Jesse L. MartinCelebrity

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One of the most successful original cast members of the award-winning Broadway musical Rent, Martin became interested in acting as a child. He attended a performing arts high school in Buffalo, New York before earning a BFA from the prestigious Tisch Schoo… (more)

Birth Name: Jesse Lamont Watkins

Birth Place: Rocky Mount, VA

Birthday: January 18, 1969, Capricorn

Profession: Actor, Singer

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Biography

One of the most successful original cast members of the award-winning Broadway musical Rent, Martin became interested in acting as a child. He attended a performing arts high school in Buffalo, New York before earning a BFA from the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. In the early '90s, he built up his professional career working primarily on stage, and found himself briefly in the spotlight with a short gig on the CBS soap opera Guiding Light. As he continued to pursue his acting career, he supplemented his income waiting tables and serendipitously met fellow server Jonathan Larson, a composer and playwright who launched Martin into stardom by casting him in the ground-breaking Rent. The musical's phenomenal success led Martin to a recurring role on Ally McBeal as the quirky heroine's on-again off-again doctor beau. In 1999, he embraced full-fledged leading man status when he signed on to play Detective Edward Green on the long-running NBC series Law & Order, a role he inhabited for nine years. These days, he continues to take on impressive stage, film and television roles, proving that his established appeal makes him adaptable to many mediums.

Fast Facts

  • Family took to calling him by his middle name, Lamont.
  • While in grade school, his family moved from Rocky Mount, VA, to Buffalo, NY and he hated to speak because of his southern accent.
  • Was bit by the acting bug after he played a pastor in a grade-school play.
  • Worked as a waiter at the Moondance Diner in New York City with Rent composer Jonathan Larson.
  • Made his Broadway debut in Timon of Athens in 1993.
  • Originated the role of Tom Collins in Rent, and played the character in the 2005 movie version.

Awards

  • 2001, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 2003, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 2000, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1999, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Nominee

Relationships

  • Jesse Reed Watkins — Father
  • Virginia Price — Mother

College

  • New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, New York, NY (BFA in Theater, 1991)

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