Michael Jai WhiteMichael Jai White reprises his role as Marcus from the popular Why Did I Get Married? movies in the new TBS series For Better or Worse. 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 years of experience as a martial artist, he holds a black belt in six Karate styles and over 26 competition titles. His well-honed skills have been employed to choreograph complex stunts in films such as On Deadly Ground.
In addition to Tyson, White’s 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.
White’s 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 NBC drama Wonderland; and episodes of NYBD Blue, JAG, Living Single and Renegade.
Most recently, White starred in The Dark Knight; the box office smash Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? and Why Did I Get Married Too?; Undisputed 2; Black Dynamite, which he also wrote and co-produced; and the upcoming Never Back Down 2, which he is also directing.
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, was easily mistaken for an adult. Having started karate lessons at age 8, he was a black belt by age 12, and later taught karate in Bridgeport.
White 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 and major to major 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 middle school for three years, which he calls 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, eventually landing 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.