In his nearly three-decade career, comedian and actor Chris Rock has appeared in a variety of films, had two Grammy-winning comedy albums and his own UPN comedy show. He also made a name for himself as an potent emcee, hosting the Academy Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards.
He first cut his teeth as a comedian while performing in New York clubs as a teenager. Growing up in Brooklyn as the eldest of six children, Rock was a high school dropout who took gigs working as a busboy and a hospital orderly to make ends meet. His first break came in 1986, when actor-comedian Eddie Murphy attended his show at Manhattan’s Comic Strip Club and gave him a spot on his HBO special, “Uptown Comedy Express” as well as a minor role in “Beverly Hills Cop II.”
The film role led to another small part (as the “rib joint customer”) in 1988’s “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” and appearances on the “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Soon, Rock had been noticed by “Saturday Night Live” executive producer Lorne Michaels, who hired him as a featured player on the show in 1990. He continued to make movies as well, including 1991's "New Jack City." After creating characters like talk-show host Nat X, Rock left “SNL” in 1993, the same year he joined the sketch show “In Living Color.”
Years later, his HBO comedy special “Bring the Pain” earned Rock two Emmy Awards. In 1997, he hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, released a comedy album, a book and starred opposite Chris Farley in “Beverly Hills Ninja.”
In 2005, he hosted the Academy Awards and served as the co-creator and executive producer of UPN’s series “Everybody Hates Chris,” which was based on his own childhood in Brooklyn.
Last year, in 2009, he wrote and starred in the documentary “Good Hair,” which is about the industry surrounding African American women’s hair. Most recently, he produced and starred in the film “Death at a Funeral” and stars opposite Adam Sandler and Kevin James in this summer’s “Grown Ups.”
In 1996, he married public relations executive Malaak Compton. The couple have two daughters.