Born in New Jersey in 1972, actor Taye Diggs grew up in Rochester, New York, where he attended a special performing arts high school. He later studied theater at Syracuse University. After college, Diggs moved to New York City and landed his first leading role on Broadway in Jonathan Larson's groundbreaking musical Rent (1996). Since then, Diggs has starred in television series such as Private Practice, Ally McBeal and Murder in the First as well as films like How Stella Got Her Groove Back, The Best Man and its sequel, and Chicago.
Early Life and Career
Actor Taye Diggs was born as Scott Leo Diggs on January 2, 1972, in Newark, New Jersey. The eldest of five children, he grew up in Rochester, New York. Diggs may be known for his hunky, charming roles, but he started out as a less-than-suave kid. "I was a large geek," Diggs explained to Ebony magazine in 2000. "I had nothing. I was everybody's best friend, but none of the ladies would look at me for a second."
However, life picked up for Diggs when he started attending a performing arts high school. In 1999, CNN hosted a chat with Diggs in which he said that he "found confidence through the performing arts." Diggs went on to Syracuse University, where he earned a degree in musical theater. He was spotted by a talent agent while performing in a showcase during his senior year.
After graduating from college, Diggs moved to New York City. He landed a position as an understudy in the 1994 revival of the musical Carousel. Diggs then moved to Japan to perform at Tokyo Disneyland for several months. His career took off soon after his return to the United States.
In 1996, Diggs appeared on Broadway in the role of Benny, an opportunistic landlord, in Jonathan Larson's groundbreaking musical Rent. The play won both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize. It was later made into a 2005 film, in which Diggs reprised his role.
The success of Rent helped advance Diggs's career. Transitioning from theater to film, he appeared before mainstream audiences as Winston, the hunky love interest of Angela Bassett, in 1998's How Stella Got Her Groove Back. More film projects soon followed, including the comedies Go (1999), The Best Man (1999) and Brown Sugar (2002) as well as the musical Chicago (2002), with Diggs alternating between lead and supporting roles.
Diggs also enjoyed success on the small screen. He had a recurring role on the hit legal series Ally McBeal in 2001. Three years later, Diggs starred in his own legal drama Kevin Hill. The show only lasted for one season, but he continued to work steadily on television. Diggs made appearances on shows such as Will & Grace before landing a leading role in Day Break, an action drama that debuted in 2006.
While Day Break failed to catch on with viewers, Diggs soon moved on to his most enduring TV role to date. He starred as Dr. Sam Bennett on Private Practice from 2007 to 2013. The show, which also featured Kate Walsh and Audra McDonald, was spun off from the hit medical drama Grey's Anatomy.
'Best Man' Sequel and 'Hedwig'
In 2013, Diggs reunited with many of his The Best Man cast mates for the sequel The Best Man Holiday. The hit film also featured Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Regina Hall and Harold Perrineau. Diggs appeared in another romantic comedy, Baggage Claim, that same year.
2014 saw the actor returning to series television, co-starring with Kathleen Robertson in the detective drama Murder in the First, created by Steven Bochco. The show started its second season the following year, during which time Diggs also marked his return to Broadway during the summer in John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Succeeding fellow actors such as Neil Patrick Harris, Michael C. Hall and Mitchell himself in the role, Diggs portrays an East German transgender rock and roll vocalist known for glam, glitter and heels.
Diggs married Idina Menzel, an actress who was his Rent costar, in 2003. The couple welcomed a son, Walker, in 2009. In December 2014, Diggs and Menzel amicably divorced, sharing child custody.
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