September 8, 1975
Chicago, Illinois, United States
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Handsome, charismatic and emotionally expressive, Tate acted in L.A. community theater before making his TV debut on an episode of CBS' 1985 revival of "The Twilight Zone." Other TV credits followed on series including "21 Jump Street," "Matlock" and "The Wonder Years." Tate appeared in Oprah Winfrey's high-profile miniseries "The Women of Brewster Place" (ABC, 1989) before landing a succession of stints as a TV series regular, notably as Andre, a young man impatient for independence, on the ambitious comedy-drama "South Central" (Fox, 1994). Tate gained considerable attention the year before with his showy feature debut in the Hughes Brothers' explosive "Menace II Society" (1993), delivering a profoundly disturbing performance as O-Dog, a murderously nihilistic gun-toting teen. Tate displayed a kinder, gentler side in Matty Rich's "The Inkwell" (1994) as a socially maladept young man coping with intraracial class conflict and his own budding sexuality. He reteamed with the Hughes Brothers for "Dead Presidents" (1995) to play an embittered and disillusioned Vietnam vet who turns to bank robbery in the early 1970s. Tate demonstrated his screen charisma as the slick and smooth pop singer Frankie Lymon in the 1998 biopic "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" Tate went on to produce and star (along with Debra Cox and Martin Cummins) in the independent feature "Love Come Down." In "Love Come Down," Tate portrays a black comedian who struggles with his relationship with his brother, who is white. In 2003, Tate, along with Laurence Fishburne and Derek Luke, co-starred in in the motorcyle drama "Biker Boyz," then appeared opposite Vin Diesel in director F. Gary Gray's action-drama "A Man Apart" (2003), and took on the crucial role of music master Quincy Jones in the heralded Ray Charles biopic "Ray" (2004). He then has an alternately charming and heartbreaking turn in the racially charged, multi-plot drama "Crash" (2005) as a seemingly clear-headed and sweet-natured L.A. youth who also happens to be a carjacker. His television breakthrough came with a supporting role in Denis Leary's firefighting comedy-drama "Rescue Me" (FX 2004-2011), after which he joined the cast of Don Cheadle's political satire "House of Lies" (Showtime 2012-16) and the cable medical drama "Rush" (USA 2014). His next major film role came with his starring performance in the science fiction action thriller "Beta Test" (2016).