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Mekhi Phifer is an African-American actor whose first role was in the Spike Lee film Clockers, and who was featured on ER for six seasons.
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In 2000, he starred across from Samuel L. Jackson in the remake of Shaft (2000), which quickly became a cult hit.
But Phifer's true entrance into mainstream Hollywood came in 2001, when he was cast in the contemporary remake of Shakespeare's Othello, O, with co-star Julia Stiles. In the film, Phifer starred as Odin, a modern version of the character Othello. Unfortunately, the film's plot mirrored a series of real-life high school shootings that happened shortly before the film was to hit theatres. Although critics praised the film and Phifer's performance, O entered and left the box office with very little publicity.
Hollywood took notice, however, and Phifer continued working in a string of movies and television shows. For his next performance, Phifer played opposite rap artist Eminem in the musician's semi-autobiographical film, 8 Mile (2002). The movie received both popular and critical success, winning an Oscar and receiving a Golden Globe nomination.
In June of 2002, Phifer received the Rising Star from the American Black Film Festival. Later that same year, he began appearing on Michael Crichton's award-winning medical drama series ER as arrogant intern, Dr. Gregory Pratt. He stayed on the show for six seasons, until his character died tragically from injuries sustained while helping a patient.
Phifer co-starred with Jessica Alba in the dance film, Honey, in 2003. Unfortunately, the film didn't do well at the box office, and critics panned the plot as saccharine. Undeterred, Phifer continued to demonstrate his diversity as an actor by appearing in several episodes of the HBO improv comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and in the modern remake of the horror classic Dawn of the Dead (2004).
The multi-talented Phifer started working behind the camera in 2006. His first project as producer and director was the satirical comedy Puff, Puff, Pass, followed by the 2007 romantic comedy, This Christmas.
In addition to his acting roles, Phifer works as an entrepreneur; he is the youngest owner of the athletic franchise, Athletes Foot, and runs six different stores.
Phifer has two sons: Omikaye, from his marriage to actress Malinda Williams, and Mekhi Jr., his child with fiancee Oni Souratha. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
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