- After working construction in New York City, began studying acting at Uta Hagen's HB Studio in Manhattan.
- Was a member of a small acting company at Manhattan's Room 203 theatre, which let the group stage plays in exchange for doing painting and construction work in the building.
- While working the door at New York's Cheetah Club, met director John Singleton, who cast him in a 2000 remake of Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson.
- Has said he was shooed away from the craft service table on the set of HBO's The Wire because he looked like an actual homeless person, while playing the character Bubbles.
- His Wire character was based on a real drug addict who was an informant for Ed Burns when the producer was a police detective in Baltimore; the real Bubbles died of AIDS in the late 1980s.
- Wife co-owns a restaurant in Los Angeles called Canelé.
- Jane Choi — Wife
- Stella Royo — Daughter
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