Who is Jussie Smollett?

American actor, producer, director and singer Jussie Smollett, was born in Santa Rosa, California USA, on 21 June 1982, making Cancer his zodiac sign. He has 22 acting credits, and is perhaps known best for playing Jamal Lyon in 84 episodes of the popular musical series “Empire”, which starred Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard, and was created by Danny Strong and Lee Daniels. It follows a hip hop mogul who’s close to dying, and has to choose who will inherit his company; the series aired from 2015 through 2020, and won 30 of its 136 award nominations.

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Education and early life

Jussie was raised alongside his two sisters and three brothers in Santa Monica, by their African-American mother Janet (nee Harris) and Jewish father Joel; Jussie revealed that it was hard living with his father, who hated to be called white, and that he was away for most of his and his siblings’ early life. They moved to the Queens borough of New York City when Jussie was two, and to Los Angeles, California when he was seven. Jussie’s sister Jurnee Diana Smollett and brother Jake Smollett are today both successful actors.

He was only nine when he launched his acting career, playing Salem Bordeaux in the 1991 crime family movie “A Little Piece of Have”, which starred Cloris Leachman and Kirk Cameron, and was directed by Mimi Leder. It follows Will Loomis who’s kidnapped children from a local children’s home, so that his mentally-handicapped sister Violet would have someone to play with; the movie was nominated for two awards.

He studied at Paramus Catholic High School in Paramus, New Jersey and upon matriculating in 2000 didn’t enroll at college, wanting to continue acting.

Roles in movies

In 1992, Jussie played Terry Hall in the hit family comedy “The Mighty Ducks”, which starred Joss Ackland and Emilio Estevez, and was directed by Stephen Herek. It follows a Minnesota attorney who’s been sentenced to teach a young hockey team, and the film was nominated for two awards.

Jussie was then cast to portray Adam in the 1994 adventure comedy “North”, directed by Rob Reiner, and which starred Bruce Willis and Elijah Wood. It follows a boy who’s run away from home because his parents have been neglecting him, and is now travelling the world in search of new parents; the film won four of its 13 award nominations.

Jussie took a break from acting from 1994 to 2009, and it remains unknown what he did for a living during those 15 years.

He returned with his role in the 2009 short comedy “Pitch This”, while the year 2012 saw him play the lead character Magnus in the romantic comedy “The Skinny”, which also starred Blake Young-Fountain and Anthony Burrell, and was written and directed by Patrik-Ian Polk; it follows the lives of several gays and lesbians. The year 2014 saw Jussie appear in two movies: the sports action “Born to Race: Fast Track” and the drama “Ask Me Anything”.

Some of his following roles were in the 2015 music video “Mariah Carey: Infinity”, the short drama “The Tale of Four” and the  music video “Empire Cast & Mariah Carey & Jussie Smollett: Infamous” both in 2016.

In 2017, Jussie portrayed Rocks in the critically acclaimed horror science fiction thriller “Alien: Covenant”, which starred Katherine Waterston and Michael Fassbender, and was directed by Ridley Scott. It follows the crew of a colony ship, and the movie won two of its 15 award nominations.

Jussie’s since appeared in only a single movie: the 2017 biographical crime drama “Marshall”, which won four of its 25 award nominations, including an Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song).

Roles in TV series

Jussie’s debut TV series role was playing Simon in two episodes of the 1993 biographical romantic mini-series “Queen”, which starred Ann-Margret and Patricia Clarkson, and follows a plantation owner’s son who’s fallen in love with slave Easter; the mini-series won five of its 18 award nominations.

The same year saw Jussie play Billy in the episode “Piece o’ Cake” of the sports comedy “Coach”, and in 1993 and 1994, he voiced Mike in 18 episodes of the short animated adventure “Cro”, which starred April Ortiz and Jim Cummings, and follows Dr. Cecilia and Mike who’ve defrosted a mammoth previously frozen in a glacier.

In 1994 and 1995, Jussie played Jesse Jerrico in 20 episodes of the comedy “On Our Own”, which starred his siblings Jojo and Jazz Smollett, and was created by David W. Duclon. The series follows seven Jerrico siblings who’ve become orphans, and it was nominated for two awards.

Jussie’s following TV series role was playing Barry Stassen in the 2012 episode “Josh and Mindy’s Christmas Party” of the comedy “The Mindy Project”, and he’s since appeared in only three TV series: the 2014 episode “Ashes” of the mystery thriller “Revenge”, two episodes of the 2016 historical adventure “Underground” and the 2017 episode “The Winner Takes It All” of the musical drama “Star”.

Other credits

Jussie has six producing credits, which include the family series “Smollett Eats” and the short romantic movie “90 Days” both in 2016,  and the 2021 drama movie “B-Boy Blues”.

Some of his most recent talk-show appearances have been in “Celebrity Page”, “Good Morning America” and “The Dr. Oz Show”.

Awards and nominations

Jussie’s won 13 of his 31 award nominations. Some of his wins include five Image Awards in 2016 and 2017, all for his performance in “Empire”, a 2017 Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival Award for Short Film, for “90 Days”, and a 2018 Indie Series Award for Best Web Series – Drama for “Giants”.

Love life and relationships

Jussie was 19 when he told his parents that he was gay, and it was in March 2015, while making a guest appearance in “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that he revealed to the public that he’s gay, however, he’s also stated that both he and gay American screenwriter and producer Lee Daniels occasionally have sex with women.

Jussie’s yet to mention the men whom he’s dated, while it’s believed that he was in a relationship with a wealthy American man Tawan Davis from 2018 through 2022; the two were spotted walking the streets of Los Angeles in July 2022, but neither has addressed the rumors of them dating. Tawan’s today the CEO of The Steinbridge Group.

Jussie seems to be single as of June 2023, hasn’t married and doesn’t have children.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Jussie was stopped by police officers in 2007, after they suspected that he was driving under the influence; he gave the police a false name, pretending to be his brother. He didn’t have a valid driver’s license, and was subsequently sentenced to three years on probation.

He’s today followed by over 4.5 million people on Instagram, and has posted over 1,000 pictures and videos onto the network; most of these serve to promote his upcoming music, movies and TV series.

Jussie’s passionate about music, and his debut extended play (EP) “The Poisoned Hearts Club” was released on 9 March 2012. He’s released only a single album – “Sum of My Music” on 2 March 2018, and it peaked at #22 on the Billboard Heatseekers Album; Jussie’s most recent singles “Ha Ha (I Love You)” and “Hurt People” were released in 2018.

Jussie has a muscular body, mainly because he works out at the gym on a daily basis.

One of his favorite actors is Robert Duvall, and some of his favorite movies include “Network”, “Apocalypse Now” and “A Night in Old Mexico”.

Hate crime hoax and trials

On 29 January 2019, Jussie told the police that someone had physically attacked him outside his home, and that they used homophobic and racial slurs; he was taken to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital and released a day later. The police were able to discover that Jussie had paid his two brothers to stage the assault, and he was thus charged 20 February by a grand jury with filing a false police report on, but all charges were dropped on 26 March.

He was indicted on the same charges again by a Cook County grand jury on 11 February 2020, was found guilty in November 2021, and Jussie was sentenced to 150 days behind bars and 2.5 years on probation on 10 March 2022 – his lawyers filed a notice of appeal a day later, and an appeal on 1 March 2023.

Height, eyes and wealth

Jussie’s age is 40. He has brown eyes and black hair, is 5ft 11ins (1.8m) tall and weighs around 170lbs (78kgs).

Jussie’s net worth’s been estimated at over $300,000, as of June 2023.

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