Laurence John Fishburne III (born July 30, 1961) is an American actor of screen and stage, as well as a playwright, director, and producer. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Morpheus in the Matrix science fiction film trilogy, and as singer-musician Ike Turner in the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It. He became the first African American to portray Othello in a motion picture by a major studio when he appeared in Oliver Parker's 1995 film adaption of the Shakespearean play. Currently, he stars as Dr. Raymond Langston on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Fishburne was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of Hattie Bell (née Crawford), a junior high school mathematics and science teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer. His parents divorced during his childhood and he moved with his mother to Brooklyn, New York, where he was raised. Fishburne's father saw him once a month. He is a graduate of Lincoln Square Academy in New York, which closed in the 1980s.
Fishburne started acting at age twelve, getting his first job in 1973 as a short-lived member of the Mod Squad followed by portraying Joshua Hall on the ABC soap opera, One Life to Live. He was initially cast in the hit television series Good Times, but the role was eventually given to Ralph Carter. Fishburne's most memorable childhood role was in Cornbread, Earl and Me in which he played a young boy who witnessed the police shooting of a popular high school basketball star. Fishburne later earned a supporting role in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, in which he played a 17-year-old sailor nicknamed 'Mr. Clean'. When production began in March 1976 he was just fourteen, apparently lying about his age to get the part. Filming took so long that he was already seventeen upon its completion.
Fishburne spent much of the 1980s in and out of television and periodically on stage. In the early 80s Fishburne had a minor role in the critically acclaimed Steven Spielberg film The Color Purple. Fishburne had a recurring role as Cowboy Curtis with Paul Reubens' character, Pee Wee Herman in the CBS children's television show, Pee-wee's Playhouse. He also appeared in the M*A*S*H episode, "The Tooth Shall Set You Free", as Corporal Dorsey (billed as Larry Fishburne in the credits). In Spenser: For Hire, he was a guest star for the 2nd Season Episode "Demons". He appeared as 'Cutter' (a thug) in Death Wish 2 (1982). His stage work during the 1980s included Short Eyes (1984), and Loose Ends (1987), both produced at Second Stage Theatre in New York City. Also in 1987 he played a part in the third Nightmare On Elm Street film as a hospital orderly. Fishburne played "Dap" in Spike Lee's School Daze (1988). Offering a riveting performance, Fishburne's character was the depiction of an African American, culturally inclined college student at an HBCU (Historically Black College/University).
In 1990 he played Jimmy Jump in the controversial King of New York, and in 1991, Fishburne starred in Boyz n the Hood. The following year, in 1992, he won a Tony Award for his stage performance in the August Wilson play, Two Trains Running and an Emmy Award for his performance in the opening episode, "The Box," of the short-lived anthology series television drama TriBeCa. In 1993, he received his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Ike Turner in What's Love Got to Do With It. He played the title role in Othello, the second African American actor,behind Paul Robeson to be so cast. In 1997 Fishburne starred in the science fiction horror Event Horizon alongside Sam Neill. Fishburne is perhaps best known for his role as Morpheus, the hacker-mentor of Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, in the 1999 blockbuster science fiction film, The Matrix.
Fishburne reprised his role as Morpheus in the Matrix sequels, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions in 2003. He briefly featured as a stretcher-bearer in one version of the video for The Spooks' song "Things I've Seen" (2000) and appeared with Tom Cruise as Theodore Brassell, IMF superior of Cruise's character in Mission: Impossible III.
Fishburne has worked with actress Angela Bassett on four projects. He said that "An electrifying thing happens when the two of us work together. I haven’t experienced it with anyone else. A freedom happens when we work together."[cite this quote] In 2006 they appeared onstage in a Pasadena Playhouse production of August Wilson's Fences.
He provided the voice of the narrator in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) movie, which was released on March 23, 2007. The same year, he provided the voice of the Silver Surfer in 2007 film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
On February 24, 2007, Fishburne was honored with the Harvard Foundation's Artist of the Year award at the annual show Cultural Rhythms. He received this honor for his prowess as an actor and entertainer and for his humanitarian pursuits. Fishburne is a UNICEF ambassador. The mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mayor Kenneth Reeves awarded him the key to the city and declared February 24, “Laurence Fishburne” day in the city of Cambridge. 
In April 2008, Fishburne returned to the stage in the Broadway production of Thurgood, a new play by George Stevens, Jr. Thurgood opened at the Booth Theatre on April 30, 2008. He won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show for his performance.
On August 18, 2008, it was reported that Laurence Fishburne would join the cast of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation after William Petersen (aka Gil Grissom) left the series. John Malkovich was also considered for the role prior to the announcement. Fishburne joined the show on the ninth episode of the 9th season as a college professor and former pathologist whose area of expertise involves some criminals' predisposition to commit acts of violence. The character was introduced as a consultant on a case ("19 Down"), who winds up joining the CSI team ("One to Go").
Fishburne married actress Hajna O. Moss in 1985, in New York. They have two children together: a son, Langston, born in 1987, and a daughter, Montana, born in 1991, a pornographic actress. Fishburne is now married to actress Gina Torres, whom he wed on September 22, 2002. They have a child, Delilah (born in 2007), and live in Hollywood. He also maintains a residence in New York City, in the Castle Village Co-Op in the Hudson Heights section of Washington Heights. Fishburne is a big fan of Paulo Coelho and plans to produce a movie based on the novel, The Alchemist.
Stage and screen credits