Mekhi Phifer

Mekhi Phifer

Mekhi Phifer proved himself as an actor many times over with iconic roles in everything from "8 Mile" (2002) to the medical drama "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009). Born in Harlem, New York, Phifer's single-parent household often struggled when it came to money. Though there were many young men in his orbit with aspirations to become hip-hop artists, Phifer rarely saw this path lead others to success, so he followed his instincts and pursued his drive to become an actor instead. He landed his first role as Ronald 'Strike' Dunham in Spike Lee's "Clockers" (1995), and it proved to be something of a breakthrough. He appeared in the comedy "High School High" (1996) the following year, which he quickly followed with roles in "Soul Food" (1997) and the horror hit "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" (1998). Mekhi earned major acclaim for his starring performance in "O" (2001), a modern take on Shakespeare's "Othello," and only enjoyed increased notoriety for his performance as Mitch, a character based on real life '80s drug kingpin Rich Porter in the crime drama "Paid in Full" (2002). Phifer next played rapper David 'Future' Porter in the Eminem biopic "8 Mile" the same year he joined the cast of the beloved medical drama "ER." He would stay with the series until it finally wrapped in 2008, though he would also continue to appear in feature films, memorably starring opposite then up-and-coming Jessica Alba in the dance movie "Honey" (2003). In 2004, Phifer appeared alongside Ving Rames and Sarah Polley in Zach Snyder's well-received remake of the classic zombie movie "Dawn of the Dead" (2004). The next year, he landed a recurring role on the massively acclaimed comedy series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000-). Phifer went on to join the cast of the crime drama series "Lie to Me" (Fox, 2009-2011), and later appeared in the popular YA movie "Divergent" (2014) in addition to playing the recurring role of Dre Collins on the third season of the acclaimed political drama "House of Cards" (Showtime, 2012-16). He appeared in a number of under-the-radar films during this time including "Chocolate City: Vegas" (2017), "A Talent for Trouble" (2018), "Canal Street" (2018), and "Obsession" (2019). In 2019, Phifer appeared with Octavia Spencer, Aaron Paul, and Lizzy Caplan in the thriller "Truth Be Told" (2019).