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Harry J. Lennix

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Information about Harry J. Lennix

Profile image of Harry J. Lennix

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actor
Film Actor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Burgundy, Gold
Favorite Food:
Italian, Japanese Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cancun, Mexico, Australia
Favorite Quote:
It Is Worth More To Have A Little Bit Of Something You Love, Than A Lot Of Something You Don't Care About.

Birthplace

Born:
11/16/1964
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actor
Film Actor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Burgundy, Gold
Favorite Food:
Italian, Japanese Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cancun, Mexico, Australia
Favorite Quote:
It Is Worth More To Have A Little Bit Of Something You Love, Than A Lot Of Something You Don't Care About.

Birthplace

Born:
11/16/1964
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Harry J. Lennix is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Actor Harry J. Lennix was born the last of three children in Chicago, Illinois, on November 16, 1964, to Harry and Lillian Lennix. He grew up in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, the youngest of three siblings, and was raised by a single mother. His father died when Lennix was only two years old. Lennix attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary where he studied to become a Dominican priest. He did well in school, and upon graduation attended Northwestern University.

At Northwestern University, Lennix became interested in theater. He majored in acting and directing and was a member of For Members Only, an African American student organization at Northwestern. He was also awarded the School of Communications’ Sandra Singer Scholarship for talented theater students. After graduation, Lennix spent eight years teaching in Chicago Public Schools, although he began to perform in prominent Chicago theaters, including the Goodman and Steppenwolf Theatres.

Lennix's acting career began to take off in the late 1980s. His first film role was in 1989’s The Package, filmed on location in Chicago. Lennix continued working in theater, and the following year, he won an Obie award for his portrayal of Malcolm X in The Meeting. After relocating to New York City, Lennix performed in the play Titus Andronicus. He would reprise this role when the play became a film (Titus) in 1999. Lennix received both a Tree of Life Award from the NAACP and a Golden Satellite Award from the International Press Academy for his performance in that film. Lennix’s film and television credits are numerous. He has had significant roles in movies such as Ray, Love and Basketball, Get on the Bus, Barbershop 2: Back in Business and The Matrix: Revolutions, among others. His television credits included a major role on NBC’s acclaimed series Commander in Chief as well as parts in E.R., Diagnosis Murder and House, M.D..

Lennix is known for playing stern and stoic characters. He joined forces with Goodman Theatre director Chuck Smith to form Legacy Productions. The company has performed plays throughout the country. Although he resides in Los Angeles, Lennix is on the board of advisors at Chicago’s Goodman Theater, and continues to work as a stage actor, including a role in 2005 in the play Permanent Collection.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harry J. Lennix's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix describes his family's background working on plantations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix describes his Native American heritage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix describes the slave rebellions in America and Haiti
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix describes his mother's childhood, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix describes his mother's childhood, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix describes his mother's family and her move to Chicago
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix describes his father and uncle
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix describes his siblings, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix describes his siblings, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix describes his premature birth and childhood illness
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix describes his earliest memories of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix remembers his elementary school teachers and friends, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix remembers his elementary school teachers and friends, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix describes his childhood aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix recalls his acting roles in elementary school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix recalls the actors and actresses who influenced him
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix describes his affinity for languages
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix describes his decision to attend Northwestern University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix recalls his decision to pursue acting
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix remembers his freshman year at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon his first year at Northwestern University, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix describes his siblings' college experiences
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon his first year at Northwestern University, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix describes his mother's life while he was in college
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix remembers his sophomore year at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix remembers performing in 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix recalls Northwestern University's SummerStage festival
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix describes his junior year at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon his confidence as a young actor
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix remembers his courses at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix describes the politics of Chicago and Northwestern University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix remembers his family's opinion of his acting career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Harry J. Lennix describes his senior year at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Harry J. Lennix' interview, session 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix remembers the Summer Academic Workshop at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix talks about prominent professors at Northwestern University
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix recalls the 1970s arts scene in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix recalls the black theatres in Chicago in the 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix remembers seeing his first professional play, 'Fiorello!'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix recalls his first professional theatrical roles
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix talks about black theater and colorblind casting
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Harry J. Lennix remembers his first film roles in 'The Package' and 'A Mother's Courage: The Mary Thomas Story'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Harry J. Lennix talks about being cast in 'The Five Heartbeats'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix recalls making 'The Five Heartbeats'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix talks about dance and vocal techniques for actors
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon the differences between stage and film acting
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix remembers the voices of prominent black actors and singers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix describes how new media platforms have reduced actors' compensation
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix remembers substitute teaching in Chicago Public Schools
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix recalls his interest in the Nation of Islam
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix remembers the demographics of Chicago's South Shore neighborhood during his childhood
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon the Nation of Islam's contributions
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix talks about his relationship to the Nation of Islam
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix talks about his connections to the North Side and South Side of Chicago
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix remembers his move to New York City
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix describes his role as Aaron the Moor in 'Titus Andronicus'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix talks about playing Othello
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix describes the cultural impact of 'Othello'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon the impact of race on his career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Harry J. Lennix recalls touring Jeff Stetson's play 'The Meeting'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Harry J. Lennix remembers the play 'When Chickens Come Home To Roost'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix recalls working with Spike Lee in the mid-1990s
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix describes his approach to playing Malcolm X
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix talks about the assassination of Malcom X
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix remembers the movie 'Get on the Bus'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix recalls the television shows 'ER' and 'Diagnosis Murder'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix remembers his television roles in the late 1990s
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix recalls his roles at the Goodman Theater in late 1990s Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix talks about the 2000 film 'Love and Basketball'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Harry J. Lennix recalls performing in 'Cymbeline' in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Harry J. Lennix remembers learning about Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. for 'Keep the Faith, Baby'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.'s legacy
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon the range of characters he has played
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix talks about filming 'The Matrix Reloaded' and 'The Matrix Revolutions' in 2003
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon his interest in directing and producing
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix remembers filming 'The Human Stain' in 2003
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix describes his role in the 2005 film 'Chrystal'
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix talks about Taylor Hackford's directing style
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix recalls filming 'Barbershop 2: Back in Business' and 'Suspect Zero'
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix talks about his process as an actor
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Harry J. Lennix describes his perspective on improvisation
  • Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Harry J. Lennix describes the premise of Thomas Gibbons' play 'Permanent Collection'
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix talks about the NAACP Image Awards' selection process
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix describes his 2007 production of 'Macbeth' in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix talks about his character in August Wilson's 'Radio Golf'
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix remembers playwright August Wilson
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix recalls his relationship with August Wilson
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon his early community in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix recalls the Broadway run of 'Radio Golf'
  • Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix describes his roles in '24' and 'Resurrecting the Champ'
  • Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Harry J. Lennix talks about his support for Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Harry J. Lennix talks about the portrayal of fictional black presidents
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Harry J. Lennix remembers directing his first film, 'Fly Like Mercury'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Harry J. Lennix recalls working with Joss Whedon on the television show 'Dollhouse'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Harry J. Lennix talks about watching his own films
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Harry J. Lennix remembers being cast on 'The Blacklist'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Harry J. Lennix describes the impact of online streaming on the film industry
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Harry J. Lennix talks about his projects as a producer
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 12 Story: 9 - Harry J. Lennix describes his plans for 'Revival!' and black faith-based media
  • Tape: 12 Story: 10 - Harry J. Lennix talks about the film 'Black Panther'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 11 - Harry J. Lennix reflects upon his favorite role, Jay Gatsby in 'The Great Gatsby'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 12 - Harry J. Lennix describes his advice to young black actors
  • Tape: 12 Story: 13 - Harry J. Lennix describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community