Terry Alan Crews (born July 30, 1968) is an American actor, artist, and former American football player.
Crews played Julius Rock on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and Nick Kingston-Persons in the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet?. He has also hosted the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and starred in the BET reality series The Family Crews. He has appeared in films such as White Chicks, Idiocracy, and the Expendables series, and currently plays NYPD Sergeant Terry Jeffords in the Fox sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
In football, Crews played as a defensive end and linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Washington Redskins, as well as in the World League of American Football with Rhein Fire.
Terry Alan Crews was born on July 30, 1968 in Flint, Michigan, the son of Patricia and Terry Crews, Sr. He grew up in a strict Christian household in Flint, and was raised mainly by his mother; his father was an abusive alcoholic. After earning his high school diploma from Flint Southwestern Academy, he received a Chrysler-sponsored art scholarship at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan, which was followed by an Art Excellence scholarship and a full-ride athletic scholarship for football at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As a defensive end for the WMU Broncos, Crews earned All-Conference honors and won the 1988 Mid-American Conference Championship.
Crews was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. His career included stints with the Rams, the San Diego Chargers, the Washington Redskins, and the Philadelphia Eagles.
After retiring from the NFL in 1997, Crews moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He had held a long-standing ambition to work in the film industry, but up until then had no plans to pursue acting, simply wanting to be involved in some way. A year earlier, he had co-written and co-produced the independent feature film Young Boys Incorporated. A self-funded production filmed in Detroit with an anti-drug message, the film drew on his own observations, as well as those of his friends and family. Despite describing it as a "horrible" film, he credits the experience with getting him interested in the industry.
In 1999, Crews auditioned for a role as a character athlete (known as Warriors) in the syndicated game show Battle Dome, which became his first acting part. He played T-Money for two seasons until its cancellation in 2001. The audition process and the opportunity to perform in front of an audience made him realize that he wanted to pursue acting as a career. However, he failed to land another acting job for the following two years.
Appearances in commercials, films and music videos soon followed. His breakout role came in Friday After Next starring Ice Cube, for whom Crews had previously worked as an on-set bodyguard. Having never taken acting classes, instead he asked himself what the audience wanted, and believes this ultimately brought him success. He now believes acting is what he was born to do and would not wish to have any other career, despite the physically demanding nature of the work.
Based on Crews' performance in White Chicks (2004), Adam Sandler changed a role in The Longest Yard (2005) to give it to Crews, who had auditioned for another part in the film. His role as Julius Rock, the father on the UPN/CW sitcom on Everybody Hates Chris, brought Crews wider public recognition, and the show aired for four seasons from 2005 until 2009. Since Everybody Hates Chris, Crews has had main roles as husband and father Nick Kingston-Persons in the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet?, which aired for three seasons from 2010 to 2013, and as NYPD Sergeant Terry Jeffords in the ensemble cast of the Fox sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which premiered in 2013 and was renewed for a fifth season in 2017.
Crews has mainly appeared in comedic roles, although he also later found success in action roles beginning with his part as Hale Caesar in The Expendables series, which saw him make his first appearance in a film sequel. Though he has managed to sustain an athletic physique in his career as an actor, Crews has avoided being type-cast as a muscle bound action hero, and has attained critical success through exploiting the contrast of his elaborate character comedy with his physique, which extends to the point of even mocking the stereotype of the gym obsessed body builder. This contrast has also led to sustained work as part of various humorous Old Spice TV commercials.
Crews has lent his voice to animations such as American Dad! and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Crews found he enjoyed the work and sought out more of it, finding satisfaction in how it carries his spirit into the animation. In 2010 to 2011, Crews starred in his own reality series on BET, The Family Crews, about his everyday life with his family. It ran for two seasons. From 2014 to 2015, he hosted the syndicated game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Starring as an American host for the 2017 Netflix original show Ultimate Beastmaster. Crews cites the many similarities between acting and professional football, including the structure and expectations, as helping his transition between the two careers. He credits Reginald Hubbard with mentoring him in his early career in the film business.
Crews considers his first job in the entertainment industry to be a stint as a courtroom sketch artist in Flint, Michigan. He later performed the role for the local station, WJRT. During his football career, Crews supplemented his income by producing portraits of fellow players, and in some cases this was his primary income stream on which he depended to feed his family, typically earning $5,000 for a two-month commission. His work included a series of NFL-licensed lithographs. He believes his imaginative side has transferred itself to his acting work.
Crews married Rebecca King, a former beauty queen and gospel singer, in 1990. They have three daughters named Azriel (born 1990), Tera (born 1999), and Wynfrey (born 2004), and one son named Isaiah (born 2007). Crews has one step-daughter, Naomi (born 1989), and a granddaughter from his wife's previous relationship.
In 2014, Crews released his autobiography, Manhood: How to Be a Better Man or Just Live with One. In the book, Crews made public details of his long-standing pornography addiction, which he relayed had seriously impacted his marriage and his life, and which he was only able to overcome around 2009 and 2010 after entering rehabilitation; he now takes an active role in speaking out about the condition and its impact.
In October 2017, in the wake of numerous Hollywood actresses going public with their stories of sexual harassment and assault by film producer Harvey Weinstein, Crews revealed that a high-level Hollywood executive had groped him at a party in 2016 and that he did not publicize the incident for fear of retaliation.
|2006||Teen Choice Awards||Choice TV: Parental Unit||Everybody Hates Chris (Shared with: Tichina Arnold)||Nominated|
|2006||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Everybody Hates Chris||Nominated|
|2007||Everybody Hates Chris||Nominated|
|2008||Everybody Hates Chris||Nominated|
|2009||Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series||Everybody Hates Chris||Nominated|
|2011||Are We There Yet?||Nominated|
|2011||NAMIC Vision Awards||Best Performance - Comedy||Are We There Yet?||Nominated|
|2012||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series||Are We There Yet?||Nominated|
|2013||Annie Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production||Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2||Nominated|
|2013||Screen Actors Guild||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Nominated|
|2014||Behind the Voice Actors Awards||Breakthrough Voice Actor of the Year||N/A||Nominated|
|Best Male Vocal Performance in a Feature Film in a Supporting Role||Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2||Nominated|
|Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film||Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2||Nominated|
|Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game||Saints Row IV||Nominated|
|2015||Online Film & Television Association Award ||Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Nominated|
|2015||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Nominated|