Happy birthday, Wesley Snipes! The actor-slash-martial artist is turning 54-years-old today.
Born in Orlando, Wesley grew up with his parents Maryann and Wesley in the Bronx, New York. As a teenager, he attended a performing arts high school there but his family returned to Florida before he could graduate. Wesley, however, returned to New York for college before he began pursuing his acting career.
Wesley made his film debut in Wildcats, a 1986 film starring Goldie Hawn. Then, he went on to star opposite Michael Jackson in the music video for “Bad,” which ultimately caught the eye of Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese. Impressed with his talent, the two filmmakers offered Wesley roles in their respective films, Streets of Gold and Major League.
Soon, Wesley had established himself as a bonafide action star as the actor was cast in films like Demolition Man, Money Train, and Rising Sun. And, in 1997, Wesley even won the Best Actor Volpi Cup at the 54th Venice Film Festival ahead of his hugely successful stint in Blade. Based off Marvel’s popular comics, Blade became Wesley’s biggest commercial success, and the actor returned to the franchise when it turned into a series. However, Wesley took a hiatus from Hollywood following Blade’s success, but he has since had a comeback with his performance in Brooklyn’s Finest and The Expendables 3.
Like other action stars, Wesley is well-known for his physicality and boasts an impressive martial arts background. Starting training at 12-years-old, Wesley has a 5th degree black belt in Karate and a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido. The actor has also dabbled in other martial arts forms like Capoeira, Kung Fu, and Jiu Jitsu.
Happy birthday, Wesley! Seriously, we hope it’s a great one!