Sayeed Shahidi is a child actor and model from America who has garnered fame for his roles in TV shows ‘The First Family’ and ‘Switched at Birth’. He has also appeared in several films, including ‘Alex Cross’, ‘The Last Fall’, and ‘The Sand Box’. A native of Minnesota, he relocated to California when he was two years old. Shahidi has always been interested in performing. In 2004, when he was a little over a year old, he made his screen debut in the short film ‘Till Death’. Five years later, he was cast to play the recurring character Bill in several episodes of ‘In the Motherhood’. Shahidi has worked with his older sister, actress Yara Shahidi, in multiple commercials, two TV shows, and a film.
Despite being the younger sibling, Sayeed Shahidi made his acting debut three years before Yara, in the 2004 short film ‘Till Death’, portraying a baby named Johnny. His first television appearance was in a 2008 episode of the ABC sitcom ‘Samantha Who?’ A year later, he started portraying Jessica St. Clair’s son in another ABC sitcom, ‘In the Motherhood.’ After airing only five episodes, the show was cancelled in June 2009. That year, Shahidi starred in his first TV film, James Widdoes’ ‘Bless This Mess’.
He made his cinematic debut in 2010 in the crime-drama ‘Unthinkable’. Also starring Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Michael Sheen, the film revolves around a black-ops interrogator and an F.B.I. agent who question a terror suspect about the whereabouts of three nuclear weapons set to go off in various locations in US. In 2011, he appeared in three season-seven episodes of the mystery comedy drama series ‘Desperate Housewives’. Between 2010 and 2011, he played the son of a fictitious US President in NBC’s science fiction thriller ‘The Event’. In 2011, he also guest-starred in Disney XD’s sitcom ‘Pair of Kings’ and ABC’s sitcom ‘Happy Endings’. In the telefilm ‘Rip City’, he portrayed a character called Dakota.
In 2012, he returned to the big screen in the drama film ‘The Last Fall’, playing Von Davis, the son of the female lead, Faith Davis (Nicole Beharie). He played Evan in the season eight episode ‘Blowing the Whistle’ of Fox’s medical drama series ‘House’.
Shahidi has shared screen space with his sister in numerous commercials. The first time they worked together in a Hollywood project was in Rob Cohen’s crime thriller ‘Alex Cross’ (2012). The siblings were cast as the children of the titular character, portrayed by Tyler Perry. They also played the roles of a brother and a sister in MyNetworkTV’s sitcom ‘The First Family’. After ‘The Event’, this was the second time that Shahidi played a member of the First Family of the United States of America. In 2016, he appeared in the 17th episode of season two of his sister’s show ‘Black-ish’.
In Jennifer Kramer’s 2016 drama ‘The Sand Box’, Shahidi portrayed a young boy attempting to re-forge his relationship with his Iraq-veteran father. He had a minor role in the 2016 parody telefilm ‘Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie’. Made by the production company Funny or Die, the film stars Johnny Depp as Donald Trump.
In ABC’s short-lived single-camera comedy television series ‘Uncle Buck’, Shahidi portrayed the nephew of the eponymous character (Mike Epps). The show was inspired by a 1989 comedy film of the same name, in which Epps’ character was played by the late John Candy. Shahidi’s character, Miles Russell, was portrayed by Macaulay Culkin. The show garnered generally negative reviews and was cancelled after eight episodes.
Between 2015 and 2017, he played Will Bishop in ABC’s teen family drama series ‘Switched at Birth’. The son of Marcus Paxton (Terrell Tilford) and Hope Paxton (Kim Hawthorne), Will moves from Georgia to Kansas City with his father without his mother’s knowledge. They both adopt new identities, so Hope cannot find them.
In 2017, he worked with Felicity Huffman, Courtney B. Vance, and Monique Green in Anton Cropper’s TV movie ‘Libby and Malcolm’. The film tells the story of the romantic relationship between two political pundits representing opposite sides.
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Family & Personal Life
Born on February 14, 2003, in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, Shahidi is one of the three children of cinematographer Afshin Shahidi and actress and producer Keri Shahidi. He is the middle child. Yara (born February 10, 2000) is three years older than him. He also has a younger brother named Ehsan. His father, Afshin, is Iranian American while his mother, Keri, is part African American and part Native Choctaw. The renowned hip-hop artist Nas is his second cousin.
The family relocated to Glendale, California for Afshin’s job when Shahidi was two years old. According to his mother, his name means “Blessing”. He is growing up surrounded by people who are active in the world of glamour. As a result, his own interest in performing developed quite naturally.