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Wayne Brady is a comedian and actor known for his work on TV's Whose Line Is It Anyhow, The Wayne Brady Show and Don't Forget the Lyrics.
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Born in 1997 in Columbus, Georgia, Wayne Brady auditioned for the British comedy series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and he was cast in several episodes and later starred in the American version as well. In 2001, The Wayne Brady Show first aired, and although the show earned two Daytime Emmys, it was canceled in 2004. Brady returned to host 2007's FOX network game show Don't Forget the Lyrics.
Wayne Brady was born on June 2, 1972, in Columbus, Georgia. Raised primarily by his paternal grandmother, Valerie Petersen, Brady had a pronounced stutter and shied away from public interaction. At home, Brady proved to be intelligent and creative. By age three his grandmother had taught him to read, and by age six he began to create his own plays, commercials, songs and interviews, basing them on models drawn from television. As he embraced his theatrical side, young Brady was inspired by 1950s- and '60s-era music and television, and admired celebrities like Danny Kaye, Sid Caesar and Gene Kelly.
Brady attended Dr. Phillips High School, where he excelled in his studies. At 16, he joined the ROTC, which provided both discipline and self-confidence. He intended to join the military, but after appearing in a high school play (and enjoying the resulting rave reviews), Brady altered his plans. Upon his graduation in 1989, Brady made a deal with his grandmother: If he could earn a living as an actor within six months, he would forgo the military.
Brady was soon cast in a theme park show at Universal Studios, and immersed himself in the local theater scene. He appeared in classics including A Chorus Line, Jesus Christ Superstar, and A Raisin in the Sun. A regular at Orlando's SAK Theater Comedy Lab, a haven for improv and sketch comedy, Brady earned his comedic chops performing in multiple shows a night. By 1992, the SAK honored him as "Rookie of the Year for Theater Sports/Improv." That same year, Brady moved to Las Vegas to dance, sing and act in a musical revue. He soon discovered a talent for mimicking musical genres and performing seamless impressions of rock 'n' roll greats including Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard.
In 1996, after performing in showcases across the country, Brady was hired to work in a musical revue based in Oahu, Hawaii. It was there that he met Mandie Taketa, a dancer in the show. The two began dating and, after the revue closed, the couple moved to Los Angeles.
In California Brady began earning television parts, including guest-starring roles in In the Heat of the Night and I'll Fly Away. Around the same time, several former compatriots from the SAK relocated to the West Coast. Along with Brady, they formed the critically lauded improv group, "Houseful of Honkeys," which still performs regularly at the Acme Comedy Theatre.
In 1997, Brady auditioned for the established British comedy series, Whose Line Is It Anyway? The improv-based show featured a rotating quartet of comedians performing lightning-speed comedy games and improvised songs in front of a live audience.
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