom Punch,’ a biopic of boxer Sonny Liston.

Achievements & Awards

For ‘Don King: Only in America,’ Ving Rhames won the ‘Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film’ in 1998.
In 2001, he received “Special Mention” at the Locarno International Film Festival.
The National Association of Theatre Owners also paid tribute to the actor.

Personal History and Legacy

Rhames married Valerie Scott, a woman he met in 1994. Rhames and Scott divorced on February 9, 1999.
The star married Deborah Reed the next year, in 2000. They have a son and a daughter together. Tiffany, Reed’s daughter from a previous marriage, is also theirs.

Estimated Net Worth

Ving Rhames has a net worth of $16 million dollars.


Stanley Tucci, one of Rhames’ undergraduate roommates, proposed that the actor shorten his name to ‘Ving.’
Apart from Tom Cruise, Rhames is the only actor who has appeared in all five ‘Mission: Impossible’ sequels.

Rhames presented his Best Actor trophy to fellow contender Jack Lemmon at the 1998 Golden Globes event. The ‘Don King: Only in America’ performer received a standing ovation for his generosity.
Rhames also serves as one of The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s narrators (UFC).
The actor grew up in a neighborhood where there were criminals and drug lords.
Matt Dillon introduced Rhames to a homeless man during the filming of ‘The Saint of Fort Washington.’ This stranger turned out to be the actor’s older brother, who had been estranged from the family for several years. Rhames then invited his older brother to his flat, found him a job, and later provided him with a home.