July 1, 1970
Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Actor, Hotel doorman, Worked for a financial firm
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Not one to mug for the camera or pursue stardom to feed his ego, actor Henry Simmons has thanked his parents for a solid upbringing - they taught him that hard work and doing his best are the keys to success and thanks to this advice, the actor has become a household name. Born and raised in idyllic Stamford, Connecticut into a middle-class home - dad was an IRS officer, mom was a teacher - Simmons attended Franklin Pierce College where he majored in business and flirted with acting. After graduation, he was tapped by a prestigious Connecticut-based Fortune 500 company, but he soon found himself sneaking into Manhattan for auditions. Eventually, Simmons made his first on-screen appearance in "Above the Rim" (1994), a low-budget sports drama about basketball and gangsters, and from there Simmons' career took off.After guest starring in episodes of "The Cosby Mysteries" (NBC, 1994-5), "New York Undercover" (Fox, 1994-8), and "Swift Justice" (UPN, 1995-6), Simmons landed a regular role on the long-running daytime soap opera, "Another World" (NBC, 1963-99), in 1997. This led to appearances on "NYPD Blue" as Detective Baldwin Jones. Though the character was supposed to be on for only a few episodes, executive producer Steven Bocho was so impressed with Simmons' acting ability that he became a regular in 2002, replacing Nick Tuturro's character, Detective James Martinez and lasting through to the end of the series' run in 2005. Meanwhile, Simmons continued to act in movies. He appeared in "Let It Snow" (1999), a mildly funny romantic comedy that fared better on the festival circuit than the box office. Simmons appeared in another supporting role in "A Gentleman's Game" (2001), a festival drama about a young boy learning to become a man through playing golf. When Simmons started baring more than his acting abilities on "NYPD Blue," he quickly became a hot commodity, which led to supporting roles in more prominent features. He played the adoring beau of New York's fastest cabbie (Queen Latifah) in the dreadful remake of the French action comedy, "Taxi" (2004). In the made-for-TV miniseries "Spartacus" (2004), he appeared as the gladiator Draba, but the remake of Stanley Kubrick's classic failed to live up to-let alone surpass-its predecessor. Simmons then had a small role in the family-oriented comedy "Are We There Yet?," starring former gangsta rapper Ice Cube. The light-hearted comedy failed to warm critics, but the movie opened number one anyway and subsequently filled the coffers at Sony Pictures.