Evan Olav Næss, professionally known as Evan Ross, is an American actor and singer who has appeared in a number of successful films and television series since his debut in the film 'ATL'. He established himself as a competent actor with roles in films such as 'Life Support', 'Pride', 'According to Greta', 'Mooz-lum', '96 Minutes', 'All the Wilderness' and 'Supremacy'. He had recurring roles in TV shows like '90210' and 'Wicked City', and is scheduled to appear in the next season of the Fox series, 'Star'. He played the role of Messalla in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1' and Part 2. Despite being a celebrity in his own right, he is probably better known as the youngest child of renowned musician Diana Ross, the lead singer of ‘The Supremes’, an American female singing group. Following his mother's footsteps, he has also recorded a couple of singles, 'Yes Me' and 'How To Live Alone', and is working on his debut album. He is the brother-in-law of pop icon Jessica Simpson through his marriage to singer Ashlee Simpson, and has a two-year-old daughter with her.
Childhood & Early Life
Evan Ross was born on August 26, 1988 in Greenwich, Connecticut to Arne Næss Jr. and Diana Ross. His father was a Norwegian businessman, shipping magnate and mountaineer, and his mother, Diana Ross, is an entertainer who was the lead singer of the band the Supremes.
He has German and Norwegian ancestry from his father's side, while his mother is African-American. Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss was his paternal great-uncle. Arthur "T-Boy" Ross, who wrote hit songs for artists like Michael Jackson, was his maternal uncle.
He is the second child of his parents and has a brother named Ross Næss. His parents, who got married in 1986, divorced in 2000. He has three older half-sisters – Rhonda, Tracee and Chudney – from his mother's previous relationships, and one half-brother Christoffer and two half-sisters, Katinka and folk/pop singer Leona Naess, from his father's first marriage.
After divorcing his mother, his father married Camilla Astrup, with whom he had two sons, Nicklas and Louis. His father died in an accident during a mountaineering expedition in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2004.
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Evan Ross began his career as an actor in March 2006, appearing alongside rappers T.I. and Big Boi in the American comedy-drama film 'ATL', while he was still studying at Greenwich High School. Prior to his film debut, he had appeared in the music video for the song, 'Nasty Girl', by The Notorious B.I.G.
In 2007, he acted in the Queen Latifah starrer HBO television film 'Life Support', in which his performance as the troubled teenager Amare McCarter was well received by critics. In the movie, his real-life half-sister, Tracee Ellis Ross, played the role of his older sister.
He appeared in the 2007 biographical film 'Pride', portraying the good-natured teen with a speech impediment. The following year, he appeared in the episode 'What's Black-A-Lackin'?' in his sister Tracee's The CW television series, 'Girlfriends'.
He had a major role in the 2008 drama film 'Gardens of the Night' and appeared alongside Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the thriller 'Linewatch' the same year.
In 2009, he played Romeo, the lead character of the crime-drama film 'Life Is Hot in Cracktown' and appeared opposite Hilary Duff in the comedy-drama film, 'According to Greta'. He then appeared in the music video for 'Just Go' by Lionel Richie.
In 2010, he was cast as a recurring character in the third season of The CW teen drama series '90210', and appeared in the drama film 'Case 219'. That year, he co-starred alongside Danny Glover and Nia Long in the critically acclaimed independent film 'Mooz-lum', which depicted how an African American Muslim family is affected by the September 11 attacks.
He won the 'Breakthrough Performance' award at the SXSW Film Festival for his performance in the thriller '96 Minutes', which also starred Brittany Snow. His other film and television credits that year included the comedy-drama film 'The Family Tree' and the pilot episode of the television series 'Luck'.
He appeared in a short role in only one film in 2012, the comedy-drama film 'Jeff, Who Lives at Home', starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms. The following year, he was cast as music producer Dallas Austin in the VH1 biographical telefilm 'CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story', which was based on the 1990s Atlanta girl group TLC.
2014 saw him appearing in a number of films including the drama 'All the Wilderness', the black comedy 'Just Before I Go', and the thriller 'Supremacy'. The first one was received with positive reviews by critics, while the latter two failed to impress both the critics and the audience.
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He was cast in the role of Messalla in the 2014 dystopian science fiction adventure film, 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1', featuring an ensemble cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. The next year, he reprised his role in the second part of the film, which was the final installment of 'The Hunger Games' series, based on Suzanne Collins' novel trilogy of the same name.
He replaced Darrell Britt-Gibson in the role of Diver Hawkes, a crime scene paparazzo, in the ABC crime drama series 'Wicked City', which started airing in October 2015. He has been cast in a recurring role in the second season of Fox's drama series 'Star', and is slated to appear in the upcoming films 'Buckout Road' and 'HeadShop'.
The son of a renowned singer, Evan Ross decided to work on his debut R&B and pop album in 2007. The first single from the album, 'Yes Me', was released four years later on February 25, 2011 and featured lyrics by him and the producer of the single, Tony DeNiro.
The preview of his next song, 'How To Live Alone', was released via his Instagram account on December 5, 2014. The full single was released the following year, on May 14, and featured rapper T.I.
One of the first major performances by Evan Ross was in the telefilm 'Life Support', for which he was nominated for a 'NAACP Image Award' in 2007. His other significant works include 'ATL', 'Pride', 'According to Greta', 'Mooz-lum', '96 Minutes' and 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1' and Part 2.
Awards & Achievements
In 2011, Evan Ross won the 'Competition Award for Breakthrough Performance' at SXSW for his film '96 Minutes’. The same year he was nominated for a 'Black Reel Award' in the category 'Best Actor' for his performance in 'Mooz-lum'.
Personal Life & Legacy
Evan Ross started dating singer Ashlee Simpson, younger sister of pop singer and actress Jessica Simpson, in July 2013. The two got engaged in January 2014 and subsequently married on August 30, 2014, with the ceremony being hosted in Connecticut, at his mother's estate.
They welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Jagger Snow Ross, on July 30, 2015. He is also the step father of Bronx Mowgli Wentz, Simpson's son from previous marriage to musician Pete Wentz.
Following her wedding to Evan Ross, Ashlee Simpson took his last name Næss. In December 2014, both of them filed requests to legally change their surname to Ross-Næss.