Jussie Smollett is a former child actor who made his acting debut in 1987. He began with commercials and then movies. In 1992, he played Terry Hall in the comedy-drama film The Mighty Ducks and as Adam in Rob Reiner’s 1994 movie North, which also stars Elijah Woods.
In 2015, he gained international attention recognition and critical reviews for playing Jamal Lyon in Empire (Fox drama series). Smollett played Ricks in Ridley Scott’s science fiction film Alien: Covenant and as Langston Hughes in Marshall.
Jussie Smollett Started As A Child Actor
Smollett was born in Santa Rosa, California on the 21st day of June 1982. He is an alumnus of Calabasas High School and Malibu High School. He began acting as a child appearing first in commercials before making his first film appearance in the 1992 movie The Mighty Ducks as Terry Hall. In 1994, he played Adam in Rob Reiner’s 1994 movie North.
Between 1994 and 1995, he starred in an ABC sitcom On Our Own, alongside his real-life siblings. In 2012, he got a lead role in an LGBT-themed comedy-drama The Skinny, which was directed by Patrik-Ian Polk. Later that year, he made a guest appearance on the romantic comedy series The Mindy Project.
Breakthrough with Empire and Continued Success
In 2014, he starred in the Fox drama series, Empire alongside Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. Jussie Smollett portrayed the character of Jamal Lyon – a gay musician who had to struggle so much to gain his father’s approval and support. That same year, he starred in the TV series Revenge.
In 2015, Smollett appeared as guest-star the TV show Underground, alongside his younger sister, Jurnee Smollett-Bell. The series was aired in 2016.
Not many people are aware that Jussie is also a talented singer. In 2012, he released an EP entitled The Poisoned Hearts Club and two years later, signed a contract with Columbia Records, stating that he will soon be releasing an album under the records pretty soon. He co-wrote the songs “I Wanna Love You” and “You’re So Beautiful” on the Original Soundtrack from Season 1 of Empire album.
He Comes From A Family Of Talented Entertainers
His parents are Janet and Joel Smollett. His father is Jewish with Russian and Polish heritage and his mom Janet is an African-American. Perhaps most importantly, Janet Smollett is considered the first and primary acting coach of her children, having introduced them to different forms of performance arts, including acting, singing, and dancing.
Jussie has five siblings; three brothers and two sisters. All the Smollett siblings once starred in the sitcom, On Our Own. Jojo Smollett, the oldest of the siblings is an actor and producer. Born in 1977 in New York City, he worked on The Practice (1997), City of Hope (1991), and Last Breeze of Summer (1991). Jurnee Smollett-Bell is also an actress. She has starred in projects like Parenthood, Underground, and True Blood. Her most recent work is her role in the 2020 American super-hero film Birds of Prey.
Jake Smollet is also an actor and chef. His first appearance was as a kid diaper model. He starred in the sitcom Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and in the ABC sitcom, On Our Own alongside his five siblings. He occasionally appears as a guest judge on Food Network’s Chopped Junior. Jazz Smollett is part of a production company established by Juree and Jussie. Jocqui Smollett is the only one not fully involved in showbiz anymore as he works at a
In 2019, Smollett Was Caught In The Middle Of A Hate Crime Hoax
On the 22nd of January 2019, Jussie Smollett claimed he received a letter addressed to him at Chicago’s Cinespace Studios which contained homophobic as well as racial threats and a white powdery substance. According to him, he was attacked in the early hours of the morning outside his apartment building in Chicago by two masked men who chanted “this is MAGA country”.
Smollet claimed these men physically abused him and tied his neck with a rope. This incident sparked an outrage in the media and many blamed the US President for the recklessness of his supporters.
In the following days, Smollett received treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital while an investigation into the incident commenced. Unfortunately, there was no security video coverage of the incident but cameras were able to cover two persons near the scene of the claimed attack.
On 13 February 2019, the Chicago police arrested two brothers, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, who were questioned but were not charged with a crime and were released on 15 February 2019.
The Chicago Police later announced that they had made a discovery of evidence showing that Jussie Smollett had paid $3,500 to the brothers to stage the attack. He was subsequently charged with a case of class 4 felony for filing a false police report. The charges were dropped after a deal was reached with Smollett’s defense team in which prosecutors dropped the charges upon Smollett performing 16 hours of community service.
Impact Of His Staged Attack On His Career
In the wake of the revelation that he had staged the attack, there were insinuations from the Smollett camp that he had done so because he was dissatisfied with his salary on Empire. Following his arrest, Smollett’s character was taken off the final two episodes of Empire’s fifth season. Since the debacle, he is yet to appear in any movie project. Only time will tell the impact of this hoax on his career going forward.
Jussie Smollett’s Sexuality Has Been A Subject Of Attention
Smollett came out as gay during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in March 2015. The “Empire” actor would later tell Variety in another interview that he didn’t reveal his sexuality to Ellen to get attention or to let people in on what he does in his bedroom, but that he did so to let people understand they are not alone. “That’s all”, he added.
In an interview with Out Magazine in 2016, Smollett further clarified his sexual orientation, stating that he considers himself a gay man but that openness to love is more important than gender, thus if he should ever fall in love with a woman, he would love that woman silly. He also revealed that growing up, he had an interest in girls. Before now, he was linked with director Anthony Hemingway, Raven Symone, and Michael Sam.
How Much Does He Make?
Alongside his on-screen siblings on Empire – Trai Byers and Bryshere Y. Gray, Smollett earned $20,000 per episode. By November 2018, Smollett had given out about $125,000 of his earnings from music to charities including, South Africa’s SKY Foundation, the Black AIDS Institute, the Human Rights Campaign, Flint KIDS, the Trayvon Martin Foundation, Know Your Rights Camp and the ACLU. Jussie Smollett’s current net worth is said to stand at $1 million. His earnings are primarily from his acting and music careers.