Michael B. Jordan Biography

Television Actor, Film Actor (1987–)
Actor Michael B. Jordan is known for his critically acclaimed roles in 'Fruitvale Station,' 'Creed' and the hit superhero flick 'Black Panther.'

Who Is Michael B. Jordan?

Born February 9, 1987, Michael B. Jordan was raised in Newark, New Jersey, where he got his start as a model and actor. His first significant break was an appearance on The Sopranos in 1999. He later landed major roles in landmark TV shows like The Wire and Friday Night Lights. Jordan garnered acclaim for his role in the film festival favorite Fruitvale Station (2013) and for his role as a boxing protégé in the latest installment of the Rocky franchise, Creed (2015). He returned to the big screen in early 2018 in the Marvel superhero flick Black Panther.

Early Life

American film actor Michael Bakari Jordan was born February 9, 1987, in Santa Ana, California. The son of a caterer and a high school guidance counselor, Jordan moved when he was 2 with his parents to Newark, New Jersey, where he spent the remainder of his childhood.

Newark could be a tough place to grow up; in a later interview, Jordan admitted to having friends who sold drugs and stole cars. The future actor stayed above the fray, and with the encouragement of his parents he began modeling for newspaper ads at the age of 10.

Along the way he also auditioned for commercials and TV shows. His first break came when he landed a small role on the Bill Cosby sitcom, Cosby. Other minor parts followed, and in 1999 he made an appearance in The Sopranos.

'The Wire' and Other Early Hits

It was the 2001 movie Hardball, however, that raised the young actor’s profile. Starring Keanu Reeves and Diane Lane, the film tells the story of an inner-city baseball team. Jordan landed a principal role and his performance put him on the radar screen of the creators of the HBO series The Wire.

Jordan’s time on the landmark show lasted just a season, but his riveting portrayal of the caring, soft-spoken Wallace ended his struggles to find consistent television and film work.

In 2003 he was tapped as a regular cast member on the soap opera All My Children. During his three-year stint on the show, Jordan netted three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series. He also earned a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Favorite Teen.

After leaving the soap in 2006, Jordan stayed busy. He landed a role in the indie film Blackout (2007), and made appearances in a host of television shows, including Law & Order: Criminal Intent, CSI, and Cold Case, among others.

'Friday Night Lights' and 'Fruitvale Station'

Jordan's next significant break came in 2009, when he was cast to play star quarterback Vince Howard in the NBC Emmy-winning series Friday Night Lights. Jordan’s performance wowed fans of the series and served notice to critics that he was actor to keep an eye on.

After gaining notice on Friday Night Lights, Jordan carefully leveraged his stardom. He delivered again with a recurring role in the NBC series Parenthood, and received mountains of critical praise for his 2013 performance in the Ryan Coogler directed feature Fruitvale Station. The film, based on a true story, saw Jordan play the starring role of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old African-American man killed by police while at an Oakland, California, subway station.

His film work has also included roles in Red Tails (2012), The Chronicle (2012), That Awkward Moment (2014) and as the Human Torch in the widely panned Fantastic Four (2015).

'Rocky' Redux

In late 2015, Jordan teamed up again with director Ryan Coogler for the newest incarnation of the Rocky franchise, Creed. Jordan plays aspiring fighter Adonis Johnson, the unknown son of Rocky’s late rival and friend, Apollo Creed. For the film, Jordan, an accomplished high school athlete, trained vigorously. He spent more than a year preparing for the role, training with boxers and embarking on a strict diet. 

Upon its release, Oscar talk immediately began to swirl around the film, cementing Jordan’s status as a Hollywood star. Still, the actor set his eyes on expanding his career even further: “I want to make that move from actor to producer, like Will Smith,” he has said.

'Black Panther'

Following a hiatus from the screen, Jordan returned for the Marvel superhero feature Black Panther, playing arch villain Erik Killmonger to Chadwick Boseman's titular superhero. The film was a resounding success, pushing $1 billion in global ticket sales within three weeks of its February 2018 release, and shattering stereotypes about the limits of marketing a mostly black cast.

In the wake of the flick's impressive debut—and Frances McDormand's attention-grabbing Oscar speech on the subject—Jordan announced in an Instagram post that he would include inclusion riders for all projects made by his production company, Outlier Society. An inclusion rider is a clause that allows actors to contractually demand diversity among the cast and crew on set.

In late spring, Jordan was named the year's best villain the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards. In his speech, he joked that he was "shocked" to win the award since he "thought for sure Roseanne had that in the bag," a reference to Roseanne Barr's racist tweets that led to her show's cancellation.

'Fahrenheit 451' and New Projects

In May 2018, Jordan starred in an HBO adaptation of the Ray Bradbury classic Fahrenheit 451, a film that drew mostly tepid reviews. The outcome didn't dim the ambitions of the actor, who announced he would make his directing debut with an adaptation of the novel The Stars Beneath Our Feet, and produce the World War II drama Liberators, about the all-African-American 761st Tank Battalion. Additionally, he was attached to star in Just Mercy, based on the true story of civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson. 

Michael B. Jordan

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