Chris Tucker

Christopher Tucker (born August 31, 1971) is an American actor and comedian. He made his debut as a stand-up performer on the HBO series Def Comedy Jam, frequently appearing on the show throughout the 1990s. He came to recognition appearing in the comedy film Friday, which earned him three MTV Movie Award nominations. He subsequently rose to prominence with roles in the films The Fifth Element, Money Talks, Jackie Brown, and later became known for playing Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour film series, for which he received several accolades, and garnered a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for working in Silver Linings Playbook.

Chris Tucker
Tucker in 2019
Birth nameChristopher Tucker
Born (1971-08-31) August 31, 1971[1]
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
MediumStand-up, film, television
Years active1992–present
SpouseAzja Pryor (1997–2003)

Early life and education

Christopher Tucker was born on August 31, 1971[2][3][4] in Atlanta, Georgia, the youngest son of Mary Louise (née Bryant) and Norris Tucker.[3] One of six children, Tucker learned early in life that humor had the power to draw attention to himself both at school and at home.[5] His father was an independent businessman who owned a janitorial service.[6][7] Tucker grew up in Decatur, Georgia, and after graduating from Columbia High School, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy and acting. His early comedy influences were Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, and he was known by his teachers and high school classmates for making people laugh by doing impressions of Murphy, Michael Jackson, and others.[8] Tucker grew up in a Pentecostal Christian household, as his parents were members of the Church of God in Christ during his childhood.


Tucker in 2000

Tucker began showcasing his comedy skills before an audience in local Atlanta comedy clubs until he decided to move to Los Angeles at 19 to further pursue his stand-up comedy career.[9] In 1992, Tucker was a frequent performer on Def Comedy Jam.[10] He made his cinematic debut in House Party 3[11] and gained greater film recognition alongside rapper Ice Cube in the 1995 film Friday.[11] In 1997, he co-starred with Charlie Sheen in Money Talks and alongside Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element. Also in 1997, he played a supporting role in Jackie Brown. Double-O-Soul was a spy comedy in which Tucker had a starring role, but the film was never released.[12]

Along with Jackie Chan, Tucker starred in the 1998 martial arts action comedy Rush Hour and its sequels Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3, in which he played LAPD detective James Carter. After the commercial success of the first Rush Hour, he held out for a $20 million salary for Rush Hour 2, and was paid $25 million for Rush Hour 3.[13] The latter was part of a $40 million two-movie contract with New Line Cinema that also included an unnamed future film. He was also to receive 20% of the gross from Rush Hour 3.[14]

Tucker did not reprise his role as Smokey in Next Friday (2000) or in Friday After Next (2002) because he claims that he was never paid for Friday.[15] He starred in Michael Jackson's video "You Rock My World" and made a cameo appearance in Tupac Shakur's "California Love".[16] On February 13, 1999, Tucker participated in the NBA All-Star Weekend's Celebrity Game. Other celebrities participating included rapper Master P, NBA Hall of Famers Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins, wide receiver Terrell Owens, and four Harlem Globetrotters.

Tucker was announced in 2007 to star in the New Line drama film Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra, directed by Brett Ratner and based on George Jacobs's autobiography of working as Frank Sinatra's valet during the Rat Pack era of 1953–68.[17]

In 2011, Tucker made a comeback to stand-up comedy. The next year, he returned to film in Silver Linings Playbook, co-starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro. Tucker's performance in the film was well received by critics and audiences alike. The film itself received numerous nominations and awards including the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast. He also hosted the 2013 BET Awards. In 2016, he appeared in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.

Personal life

Tucker has a son named Destin with his ex-wife Azja Pryor.[18] He divides his time among Bel Air, Las Vegas, and Atlanta.

In 2002, Tucker flew on the Lolita Express alongside Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, Kevin Spacey and Bill Clinton as part of a humanitarian trip to Africa where Clinton raised awareness around HIV/AIDS.[19][20] Tucker also appeared in Epstein's contact book.[21]

Tucker is good friends with fellow Rush Hour co-star Jackie Chan. He was also close with singer Michael Jackson: introducing and dancing with him at his 30th Anniversary Celebration; appearing in his video "You Rock My World" from the 2001 album Invincible; and attending his memorial service. Tucker's career was also influenced by Jackson, as he is seen dancing and singing to "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" in a scene in Rush Hour 2 and imitating Jackson's dancing style in Friday. He endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries.[22][23]

Tucker participated in professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s 2006 PBS documentary on the genetic makeup of African Americans, African American Lives, that specifically focused on stories of Native American heritage in African-American communities. Tucker's DNA test results showed African, European, and "likely some Native American" ancestors.[24] Tucker's patrilineal ancestry was also traced back to the Ambundu ethnic group of Angola and one line of his mother's to the Bamileke of Cameroon.[25][26][27] He also traced his family tree back to the 1830s.[28] Tucker and Gates were shown visiting Angola, the birthplace of some of his ancestors.[29]

In 2014, Tucker settled a $2.5 million tax debt. A representative blamed "poor accounting and business management".[30]

Also in 2014, Tucker told an interviewer that he refrains from using harsh profanity in his performances due to his Christian faith.[31]



Year Film Role Notes
1993 The Meteor Man MC in mall Uncredited
1994House Party 3Johnny Booze
1995FridaySmokeyNominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (with Ice Cube)
Dead PresidentsSkip
1997The Fifth ElementRuby RhodNominated – Razzie Award for Worst New Star
Money TalksFranklin Hatchett
Jackie BrownBeaumont Livingston
1998Rush HourDetective James CarterBlockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Duo – Action/Adventure (with Jackie Chan)
MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (with Jackie Chan)
Nominated – Image Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Kids Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Actor
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (with Jackie Chan)
2001Rush Hour 2Kids Choice Awards for Favorite Movie Actor
Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor - Comedy
MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (with Jackie Chan)
Nominated – BET Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Kids Choice Awards for Favorite Male Butt Kicker
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Sequence
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (with Jackie Chan)
Nominated – Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie: Chemistry (with Jackie Chan)
2007Rush Hour 3Nominated – People's Choice Award for Favorite On-Screen Match-up (with Jackie Chan)
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (with Jackie Chan and Sun Mingming)
2012 Silver Linings Playbook Danny McDanielsBroadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2016Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkAlbert


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Hangin' with Mr. Cooper Rapper Episode: "Please Pass the Jock"
Def Comedy Jam Himself 2 episodes
2001 32nd NAACP Image Awards Host TV special
Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration Himself Guest
Diary Episode: "What About Me?"
2002 33rd NAACP Image Awards Host TV special
2005 36th NAACP Image Awards TV special
2006 African American Lives Himself 4 episodes
2013 BET Awards 2013 Host TV special
2015Chris Tucker – LiveHimselfNetflix Exclusive Standup Special[32]
2020 2nd Annual Urban One Honors Co-Host TV special
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich Himself Archive footage

Music videos

Year Title Artist
1994 "Nuttin' But Love (Heavy D)" Heavy D & the Boyz
1995 "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" Dr. Dre
"California Love" Tupac Shakur featuring Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman
1997 "Feel So Good" Mase
2001 "You Rock My World" Michael Jackson
2005 "Shake It Off" Mariah Carey


  2. Stated on African American Lives, 2006
  3. Gates, Jr., Henry Louis (January 2009). In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary Blacks Reclaimed Their Past. Crown. p. 397. ISBN 978-0-307-38240-5.
  4. "Bio - Chris Tucker Actor, Comedian, Humanitarian Chris Tucker". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016. Official Bio
  5. "Tucker's early life". Archived from the original on March 29, 2019.
  6. Chris Tucker Biography – Yahoo! Movies. Archived October 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. Chris Tucker Biography Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  8. Abbey, C. D. (Ed.) (2001). Biography today: Profiles of people of interest to young readers. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  9. Oblender, D. G.; Phelps, S.; Rubiner, J.; Pendergast, S. (2008). "Chris Tucker". Contemporary Black Biography. 62: 144–147.
  10. mirobo1 Added (August 31, 2006). "Def Comedy Jam on". Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  11. Chris Tucker at IMDb
  12. Who's Who in America (68th ed.). Berkeley Heights, NJ: Marquis Who's Who. 2013.
  13. Grossberg, Josh. "Chris Tucker's Taxing Situation" Archived July 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, E! News, July 28, 2010
  14. "Chris Tucker signs onto Brett Ratner's Rush Hour 3" Archived August 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., May 5, 2005. Retrieved August 5, 2007.
  15. "Chris Tucker Opted out of 'Next Friday' Because Ice Cube Didn't Pay for 'Friday'". Vlad TV. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  16. You Rock My World at IMDb
  17. Giles, Jeff. "Chris Tucker, Brett Ratner Reteam for Sinatra" Archived November 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Rotten Tomatoes, September 20, 2007.
  18. Falcone, Dana Rose (May 21, 2019). "Family Night Out! Chris Tucker Brings Lookalike Son to Quentin Tarantino's Cannes Premiere". People.
  19. K. Raymond, Adam (January 9, 2020). "Photos Emerge of Bill Clinton Aboard Jeffrey Epstein's 'Lolita Express'". The Cut. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  20. Cranley, Ellen (July 7, 2019). "Financier Jeffrey Epstein once flew Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey to Africa". Business Insider. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  21. Coylar, Brock; Hurwitz, Kelsey; Klein, Charlotte; Kweku, Ezekiel; Larocca, Amy; Martins, Yinka; K. Raymond, Adam; Schneier, Matthew; Staib, Matt; D. Walsh, James (July 22, 2019). "Who Was Jeffrey Epstein Calling? A close study of his circle — social, professional, transactional — reveals a damning portrait of elite New York". New York. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  22. Nedra Pickler (January 22, 2008). "Obama sees rock-star power in action". Yahoo! News. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  23. Candace Newson (January 26, 2008). "On the trail: Stars talk politics, endorsements as they 'stand for change' with Obama". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
  24. Richard Willing (February 1, 2006). "DNA rewrites history for African-Americans". USA Today. Retrieved August 5, 2008.
  25. "African Ancestry & DNA Tests: The Results" Archived March 6, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. Kam Williams. "Chris Tucker 'Rush Hour 3' Interview with Kam Williams".
  27. "Chris Tucker and Brett Ratner". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on December 31, 2008.
  28. African Ancestry & DNA Tests Archived December 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. Oprah, Bishop Jakes, Chris Tucker Trace Roots On PBS Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. January 31, 2006. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  30. Duke, Alan (September 1, 2014). "Chris Tucker settles huge tax bill; poor management blamed for IRS lien". CNN. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  31. MacPherson, Guy (July 23, 2014). "Faith keeps Chris Tucker's comedy clean". The Georgia Straight.
  32. "Chris Tucker Live".
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