- Category : Actor
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Explanation 2
Irving Rameses "Ving" Rhames (born May 12, 1959) is a Golden Globe-winning American actor.
Rhames was born in New York City, New York to African-American parents Reatha, a homemaker, and Ernest Rhames, an auto mechanic. He was named after retired NBC journalist Irving R. Levine and grew up in Harlem, Manhattan. A good student, Ving entered New York's High School of Performing Arts, where he discovered his love of acting. After high school he studied drama at SUNY Purchase where he met fellow actor Stanley Tucci, who gave him his nickname "Ving". He later transferred to Juilliard, where he began his career in New York theater.
Rhames first appeared on Broadway in the play The Winter Boys in 1984. Ving continued his rise to fame through his work in soap operas. He found work as a supporting actor, and came to the attention of the general public in Pulp Fiction (1994) as Marsellus Wallace. Rhames also was getting public exposure on television as Peter Benton's brother on the medical drama ER, a recurring role he filled for 3 seasons. Not long after, Rhames was cast with Tom Cruise as the ace computer hacker Luther Stickell in Brian de Palma's Mission: Impossible (1996). With solid performances in two of these highly popular productions, his face was now known to moviegoers, and the work offers began rolling in more frequently.
Rhames won a Golden Globe in 1998 for best actor in a TV miniseries for his performance in HBO's Don King: Only in America. At the ceremony Rhames gave his award to fellow nominee Jack Lemmon, saying "I feel that being an artist is about giving, and I'd like to give this to you." Lemmon was clearly touched by the gesture as was the celebrity audience who gave Lemmon a standing ovation. Lemmon, who tried unsuccessfully to give the award back to Rhames said it was "...one of the sweetest moments I've ever known in my life." The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced later that they would have a duplicate award prepared for Rhames. That moment was #98 on E!'s 101 Awesome Moments in Entertainment.
Rhames contributed attention-grabbing performances in Striptease (1996 as the wisecracking bodyguard Shad), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), reprised his Luther Stickell role for Mission: Impossible II (2000), playing Johnnie Cochran in American Tragedy (2000), portraying a gay drag queen in the television movie Holiday Heart, contributed his deep bass voice for the character of Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch (2002) and the subsequent TV series, and played a stoic cop fighting cannibal zombie hordes in Dawn of the Dead (2004) and in the upcoming Day of the Dead 2007 remake. Rhames has also appeared in a series of television commercials for Radio Shack, usually performing with Vanessa L. Williams. A keen fitness and weight-lifting enthusiast, Rhames is also well known for his strong spiritual beliefs and benevolent attitude toward other people.
In March 2005, Rhames played the lead role on a new Kojak series, on the USA Network cable channel (and on ITV4 in the UK). The bald head, lollipops, and "Who loves ya, baby?" catchphrase remained intact, but little else remained from the Savalas original.
Rhames also voiced the part of Tobias Jones in the computer game DRIV3R. In 2006, Rhames reprised his role in Mission: Impossible III, making him the only actor besides Tom Cruise to appear in all three Mission: Impossible films, and was announced that he would have a role in the Aquaman based show Mercy Reef. In the integrating of The WB and UPN for the new network, CW, Mercy Reef was not picked up. It is an early contender for a midseason replacement, but currently no plans to air the series have been announced. Rhames played a homosexual, possibly also homicidal, firefighter who comes out of the closet in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry". The film includes a scene in which he sings "I'm Every Woman", naked, in a shower room full of other men.
Rhames, along with a production team, are looking into a project to film a biopic of the boxer, Sonny Liston.
Death of caretaker at Rhames' residence
On August 3, 2007, a caretaker at Rhames' Los Angeles home was found dead on the property after being mauled by dogs, authorities said. Four dogs were removed from the home after the attack, but police believe only two of them—both weighing about 200 pounds—were involved in the attack. A police spokesman said the victim, in his 40s and a caretaker at the residence for about two years, could have had a heart attack, since none of the wounds—on his arms and legs only—appear to have been life threatening. They speculate that he was possibly trying to get away from the dogs after a confrontation.
According to TMZ.com, police say the dogs are very friendly, and police are not aware of any previous problems. Los Angeles County ordinances limit homeowners to only three dogs per household without further permits. Rhames is not expected to have charges filed against him in what police called a "pure accident." Rhames wasn't home at the time of the incident because he was in Bulgaria shooting The Tournament.
Celebrity news site lalate.com reported that in a 1999 Los Angeles Times article Rhames was quoted as owning a "slave dog" at the time. "The dog was actually bred to guard slaves," Rhames said. "It was the only dog they found that had the temperament to guard a slave. It could be around you every day, but if you tried to run away, it would deal with you like it never saw you before." In that same article, the actor told the Times that he owned five mastiffs and later in a 2001 Time article, he said he owned eight Fila Brasileiro mastiffs, large, powerful dogs used by Marines in warfare.
On August 17, Coroners announced that although they aren't completely ruling it out, the victim most likely did not die from the abrasions and lacerations he sustained in the attack. Final results are due in about 6 weeks after a toxicology test can be completed. Forty-year-old Jacob Adams funeral was held on August 18.