Omar Benson Miller
Though imposing in stature, actor Omar Benson Miller was best known for playing kindly giants in features like "The Miracle at St. Anna" (2009) and on series like "CSI: Miami" (CBS, 2003-2012) and "Ballers" (HBO, 2015-). Born in Anaheim, California, Miller's initial interest lay in sports, but found his way to acting through a teacher, who saw that Miller's discipline for athletic pursuits had flagged. Another teacher introduced him to representation, and Miller began making appearances in minor roles in features and on television. His official big break came as Eminem's friend Sol George in Curtis Hanson's "8 Mile" (2003), which led to steady work as a character player in features like the 50 Cent vehicle "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" (2005) and "Things We Lost in the Fire" (2007). Cast frequently as gentle giants due to his 6'6" height, Miller found a stellar showcase for that character in Spike Lee's World War II drama, "The Miracle at St. Anna," which cast him as a child-like Army private who protected both an orphaned Italian boy and the head of a statue he believed to possess magical powers. That same year, he also played Jack Buckley, an amalgam of Syracuse University football players John Mackey and John Brown, who played with college legend Ernie Davis, in "The Express" (2008). Though neither film was a box office success, the exposure afforded by major roles in two feature films led to Miller's casting on "CSI: Miami" as big-hearted investigator Walter Simmons in the crime drama's eighth season. He remained with "CSI" through its final two seasons while also contributing guest turns to features and series, including "The Sorceror's Apprentice" (2010) and the Jason Statham starrer "Homefront" (2013). In 2015, he returned to series regular work as a retired football player who struggles with life off the field in "Ballers." While busy with the Dwayne Johnson comedy-drama, Miller expanded his resume to include television host with the Tennis Channel series "Advantage Omar" (2017-) and voice-over work on "Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Nickelodeon, 2018-), for which he was cast as the eldest - and biggest - of the reptilian crimefighters.