Faizon Love

African-American actor-comedian Faizon Love moved to New York City from his Newark, New Jersey upon graduating from high school. While still a student, Love was encouraged by an English teacher who invited the young man to perform before the class at the end of the day if his studies were in order. This fostering of his creativity led to bigger and better things for the performer, who landed a role in the Off-Broadway play "Bitter Heart Midtown" at the Harlem National Black Theatre within his first year in NYC. A modernized take on Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations," the play was a good start for the actor, who had an early TV appearance in an episode of the CBS series "WIOU" in 1990. In 1992, Love was called in to replace Robin Harris when the comedian died suddenly, providing a voice for the animated feature "Bebe's Kids." Love's career would hit an upswing when an assistant to actor-filmmaker Robert Townsend saw his comedy act and recommended him for a role in Townsend's 1993 superhero spoof "Meteor Man," beginning a long and fruitful partnership with the renowned comedic director. That same year he had a recurring role on the short-lived variety series "Townsend Television" (Fox). When Townsend launched his sitcom "The Parent 'Hood" on The WB in 1995, Love was there in a recurring role for the first partial season, playing Townsend's childhood friend and neighbor Wendell Wilcox, a role he took as a regular from the fall of 1995 through the series end in 1998. Often wrong-headed but right-hearted, Love's Wendell Wilcox was a persona that fit in well with the actor's appearance, comedic abilities and overwhelming charm. In 1995, he hit the big screen again, playing a dope-dealing ice cream man who is bent on collecting money owed him by smoked-out Smokey (Chris Tucker) in the comedy "Friday," starring Ice Cube. The following year saw the actor team up with Martin Lawrence for the comedy "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate," and in 1997 he was featured in Townsend's "B.A.P.S." as well as the action comedy "Money Talks," which reunited him with Tucker. A seemingly ubiquitous presence in popular African-American films, Love was directed by former co-star Ice Cube in his ambitious 1998 directorial debut "The Players Club" and had a supporting role as a stripper-obsessed street hustler who inadvertently gets his recently paroled friend (Brian Hooks) in a heap of trouble in the action comedy "3 Strikes" (2000). Love was also featured in "The Replacements" (2000), a comedy set during an NFL strike. Here he played a celebrity bodyguard turned football player, and reached a wider audience with his appropriately goofy portrayal. He also caught the attention of co-star Jon Favreau, who cast Love a supporting role as Horrace, Ruiz's (Sean Combs) muscle in "Made" (2001), writer-director Favreau's portrait of two dim-witted wannabe made men from L.A. (Favreau and Vince Vaughn) who get mixed up in real-life organized crime in New York City. Love's profile grew ever higher with his amusing and vanity-less appearance in the slick surfer chick flick "Blue Crush" (2002), playing a boisterous NFL player visiting Hawaii with an unexpected desire to learn how to surf. In "Wonderland" (2003) Love used his imposing frame to his advantage yet again in a variety of supporting bits, playing the ominous bodyguard of Los Angeles' real-life nightclub and drug kingpin Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian) in the flashy retelling of L.A.'s infamous Wonderland Avenue murders, tackling a role in "The Fighting Temptations" (2003) as a prison warden and reteaming with director Favreau to play the manager of a team of department store Santa's helpers in the holiday charmer "Elf" (2003).