Date of Birth: March 4, 1960
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Mykelti Williamson is an African-American actor of part Blackfoot descent. His first name Mykelti (pronounced Michael Tee) means "Spirit/Silent Friend" in the Native language. Raised by his mother after his father abandoned his family, including an older brother and younger sister, Mykelti moved to places like Memphis and Phoenix, settling in Los Angeles after his mother remarried.
Spending most of his childhood in Los Angeles, he became the youngest dancer with the nationally renowned dance troupe, The Lockers. The group provided him with his first professional job in show business, dancing as a member of The Lockers troupe in the stage version of Soul Train. After one audition for a spot on the television series Starsky and Hutch, he landed the small role. With his first screen credit out of the way, Williamson spent the 1980s bouncing from one short-lived series to another, including Righteous Apples, Bay City Blues, Cover-Up, The Bronx Zoo, before hooking on as recurring characters on Midnight Caller, and WKRP in Cincinnati.
Although Mykelti appeared in feature films such as Wildcats (1986), Number One with a Bullet (1987), Miracle Mile (1989) and Free Willy (1993), he wouldn't get the recognition he deserved until 1994 when he landed the part of Benjamin "Bubba" Bufford-Blue in the blockbuster film, Forrest Gump. As the thick lower-lipped, shrimp-expert friend to Forrest, who dies in Gump's arms during a battle in Vietnam, Mykelti's stock in Hollywood rose.
Despite the grand exposure he received in Forrest Gump, he wasn't catapulted into star status. Starring roles in Waiting to Exhale (1995), How to Make an American Quilt (1995) and Con Air (1997) ended his reign of major character playing as he spent the rest of the 20th century in relatively minor roles in films like Primary Colors (1998), and Three Kings (1999). In 2000, he played Lt. Gerard in the television remake of the popular series The Fugitive, then returned to the big screen with a major role playing Don King in Ali (2001) starring Will Smith.
Though The Fugitive lasted only one season, Mykelti picked up another recurring role in the NBC TV series Boomtown in 2002 playing Detective Smith and in 2007 playing Chief Brigham Sinclair in CSI: NY. He also appeared in After the Sunset (2004), alongside Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek and in 2010, Williamson joined the cast of the hit series 24. Next he landed a recurring role as Ellstin Limehouse on the series Justified and as "Paranoid" in the film High School (2012), a comedy about a student who tries to get all his classmates high.
He followed this up with appearances in the films Hollows Grove (2014), Convergence (2015) and The Purge: Election Year (2016), and the TV series Hawaii Five-O and Underground.
In addition, he worked with Denzel Washington on the drama Fences (2016), playing his younger brother in the film, based on a play by August Wilson.
In recent years, he's played recurring roles on TV shows such as Designated Survivor (2016-2017), Chicago P.D. (2017-2018), and Lethal Weapon (2018-2019).
Married three times, Mykelti is married to third wife, actress Sondra Spriggs, with whom he has two daughters. He also has a daughter with his second wife, Cheryl Chisholm.
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
You Bury Your Own (2015)
Hollows Grove (2014)
High School (2012)
The Final Destination (2009)
Black Dynamite (2009)
Ball Don't Lie (2008)
August Rush (2007)
Spinning Into Butter (2006)
After the Sunset (2004)
Our America (2002)
Three Kings (1999)
Species II (1998)
Primary Colors (1998)
Double Tap (1997)
Con Air (1997)
Truth or Consequences, N.M. (1997)
How to Make an American Quilt (1995)
Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995)
Waiting to Exhale (1995)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Free Willy (1993)
The First Power (1990)
Miracle Mile (1989)
Number One with a Bullet (1987)
You Talkin' to Me? (1987)
Streets of Fire (1984)