Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
To view another celebrity please click the next celebrity button below or read the full article by scrolling further below.
The Fox network debuted in 1986 and not many thought much of it at first. After all, many had tried and failed to contend with the big three of ABC, NBC and CBS throughout the years, but Fox has made it a big four. A lot of that can be contributed to the early 1990s and the success of shows such as “In Living Color” that established a large audience. Among the members of that cast was Damon Wayans, who outside of Jim Carrey has perhaps enjoyed the finest career out of all of the performers. Now in his late 50s, the comedian is still going strong as ever.Advertisements:
The Wayans family is one that people have become very familiar with over the years. Damon was born on September 4, 1960 in the Harlem district of New York City with many siblings. Among them are Shawn, Marlon, Keenen Ivory and Kim Wayans, all of whom have had acting careers. All in all, Wayans was one of 10 children in his family, which made for some funny situations.
Using the experience of having so many siblings, Wayans parlayed this into a comedy career where he started performing stand-up during his early 20s. “I live to perform,” Wayans said. “There’s nothing like being on stage.” It didn’t take long for Wayans to find an audience, especially in a comedy capital like New York City. His routine garnered the attention of producers, and like many comedians had made his way into acting.
Wayans made his acting debut in 1984 when he had a brief role in the massively successful Eddie Murphy comedy “Beverly Hills Cop”. The following year, Wayans joined the cast of the sketch series “Saturday Night Live” as a featured performer, sticking around for just one season. He went back to the big screen in 1987, popping up in the films “Hollywood Shuffle” and “Roxanne”.
After a couple of guest appearances on television, Wayans had a breakout in 1988 when he appeared in a quartet of films that included “Earth Girls Are Easy” and “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”. This helped put Wayans on the map, with his career rocketing at the beginning of the 1990s.
He became part of the cast of “In Living Color”, which served as a bit of counter-programming to “Saturday Night Live” for a younger audience. The series was a big hit for Fox, and made a star out of Wayans. During his run on the show that lasted up to 1994, Wayans also appeared in films like “The Last Boy Scout”, “Last Action Hero” and was the titular character in “Blankman”.
Wayans didn’t struggle after “In Living Color” ended in 1994, as the next year he starred in the comedy “Major Payne” in 1995, which was followed up with three movies in 1996 such as “Bulletproof” where he starred alongside Adam Sandler. Wayans wrapped up the 1990s with the movie “Goosed” and had his first crack at starring in a sitcom with “Damon”, though the series lasted for just one season.
Following his role in the 2000 film “Bamboozled”, Wayans had another shot at the sitcom genre. This time around, he starred in “My Wife and Kids” which proved to be more successful, lasting for five seasons and more than 120 episodes. It was perfect for Wayans, who said “Sitcom is the best gig in show business because it’s easy hours, nine to five.” Since then, Wayans hasn’t appeared in film much (his last role being in the 2006 mockumentary “Farce of the Penguins”, but he’s been active in television.
Wayans had a TV movie and has made guest appearances in shows with “Happy Endings” and “Happy Together”, but has mostly been known for his work on “Lethal Weapon”. The series, which was adapted from the series of films, saw Wayans cast as Roger Murtaugh. The Fox version of “Lethal Weapon” aired for three seasons, coming to an end in 2019 after more than 50 episodes.
It was a surprise to many that it was Wayans himself that had ultimately brought an end to the show, saying that he was done. “I am going to be quitting the show in December (2018), after we finish the initial 13 (episodes),” he announced. “So, I really don’t know what they’re planning, but that’s what I’m planning. “I’m a 58 year old diabetic and I’m working 16 hour days.”
If you’ve been following Wayans over the recent years, he’s been active on the stand-up scene once again. “I tried to walk away from stand-up, but it’s been my therapy - my way of expressing anger, disappointments, and fears and celebrating my hopes,” Wayans said. “It helps to regulate my thought process.”
Comedy allows Wayans to set his own schedule, which is important at this juncture of his life, as he tries to “find my smile again,” adding that “It’s hard for me to play this loving, supporting father, husband, friend on TV, and be the guy in life that is telling everyone, ‘I can’t, I have to work.’ You have to look yourself in the eye and go, ‘Who are you?’ It can’t all be about work. I’m from a big family, a loving family. I haven’t seen them. All the family gatherings, I’m too tired or I can’t because it conflicts with work...I have seven grandkids. I’ve been missing recitals and graduations. To me, (acting is) just not worth it. There is a better way to live life.”