Born: February 7, 1965
Birthplace: Andrews, SC
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
Career and Life
Christopher Julius Rock III was born in Andrews, South Carolina. Shortly after his birth, his parents moved to the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.
A few years later, they moved and settled in the working-class area of Bedford–Stuyvesant. His mother, Rosalie (née Tingman), was a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped; his father, Christopher Julius Rock Jr., was a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman.
Rock was bused to schools in mostly Caucasian neighborhoods of Brooklyn, where he endured bullying and beatings from white students.
As he got older, the bullying worsened, and Rock's parents pulled him out of James Madison High School.
He dropped out of high school but later earned a GED. Rock then worked menial jobs at various fast-food restaurants.
Rock began doing stand-up comedy in 1984 in New York City's Catch a Rising Star.
He slowly rose 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.
He became a cast member of Saturday Night Live's popular sketch comedy series 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 role as a crack addict in the film New Jack City. His tenure on SNL gave Rock national exposure.
After working as a standup comic and appearing in minor film roles, Rock came to wider prominence as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s.
With plans to leave Saturday Night Live after the 1992-93 season, Rock was effectively "fired" from the show.
Beginning that fall, he appeared as a special guest star in six episodes of the predominantly African-American sketch show In Living Color. The show was canceled a month after he arrived. Rock then wrote and starred in the low-budget comedy CB4, which made $18 million against its budget of $6 million.
Rock starred in his first HBO comedy special in 1994 titled Big Ass Jokes as part of HBO Comedy Half-Hour.
His second special, 1996's Bring the Pain, made Rock one of the industry's most acclaimed and commercially successful comedians.
Rock won two Emmy Awards for the special and gained large critical acclaim.
Adding to his popularity was his much-publicized role as a commentator for Comedy Central's Politically Incorrect during the 1996 Presidential elections, for which he earned another Emmy nomination.
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 and hosted the '97 MTV Video Music Awards.
He went on to more prominent film appearances, with starring roles in Down to Earth (2001), Head of State (2003), The Longest Yard (2005), the Madagascar film series (2005–2012), Grown Ups (2010), its sequel Grown Ups 2 (2013),
In addition, Rock developed, wrote, and narrated the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris (2005–2009), which was based on his early life.
He later had two more HBO comedy specials: Bigger & Blacker in 1999 and Never Scared in 2004. 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 three Emmy Awards and 15 nominations.
During this time, Rock 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, and won him another Emmy for outstanding writing for various music programs.
On October 30, 2016, Netflix announced that they would be releasing two new stand-up comedy specials from Rock, with Rock being paid $40 million per special.
The first special, Chris Rock: Tambourine, was released on Netflix on February 14, 2018, and filmed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The specials marked the comedian's first concert specials released in 10 years.
It was not until the success of his stand-up act in the late 1990s that Rock began receiving major parts in films.
Though he started with supporting roles in films such as Dogma, Beverly Hills Ninja, Lethal Weapon 4, and Nurse Betty, he went on to star in films like The Longest Yard, Bad Company, and Down to Earth.
His 2010s film appearances include Death at a Funeral, Grown Ups, and 2 Days in New York.
Rock has also increasingly worked behind the camera as a writer and director of Head of State, and I Think I Love My Wife (both in which he played the lead role). Additionally, he has done voice work for the popular Madagascar animated film franchise.
Following the release of his first documentary, 2009's Good Hair, Rock is working on a documentary about debt called Credit Is the Devil.
In the fall of 2005, the UPN television network premiered a comedy series called Everybody Hates Chris, loosely based on Rock's school days. He is the executive producer and narrator.
The show has garnered both critical and ratings success. 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.
In 2011, Rock appeared on Broadway in Stephen Adly Guirgis' play The Motherfucker with the Hat with Bobby Cannavale and Annabella Sciorra.
He produced the series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, which premiered in August 2012.
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.
He directed and appeared in the music video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers song "Hump de Bump" and has appeared in several videos, including the Big Daddy Kane music video "Smooth Operator" as a guy getting his hair cut, one of the many celebrities seen lip-synching in Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down,” and a cameo in Madonna's "Bitch I'm Madonna.”
On October 21, 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Rock would host the 88th Academy Awards.