Larenz Tate is an American actor best known for his role as the automotively monikered Ford Lincoln Mercury in the 1997 Kevin Costner film The Postman; and for his role as Bart "Black Shawn" Johnson on the television drama series Rescue Me, from 2007-2011.
Tate got his first acting job at a young age, appearing in a Christmas episode of The Twilight Zone. This appearance quickly led to guest-starring roles on series such as 21 Jump Street, The Wonder Years and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Shortly thereafter, Tate made his silver screen debut in Allen and Albert Hughes' cult classic film, Menace II Society, where his groundbreaking role as the unforgettable O-Dog allowed him to be recognized as one of Hollywood's most promising young actors.
The film led him to being cast in many other projects, including the feature comedy, The Inkwell and FOX's South Central. Later, Tate teamed up with the Hughes brothers once again for the gritty crime drama Dead Presidents.
Proving his acting diversity, Tate went on to star in the popular Love Jones opposite Nia Long. The film went on to win the Audience Award for Best Film at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. Tate's role also garnered a Best Actor nomination at the NAACP Image Awards.
Within a short period of time, his dedication to his craft had led him to one of his most challenging roles as the singing lothario Frankie Lymon, in the 1998 biopic Why Do Fools Fall in Love. The film also starred Halle Berry, Lela Rochon, and Vivica A. Fox. The role won Tate the Acapulco Black Film Festival award for Best Actor in 1999.
Tate prides himself on his ability to transform himself completely into each character he plays. He co-starred in the Academy Award recognized film Ray opposite Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington, where he portrayed legendary music producer and pop culture icon Quincy Jones.
No stranger to a large ensemble cast, Tate co-starred in the film Crash alongside the likes of Sandra Bullock, Terrence Howard and Matt Dillon. The film was lauded by the critics and won the 2005 Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast and 2005 Academy Award for Best Picture.
Returning to television, where he got his start, Tate starred in the series Blue Blood. The show, which was directed by Brett Ratner, had Larenz portraying a rookie NYPD cop.
Tate joined the cast of FX's drama Rescue Me in its fourth season. Rescue Me centers on the professional and personal lives of firefighters in post-9/11 New York, and stars Denis Leary.
Tate grew up on the Westside of Chicago with his two brothers and their parents. Family has been and will always be an important facet of his life.
United under a single cause of easing the pain of Sickle Cell Anemia, the Tate brothers have created an organization devoted to assisting and providing funds for children of colour living with the debilitating disease. The Tate Bros Foundation, a non-profit organization, was founded by Larenz and his brothers Larron and Lahmard.
Larenz Tate resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.