Who Is Nick Cannon?
Nick Cannon has taken on almost every facet of show business. He's acted, done stand-up, hosted television and radio programs, made music and has written, directed and produced entertainment projects. Cannon served as host of the TV reality competition America's Got Talent from 2009 to 2017, during which time he was married to Mariah Carey, and began hosting The Masked Singer in 2019.
Nicholas Scott Cannon was born on October 8, 1980, in San Diego, California, to parents James Cannon, a televangelist, and Beth Hackett, an accountant. His parents separated when he was young, so he grew up shuttling between California and North Carolina.
At the age of 8, Nick Cannon got the performance bug after his grandfather gave him several musical instruments. Soon after, he switched from music to stand-up comedy when he was invited to perform on his father's public access show. It wasn't long before a teenage Cannon was working well-known comedy clubs.
'The Nick Cannon Show,' 'Wild 'N Out'
The rising star's big break came when warming up audiences on Nickelodeon's All That. At age 17, he became the youngest staff writer in television history for his work on the young sketch comedy series. Before he knew it, he was directing, producing and starring in Nickelodeon's The Nick Cannon Show, before moving on MTV's improv series, Nick Cannon Presents Wild 'N Out. The latter series, running from 2005 to '07, was one of MTV's most successful, later returning to the small screen in 2013 for an even longer run on MTV2.
'America's Got Talent,' 'The Masked Singer'
Cannon joined America's Got Talent in 2009, serving as its host until 2017. Meanwhile, he appeared in shows like Real Husbands of Hollywood and landed a recurring role on the sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In January 2019, he returned to hosting with the launch of the popular competition series The Masked Singer.
Transitioning from TV to movies, Cannon earned a small appearance in Men in Black II in 2002. That same year, he landed his first lead role on the big screen, as Devon Miles in Drumline. Other flicks followed, including Shall We Dance (2004), Roll Bounce (2005) and Bobby (2006). His role in Bobby garnered a nod from the Screen Actors Guild in 2007, and made Cannon the first African American to be honored with the Breakthrough Actor of the Year Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
'Chi-Raq,' 'She Ball'
Cannon later starred in Spike Lee's Chi-Raq (2015). In 2017, he announced he would produce, direct and star in She Ball, about a group of women's basketball players who band together to save a community center.
While establishing his acting career, Cannon released a self-titled album in 2003. He's also collaborated with other big names on various music projects, including Kanye West, P. Diddy, Mary J. Blige and R. Kelly. Because of his strong musical ties, he was a natural as host of the nationally syndicated radio show Cannon's Countdown. After the show's premiere in 2011, Cannon decided to leave the Top 40 countdown two years down the line.
Since 2011, Cannon has released a pair of mixtapes, as well as his second studio album, White People Party Music (2014).
Business and Charity
On top of entertaining, Cannon is involved in several entrepreneurial and charitable endeavors. He runs the multimedia company Ncredible Entertainment, which launches TV, film, music and merchandising projects, and has served as chairman of the TeenNick network. Despite juggling so much, Cannon still donates much of his time to charitable organizations in addition to running his own charity, the Nicholas Scott Cannon Foundation.
On April 30, 2008, Cannon—27 years old at the time — married singer Mariah Carey, 11 years his senior. Three years later, the couple welcomed fraternal twins Moroccan Scott and Monroe Cannon. As a family man, funny man and businessman, Cannon still had to keep an eye on his health, especially after having a scare in 2012 with mild kidney failure caused by a rare form of lupus. Cannon said his wife was the best medicine during this crisis. "She's so great and so nurturing," he told Good Morning America. "I call her Dr. Carey."
In August 2014, after six years of marriage, Cannon and Carey called it quits. Cannon issued a statement saying the couple had been living apart for several months.
In July, ViacomCBS announced they were cutting ties with Cannon after he "failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism" in an episode of his YouTube series, Cannon's Class.
Cannon later apologized on Twitter: "First and foremost I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers for the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth during my interview with Richard Griffin," Cannon wrote. "They reinforced the worst stereotypes of a proud and magnificent people and I feel ashamed of the uninformed and naïve place that these words came from. The video of this interview has since been removed. While the Jewish experience encompasses more than 5,000 years and there is so much I have yet to learn, I have had at least a minor history lesson over the past few days and to say that it is eye-opening would be a vast understatement. I want to express my gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders and institutions who reached out to me to help enlighten me, instead of chastising me. I want to assure my Jewish friends, new and old, that this is only the beginning of my education — I am committed to deeper connections, more profound learning and strengthening the bond between our two cultures today and every day going forward."
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