As an actor, Jamie Foxx might best be known as Ray Charles, or maybe Django in Django Unchained. Foxx’s roles range from a drill sergeant in Jarhead to a meek cab driver in Collateral. Foxx also has musical talent and has worked as a standup comedian. The Academy Award winner is going on 51 this year, marking nearly three decades in showbiz. Here are 42 facts about Jamie Foxx.
1. Giddy Up
If you’ve seen Django Unchained, then you’ve actually seen Foxx’s own horse in action. Cheetah is the main horse that Django rides throughout the film. Foxx got the horse as a birthday present in 2009 and started learning to ride. The fact that he already knew how to ride a horse and was willing to use his own horse for filming, probably made him more appealing for the lead role.
2. Step Aside Romo
Jamie Foxx was pretty good with a pigskin in high school, playing quarterback and having dreams of playing for the Dallas Cowboys. According to Foxx, he was his school’s first quarterback to pass for over 1,000 yards in a season. Foxx also played basketball. He didn’t go pro in those fields but he makes a decent living now.
Foxx’s musical aspirations started early, when he served as the choir leader of his local church during his teens. It was during this time that Foxx started putting his piano skills to use, playing local gigs.
Foxx’s daughter Corinne is an actress and model who already works alongside her father. While Jamie Foxx hosts the game show, Beat Shazam, you can glimpse his daughter as the DJ. Corinne will also star alongside her dad in his directorial debut, All-Star Weekend. The film is a comedy starring Foxx and Robert Downey Jr., who play two friends that get to attend the NBA All-Star Game.
It’s not as bad as getting dunked on, but Gerard Butler—one of Foxx’s co-stars in All-Star Weekend—shared a video of Foxx hitting a brick. Butler then steps up and nails the three-pointer, and then runs off yelling, “Scotland.” It’s been more than a few years since Foxx played basketball seriously, so maybe he’s a bit rusty.
Unfortunately for Foxx, the video has been viewed over 200,000 times since it debuted on August 12, 2018.
6. At Home
Jamie Foxx created a web series called Off-Script, where he interviews famous actors such as Denzel Washington and Melissa McCarthy. Foxx has said that the idea was a natural evolution of get-togethers that he’d have at his house, where he would host and try to get other Hollywood elites to open up to him about their pasts.
One of Foxx’s most memorable moments came from an interview with Washington, where he learned that Washington was a garbage man—among other jobs—prior to becoming an actor: “Part of the reason I love doing these interviews is because it’s really interesting to hear how people got their start and what they did before they made it.”
7. Group Work
Foxx’s biggest draws to a role are the story and the people he works with. In the case of the upcoming Robin Hood, Foxx was motivated to join due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s presence as a producer. He was also a fan of Taron Egerton (best known as Eggsy in the Kingsman films), calling Egerton a “young force of nature.”
8. For The Best
Foxx’s first open-mic appearance was actually the result of a girlfriend’s dare. That 1989 dare then helped to pave the way for his career. Foxx’s routine included Louis Farrakhan with a falsetto lisp and a gangster version of Bill Cosby.
9. Close Call
Foxx remembers leaving a club in Oakland once, only to hear gunshots and then see a dead body in the parking lot. He remembers running away and tried to harness the level of fear for his character in Collateral. While some of his friends wondered why his character, Max, was so meek, Foxx realized most people can’t understand the fear of seeing someone get shot.
10. Trouble in My Neighbourhood
Back in 2016, #Oscarsowhite was on everybody’s lips. The hashtag was part of a wider protest by actors such as Will Smith, to protest the Academy Awards due to the lack of black nominees for the acting categories. Some people viewed the issue as one of systemic racism, but Foxx argued that “#actbetter” was more appropriate.
Speaking at the American Black Film Festival Awards, Foxx shut down the uproar, arguing that if black actors received the opportunity to get on the big screen, then the lack of award nominations was due to talent.
11. Choir Boy
Foxx became friends with Ray Charles prior to Charles’ passing in 2004. Foxx then performed Charles’ song “Georgia On My Mind” with Alicia Keys at the 2005 Grammys, as a tribute to his late friend.
12. Power To The People
Aside from the winning the Best Actor Oscar for Ray, Foxx actually swept the major awards, by winning a Golden Globe and a Screen Actor’s Guild Award. Foxx is also the first black person to be nominated for two Oscars in one year, one Best Actor Oscar for Ray and another Best Supporting Oscar for Collateral.
13. What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Foxx’s role in Django Unchained was actually due to Will Smith dropping out. Smith left for creative reasons, stating he wanted a “love story, not a vengeance story.” Some would argue they can go hand in hand, but Smith didn’t see it that way.
Michael B. Jordan views Foxx as a big brother. The two met when Jordan first moved to L.A. when he was in his late teens. Foxx and Jordan mainly bonded over basketball games. Foxx actually turned up to Jordan’s “Pop A Shot” fundraiser, back in July 2018, to face off against his little bro. Foxx sunk 59 hoops to Jordan’s 43 during one round, but Jordan won in the last round with a score of 61.
15. That Word
Quentin Tarantino is pretty infamous for peppering his scripts with the N-word. Django Unchained uses the word over 100 times but Foxx was one of Tarantino’s strongest supporters in this case since he believes the heavy use of the word reflects the time period. As for Tarantino’s other films, there’s still room for debate.
16. 99 Problems
Upon moving to L.A. over 20 years ago., Foxx felt like the city was very plastic. For those that never watched Mean Girls, he means it felt fake. He then decided to throw parties to bring artists together. P. Diddy was his first guest of honor and Foxx remembers seeing Jay-Z at this party, who was just a “guy nobody knew” at that point.
Foxx’s house now contains an Oscar and a Grammy, after Foxx won in 2009 for Blame It. The Grammy for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals was Foxx’s eighth nomination. The first was in 2004, and 2006 featured three nominations in one year.
Foxx is confirmed as the star of the Spawn reboot, which does not have a release date yet. Spawn creator Todd McFarlane will serve as director, and states that Foxx already has a lot of ideas on how the movie should be executed. Foxx alleges he was ready to take on the role when rumors about a reboot began circulating years ago.
McFarlane is tight-lipped on their conversations but adds that Foxx realizes it’s still McFarlane’s movie at the end of the day.
19. Under The Needle
Foxx got a head tattoo back in 2007, which he calls a birthday present to himself. The tattoo is located on the back of his head, featuring tribal symbols running across the back of the head and ending above the ears. Aside from Foxx’s own answer, some speculate the tattoo covers an incision made for a hair transplant.
Gerard Butler was originally supposed to play Jamie Foxx’s role in Law Abiding Citizen. Butler, whose production company spearheaded the project, says it was his idea for the characters to switch. He was behind the project for two years with one role in mind, but then thought he wanted to test himself with the role of Clyde Shelton.
Foxx agreed since he wanted to see Leonidas do some “dude stuff…blow up some stuff and beat up some stuff.” Foxx adds that he had 300 playing in his trailer constantly during filming.
21. Fabulous Five
Foxx is among five entertainers who earned acting Oscars and #1 Billboard songs. His peers are Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, Cher, and Bing Crosby.
22. Old Favor
Musically, Foxx has ventured into country territory. He recorded a 2007 single titled, “She Goes All the Way” with Rascal Flatts. Foxx and Rascal Flatts frontman, Gary LeVox, were roommates during the late 1990s. It was LeVox who invited Foxx to perform with his band. In return for Foxx singing on their album, Jamie Foxx asked the Rascal Flatts to sing on one of his records. LeVox deemed it a “good swap” but the Rascal Flatts feature doesn’t appear to have materialized yet.
23. No Love
Foxx supports the Miami Heat but also got some attention for sharing his thoughts on NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Appearing on ESPN NBA Countdown, Foxx was asked which of the following NBA greats he considers to be the worst player: Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Adbul-Jabbar, LeBron James, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Foxx responded that he viewed Bryant as the weakest since he isn’t “team-oriented,” basically seeing more value in the other players since they are better options for building a team around.
At one point, Foxx was hosting a radio show in L.A. An up-and-comer called Ed Sheeran decided to meet with Foxx to try to sell his music. Foxx was impressed enough to let Sheeran crash on his couch for six weeks. Foxx specifically remembers taking Sheeran to an open mic event, where Sheeran performed for 800 black musicians and got a standing ovation 12 minutes later.
25. Not Black and White
Foxx’s first big role on-camera was the sketch comedy show, In Living Color. Foxx joined in the third season and remained on until season five. Foxx quickly became a fan favorite, with characters such as Wanda and Carl “The Tooth” Williams. Fellow cast member Larry Wilmore would go on to help create and produce The Jamie Foxx Show.
Foxx has been the on-screen husband of Kerry Washington twice. First in Ray, and again in Django Unchained. Foxx also admits Washington’s performance during one of the Django Unchained scenes made him cry.
27. Ice Cold
Django Unchained co-star Christoph Waltz broke his pelvis after being thrown from a horse while filming. Foxx was quick to get Waltz a get-well present: A saddle with a seatbelt. Waltz seemed to appreciate the gift, referring to it as “beautiful.” Very thoughtful Jamie.
Foxx actually moved his biological mother, Louise, into his home in an effort to reconnect. The move followed decades without contact but Foxx believes it is important to” keep the door and your heart open.” Reconnecting with his dad is still a work in progress but Foxx is still hopeful.
29. Everything’s Later in Texas
Foxx’s hometown, Terrell, Texas, was still racially segregated during his upbringing. Foxx can recall going on school trips out of town, only to have busloads of white children call him a “porch monkey” or explicit racial slurs. The name-calling was “every day” and Foxx accepted the frequent taunting as natural until he moved to San Diego for college.
30. Class Clown
Foxx’s second-grade teacher noticed Foxx’s humor and would allow him to tell the class jokes if the class behaved well.
Foxx formed an R&B cover band in high school, called Leather and Lace. The band didn’t make it big but made Foxx think of pursuing a career in music, “I was going to be Lionel Richie. I had the hair and everything.” He then released his debut album, Peep This, in 1994. The album didn’t do too badly, reaching number 12 on the Billboard R&B charts.
32. Game Changer
One of Foxx’s first serious roles was in Any Given Sunday, playing the third-string quarterback who graduates to first string. Foxx credits director Oliver Stone for changing his life, recalling Stone’s criticisms of his acting in their initial meetings. Stone initially felt like Foxx was “coming off as a comic,” but then asked him if he was any good with a football.
He tasked Foxx with making a video of him throwing and Foxx responded with a tape; a tape that also had some backup music and was recorded with Foxx in character for his role.
Foxx remembers that his stand-up crowds were pretty segregated when he began in the industry. While Jeff Foxworthy gets the “NASCAR set,” Foxx gets the “urban” set. However, Foxx says the good acts are able to “graduate,” like Chris Rock. Foxx can proudly now play in “the whitest spot in the world (Des Moines, Iowa)” and still connect with his audience.
Jamie Foxx recently credited his hometown teachers for making “kids feel like life is worth living.” He offered the latter comment in a video he did for the Terrell Independent School District’s 2017 convocation ceremony.
35. Broaden Your Horizons
Despite his football prowess, Foxx attended college on a music scholarship. The US International University served as a venue for studying classical piano. Foxx also credits the experience for introducing him to new experience, from things as simple as going to the beach to meeting students from all over the world: “I was the original black Beverly Hillbilly!”
Although Foxx is secretive about his love life, he has been linked to Katie Holmes since 2013, with paparazzi taking a peek at numerous dinner dates and get-togethers. Finally, in May 2019, the pair appeared on a red carpet together for the first time, seemingly confirming their romance. But soon after, it all came crashing down.
Just three months after Foxx and Holmes’s appearance at the Met Ball, Foxx was spotted holding hands with another woman at a party. For his part, Foxx has denied any relationship with the other woman, but multiple sources have speculated that Foxx and Holmes have split.
37. I’m A Let You Finish
Foxx also has a BET Award somewhere in his house for “Gold Digger.” Foxx and Kanye West won the award for Best Duet/Collaboration.
38. No Relation to Megan
Born Eric Marlon Bishop, Jamie Foxx adopted his stage name once he started doing comedy routines. Foxx noticed that female performers usually got called up before the male stars, so he picked Jamie as the first name since it was an ambiguous name. “Foxx” was a tribute to one of his favorite comics, Red Foxx—birth name John Elroy Sanford.
39. No Pressure
Foxx admits that he didn’t take his Oscar nomination for Ray seriously and that he spent a lot of his time partying leading up to the ceremony. The partying spilled over into the spotlight sometimes. Foxx attended the Golden Globes and drunkenly yelled how many awards he was up for, repeatedly, while he was on the red carpet.
This actually prompted his publicist to tell him how embarrassing his behavior was. A sit down with Oprah and Sidney Poitier, the first black man to win an Oscar, helped turn him around. Poitier said, “I’m going to give you responsibility,” and Foxx has taken acting more seriously since.
40. No Pain, No Gain
“Imagine having your eyes glued shut for 14 hours a day. That’s your jail sentence.” Although Foxx might have partied too much offset, he took the filming of Ray pretty seriously. During the shoot, Foxx wore prosthetic eyelids that actually made him blind. Allegedly, the blindness led to panic attacks for the first few weeks of shooting.
This was probably made worse by the fact that crew members would sometimes forget he couldn’t see, and leave him behind on set.
41. Cutting Room Floor
Foxx won an Oscar after working with director Michael Mann on Collateral. However, their second collaboration, Miami Vice, didn’t go as well. A soldier shot an armed man in the Dominican Republic near the hotel the crew was staying in. It doesn’t appear the shooting affected filming directly, but Foxx still refused to film outside the US for the remainder of the shoot.
A scene that was supposed to be shot in Paraguay had to be scrapped, and the ending was changed. According to anonymous crew members, Foxx was a bit of “a diva…afraid of boats, afraid of planes- there were a lot of things where he was afraid for himself.”
42. Shooting Star
Foxx got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame back in 2007. He singled out his grandma in his speech, “My grandmother’s got to be spreading her wings and flying around in heaven.” Foxx’s grandma raised him after his parents abandoned him when he was seven months old. The lovely lady passed away in 2004.