In 2002, Mekhi Phifer added to his growing list of television credits a starring role on the Emmy-award winning series, "ER" as Dr. Gregory Pratt, for which he has received two NAACP Image Awards (2004 and 2005) for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Born and raised in New York, Phifer's acting career began when he auditioned at an open casting call for director Spike Lee's Clockers and was selected for the leading role. Working alongside Harvey Keitel, John Turturro and Delroy Lindo, Phifer garnered critical acclaim for his compelling performance as Strike, a young New Jersey drug dealer involved in a murder cover-up.
Phifer's film resume includes a starring role in the remake of the top grossing 1978 horror classic "Dawn of the Dead," opposite Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames. In the fall of 2002, he starred as Future, opposite Eminem, Brittany Murphy and Kim Basinger in Curtis Hanson's critically acclaimed film "8 Mile" from Universal, as well as in the Miramax feature "Paid in Full," directed by Charles Stone. Mekhi Phifer also appeared in the feature film "O," where he starred opposite Julia Stiles and Josh Hartnett. Based on Shakespeare's "Othello," he portrayed Odin, the captain of a champion high school basketball team whose best friend becomes jealous of his relationship with his girlfriend. In the thriller "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer," Phifer co-starred with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Brandy and Freddie Prinze, Jr. He also starred in the successful family drama "Soul Food," opposite Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long. Additional films included "Hell's Kitchen, NYC," where he played a New York boxer opposite Angelina Jolie; "Tears of a Clown," a romantic comedy; the mystery thriller "An Invited Guest," winner of the Audience Award at the 1999 Urbanworld Festival and the Grand Prize at the Acapulco Film Festival; and "The Imposter," with Gary Sinise, Madeline Stowe and Vincent D'Onofrio. In June of 2002, he was honored by the American Black Film Festival, receiving the organization's "Rising Star" award.
In addition to his film career, Phifer's television credits include leading roles in MTV's highly rated film "Carmen: A Hip-Hopera," in which he did all his own rap work and starred opposite Beyonce Knowles. He appeared in the Emmy Award-winning HBO Original Movie "A Lesson Before Dying," with Don Cheadle and Cicely Tyson, where his subtle performance as a man on death row won rave reviews and also earned him a NAACP Image Award nomination. He tackled the challenging role of portraying NFL Hall Of Famer Gale Sayers in the ABC television special "Brian's Song" and appeared in the celebrated HBO Original Film "The Tuskegee Airmen." He has also made guest appearances on the popular police dramas "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "New York Undercover."
Most recently, he made his directorial debut with the independent comedy "Easier, Softer Way" (2006). He starred in the film whose cast also featured Danny Masterson, Darrell Hammond, Ashley Scott, John C. McGinley, Ronnie Warner, Terry Crews and Mo Collins. The film, produced by Phifer for his newly launched Facilitator Films production company, follows two hapless pot heads unintentionally involved in a scheme to rip off a mysterious character called Big Daddy (played by Phifer) after the duo sours on rehab. Phifer also guest starred on the 2005 season of the critically acclaimed HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm." He next will be seen on the big screen alongside Ray Liotta and Taye Diggs in "Slowburn," out in the spring of 2007.
Phifer currently resides in Los Angeles.