Birth Date: July 20th, 1973 - Brooklyn, New York, USA
Bearing talent and good looks in equal measure, African American actor Omar Epps first became visible to audiences and critics alike with his 1992 film debut in Ernest R. Dickerson's urban drama Juice. Epps shone in his role as one of a group of four Harlem friends trying to make good, with the praise he earned for his work paving the way for steady industry employment.
Born Omar Hashim Epps in Brooklyn, New York, on July 23, 1973, Epps was raised by his mother, an elementary school principal. He nurtured his interest in acting at both the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the New York High School for the Performing Arts. After his breakthrough in Juice, Epps ran the risk of being typecast, playing athletes in a series of films. However, his performances were consistently solid, and he earned particular acclaim for his portrayal of a young man attending college on an athletic scholarship in John Singleton's Higher Learning (1995). Around this same time, Epps also excelled in a brief recurring role as an emotionally stressed intern on E.R.; he would later identify that role as the one that made it possible for audiences to finally put a name to his face.
A brief but memorable role in Scream 2 (1997) signaled a degree of Hollywood acceptance for Epps; two years later he could be seen starring in no less than four films in the same year. Two of these, a remake of The Mod Squad and Alan Rudolph's disastrous adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, were all-out turkeys, but Epps did strong work in both The Wood, in which he played one of a group of close-knit high school friends; and In Too Deep, which featured him as a police detective trying to bring down an underworld boss (L.L. Cool J. The following year, he returned to the college sports realm in Love and Basketball, a romantic drama that premiered at the 2000 Sundance Festival. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx