Malcolm-Jamal Warner is an actor and musician best known for playing Theo Huxtable on the smash American sitcom ‘The Cosby Show.’
Malcolm-Jamal Warner was born on August 18, 1970, in Jersey City, New Jersey. After a move to Los Angeles and a few small TV parts, Warner landed the role of a lifetime in 1984 when he became Theo Huxtable on the Bill Cosby sitcom The Cosby Show. The show was a smash hit, and over the course of its eight-year run it collected countless awards and accolades. After The Cosby Show came to an end, Warner continued to act, and he has starred in several TV movies and series, among them Malcolm & Eddie and Reed Between the Lines, playing a professor in the latter. A musician and poet as well, Warner also performs with a band called Miles Long.
Named for Black Muslim minister Malcolm X and jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, Malcolm-Jamal Warner was born on August 18, 1970 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was raised by his mother Pamela Warner, who would later serve as his manager. Interested in acting early on, Warner attended New York’s Professional Children's School and Angeles Mesa Elementary School in Los Angeles.
In 1982, Warner landed his first TV role, playing a bit part on the private investigation drama/comedy Matt Houston. A year later he popped up on the TV series Fame, but 1984 would find his career making a leap to the next level when he landed a plum role on the new NBC series The Cosby Show.
'The Cosby Show'
In 1984, Warner debuted his character Theo Huxtable on the Bill Cosby sitcom The Cosby Show, a part that would turn out to be the role of a lifetime. The character evolved from a vaguely troublemaking 14-year-old to an NYU student who overcame dyslexia to graduate with a degree in psychology. Having an attorney mom played by Phylicia Rashad, the rest of the Huxtable children included Sabrina Le Beauf (Sondra), Lisa Bonet (Denise), Tempestt Bledsoe (Vanessa) and Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy).
Warner’s work on the show earned him a 1986 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, and in 1990 he took home the Best Young Actor Supporting Role in a TV Series Award at the Young Artist Awards. The show itself won a host of awards, from Emmys to Golden Globes, and dominated the ratings over the course of its eight-season run.
While The Cosby Show was on the air, Warner took on several other TV roles, appearing on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the Cosby spinoff A Different World and several other smaller shows, including Call of Glory and Tour of Duty. He also appeared on several TV movies, including The Father Clements Story, The Real Story of Itsy Bitsy Spider (voiceover) and Mother’s Day.
After The Cosby Show’s hugely successful run, Warner found steady roles on more series, including Here and Now (1992-1993), The Magic School Bus (1994-1997) and Malcolm & Eddie (1996-2000), on which he played Malcolm McGee for nearly 90 episodes.
After the turn of the century, Warner kept it going with recurring roles on such series as Jeremiah (2002-2004), Listen Up (2004-2005), Reed Between the Lines (2011), on which he played the titular role across 25 episodes, and American Horror Story (2014-2015). Warner has also had roles in several films, among them Drop Zone (1994), The List (2007), Fool’s Gold (2008) and Megachurch Murder, slated for a 2015 release.
On stage, Warner has starred in several Off-Broadway plays, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Three Ways Home and Cryin' Shame, for which he received the NAACP Theater Award for Best Supporting Actor. He's also performed with jazz-funk band Miles Long and has released two records, Miles Long Mix Tape and Love & Other Social Issues. And in 2015 he won a Traditional R&B Performance Grammy collaborating with the Robert Glasper Experiment and Lalah Hathaway on the song "Jesus Children,"