Childhood & Early Life
Terry Alan Crews was born on July 30, 1968, to Patricia and Terry Crews, Sr. in Flint, Michigan. He was brought up in a strict Christian family, largely by his mother as his father was alcoholic.
He attended the Flint Southwestern school, from where he obtained his high school diploma. A good student, he went on to attend the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan and received an art scholarship from the ‘Chrysler Corporation’.
Earning an ‘Art Excellence’ scholarship and as well as a full athletic scholarship for football, he attended the Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo, Michigan to major in art.
He was selected as a defensive end for the ‘WMU Broncos’ and earned an all-conference honors helping his team to win the ‘Mid-American Conference Championship’ in 1988.
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In 1996, he co-wrote and co-produced ‘Young boys Incorporated’, an independent film with an anti-drug message that was shot in Detroit. While the film drew on his own, as well as that of his family’s and friends’ observations and experiences, Crews admitted later that it was a “horrible” film. However, the experience of producing the film only served to whet his appetite.
While earlier Crews always wanted to be involved in some way in the film industry, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. In 1999, he obtained his first acting role after he successfully auditioned for the part of an athlete in ‘Battle Dome’, a syndicated game show.
The process of auditioning and winning the role after competing with other actor-athletes and his experience of performing in front of an audience playing the character of urban warrior ‘T-Money’ was addictive and Crews realized that he wanted to only act for the rest of his life.
Terry Crews got his first film role in 2000 when he landed a part in ‘The Sixth Day’, an American science fiction action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; the film flopped at the box office.
After his first role, Crews went jobless for the next couple of years but thereafter, got a steady stream of roles in films, music videos, and television commercials.
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His first big break came in 2002 when he got the opportunity of acting in ‘Friday After Next’ alongside Ice Cube, for whom Crews had previously worked as a bodyguard on the film sets.
His performance in the 2004 film ‘White Chicks’ was noticed by Adam Sandler who reworked a role in the 2005 film, ‘The Longest Yard’ to suit Crews after he has auditioned for another role in the same film.
He got good reviews and widespread public recognition for playing the role of Julius Rock in ‘Everybody Hates Chris’, a UPN/CW sitcom that had a successful run between 2005 and 2009.
In 2010, Crews starred along with his family in ‘The Family Crews’, a reality series about his life and family on ‘BET’. The show had its second season in 2011.
He lent his voice to animation films like ‘American Dad!’, and ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’.
He played the character of Nick Persons in ‘Are We There Yet?’, a ‘TBS’ sitcom that ran from 2010 to 2013.
He played the character of ‘NYPD’ Sergeant ‘Terry Jeffords’ in the sitcom ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ that featured an ensemble cast and had a very successful five-season run by ‘Fox’ after its premiere in 2013; in 2018, the series switched to ‘NBC’.
From 2014 to 2015, he was the host of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’, a syndicated game show.
In 2017, he was cast as an American host for ‘Ultimate Beastmaster’, a Netflix original show and also cast in ‘Sorry to Bother You, ‘a science fiction comedy film scheduled for release in 2018. He appeared in ‘Deadpool 2’, the superhero film, playing the character of ‘Bedlam’.
Personal Life & Legacy
Terry Crews married Rebecca, a Christian recording artist and former beauty queen, on July 29, 1990; the couple has five children: daughters Azriel, Tera, Wynfrey and Naomi Burton, and son Isaiah.
Crews released his autobiography, ‘Manhood: How to Be a Better Man or Just Live with One’ in 2014. In it, he made startling disclosures about his addiction to pornography that had seriously affected his life and marriage and how he was able to overcome it after entering rehab in 2009 and 2010
On October 10, 2017, Crews disclosed how he had been sexually assaulted in February 2016 by a top Hollywood executive but had not made it public for fear of retaliation. In November 2017, he filed a case against Adam Venit, the head of the talent company William Morris Endeavor’s motion picture department but was unsuccessful due to the statute of limitations coming into effect.
For bringing the details of his sexual assault into the public domain, ‘Time’ magazine named him as one of the ‘Silence Breakers’, the group nominated for the ‘Person of the Year Award’.