Michael Jai White reprises his role as Marcus from the popular Why Did I Get Married? movies in the series, Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse, debuting this Fall.
He first garnered audience and critical attention with his portrayal of controversial boxing giant Mike Tyson in the HBO special, Tyson. With more than two decades of experience as a martial artist, he holds a black belt in six Karate styles and over 26 titles, including U.S. Open, North American Open, and New England Grand Champion. His well-honed skills have been employed to choreograph complex stunts in films such as On Deadly Ground.
In addition to Tyson, his feature credits include Spawn, in which he played the title character based on the Todd McFarlane comic books, 2 Days in the Valley, Breakfast of Champions with Bruce Willis, Thick As Thieves with Alec Baldwin, Universal Solder: The Return with Jean Claude van Damme, Exit Wounds with Steven Seagal and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.
Television credits include the NBC movie Mutiny, based on factual events during World War II in which he played the lead character. The film was directed by Kevin Hooks and produced by Morgan Freeman. He also appeared in the TNT original movie Freedom Song, starring and executive produced by Danny Glover; the short lived NBC drama Wonderland; and episodes of NYBD Blue, JAG, Living Single, and Renegade.
Most recently, he has starred in Undisputed 2, Batman (The Dark Knight), the box office smash Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married 1 & 2, Black Dynamite, which Michael wrote, and co-produced and he directs and stars in the upcoming remake of Never Back Down 2.
White was born in Brooklyn and as a pre-teen was relocated to Bridgeport, Connecticut. At age 14, he was mostly on his own; and at six feet tall and weighing in at 190 lbs, he was easily mistaken for an adult. Having started karate lessons at age eight, he was a black belt by age 12, and later taught karate at the local YMCA in Bridgeport.
He graduated high school with honors and went on to college without a clear idea of the direction he wanted to steer his life. He jumped from university to university (UCONN, S.C.S.U.) and major to major (political science, communications, engineering) while also squeezing in an acting class or two—at the HB Studios in NY, Yale University, and Howard University—but never had considered acting as a career choice.
White discovered he had a gift for reaching troubled children when he taught grades five, six, and seven at a junior high school for three years. That experience is what he says is his proudest achievement. Though reluctant to follow acting, he felt he had to get it out of his system. He began auditioning for roles in nearby Manhattan. He eventually landed commercials, theater roles, and bit parts on soap operas. Faced with the difficult decision to leave teaching, he finally did so with the blessing of his students. In 1992 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.