Lyriq Bent is a Jamaican-Canadian actor who has garnered fame for portraying Daniel Rigg in the ‘Saw’ cinematic franchise, Franklin Joseph "Frank" Best in Global/ABC’s police drama series ‘Rookie Blue’, and Chekura Tiano in the CBC/BET miniseries ‘The Book of Negroes’. A Kingston native, Bent was raised in Toronto and later studied at Seneca College in North York. He made his screen debut in 2000 in an episode of the syndicated action-adventure series ‘Relic Hunter’. His cinematic debut came a year later in the musical drama ‘The Caveman’s Valentine’. He drew significant attention after playing the recurring character Sergeant Danny Blackstone in Showtime’s drama series ‘Street Time’. In the ensuing years, he has emerged as a prominent actor who is equally active on both the big and small screens. In 2016, Bent won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Limited Series for ‘The Book of Negroes’. He is also a producer and writer. In 2010, ‘Perception’, a short film that was written by him, was released. He produced the telefilm ‘Group Home’ and executive-produced the drama film ‘Astronaut’.
In 2000, Lyriq Bent appeared on the small screen for the first time in a season-two episode of ‘Relic Hunter’. In the following year, he appeared in his first film, Kasi Lemmons’ directorial venture ‘The Caveman’s Valentine’, portraying a seraph dancer. In 2002, his outing as Sergeant Danny Blackstone in three episodes of ‘Street Time’ helped him find solid footing in the industry. He portrayed other recurring characters in shows like ‘Platinum’ (2003), ‘Playmakers’ (2003), and ‘Kevin Hill’ (2004-05). In 2006, he was part of the main cast of the Lifetime crime-drama series ‘Angela’s Eyes’.
The first ‘Saw’ film he worked in was ‘Saw II’, which was released in 2005. He then went on to appear in the next two films in the franchise, ‘Saw III’ (2006) and ‘Saw IV’ (2007). His character, Officer Daniel Rigg, is a SWAT commander who helps the detectives apprehend Jigsaw and later becomes one of his victims.
In 2006, he was part of the cast of the horror-action film ‘Skinwalkers’. Between 2008 and 2009, he appeared in seven episodes of the CBC sitcom ‘Sophie’. In the first four seasons (2010-13) of ‘Rookie Blue’, he starred as Franklin Joseph "Frank" Best, a divorced training officer who later becomes the staff sergeant. In 2014, Bent made a guest appearance in the show’s season-five premiere.
In 2009, he shared screen space with Woody Harrelson, Kat Dennings, and Sandra Oh in the Canadian superhero comedy film ‘Defendor’. In 2014, he worked in two back-to-back telefilms, ‘Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B’ and ‘A Day Late and a Dollar Short’. Bent portrayed Chekura Tiano, a West African slave who falls in love with and marries the protagonist, Aminata Diallo, in the miniseries ‘The Book of Negroes’ (2015). Directed by Clement Virgo, the series was adapted from Lawrence Hill’s 2007 novel of the same name.
In 2016, he appeared in the short-lived CBC Television political and crime drama series ‘Shoot the Messenger’. A year later, he played Detective Frank Gaines in Global’s black comedy drama series ‘Mary Kills People’. Bent starred opposite Taraji P. Henson in the 2018 psychological thriller film ‘Acrimony’. He was a member of the main cast of Spike Lee’s Netflix series ‘She's Gotta Have It’ (2017-19).
Bent wrote the screenplay for the 2010 drama short ‘Perception’, in which he also portrayed the main protagonist, a father who must learn how to be a single parent to his children following the death of his wife. In 2016, he produced and starred in the telefilm ‘Group Home’. That year, he also produced the short film ‘The Choir’. He served as an executive producer on writer-director Shelagh McLeod’s 2018 drama film ‘Astronaut’, in which he got the chance to work with veteran actor Richard Dreyfuss. Bent is executive-producing and starring in the upcoming thriller film ‘Last Chance’.
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Family & Personal Life
Born on January 3, 1979, in Kingston, Jamaica, Lyriq Bent relocated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada with his family when he was six years old. Through his father, he is related to several musicians and Bent cites that to be the reason for his unusual name. After graduating from Seneca College in North York, he had a regular job. However, the company started downsizing, and he was eventually fired. He did not have any money and had to take a job as a long-distance salesman. He was feeling miserable as he did not like socializing with other people or put on a fake smile on his face, both of which the job required. Everywhere he went, people enquired if he was an actor or model. One of his co-workers, who often travelled with him on the route, repeatedly insisted that Bent should enrol in a class hosted by an acting teacher he knew. One day, Bent made a bet with this co-worker that if the latter made more money than him by the end of the day, he would heed his advice. The co-worker won the bet, and Bent’s journey to stardom began.
Reortedly, Lyriq Bent has been married since 2008 and has two sons.