Terrence Howard stars in the new Dick Wolf drama Law & Order: Los Angeles as Deputy District Attorney Jonah "Joe" Dekker.
Academy Award nominee Howard exploded onto the Hollywood scene in 2005 after delivering powerful performances in a number of film and TV productions. Howard has garnered multiple nominations, including Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, as well as awards for Breakthrough Actor by the National Board of Review, Movieline and the Gotham Awards. Crowned as the "Indie Film King" by Entertainment Weekly, he has also received the Rising Star Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival; the Renaissance Artist Award from the Diversity Awards; and the Career Achievement Award from the Chicago International Film Festival.
For his leading role in John Singleton's "Hustle & Flow," Howard received nominations for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, an Image Award, and an Independent Spirit Award, and won the Satellite Award for Best Actor. The song which he performs in the film received a Critics' Choice Award, and became the first rap song ever to receive an Academy Award. The cast also received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Ensemble.
For the Oscar-winning Best Picture "Crash," which was nominated for a Gotham Award and swept up an Oscar at the 2006 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Howard and the all-star cast - including Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon - received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble.
Keeping a powerful presence on the small screen as well, Howard was seen in the HBO film "Lackawanna Blues" directed by George C. Wolfe, and based on Tony Award-winning Ruben Santiago-Hudson's autobiographical play. The cast, which includes Jeffrey Wright and S. Epatha Merkerson, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. In 2006, Howard took on a new role as host of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series "Independent Lens," a showcase for independent filmmakers that introduces a new drama or documentary every episode.
Howard's love for acting came naturally through summers spent with his grandmother, New York stage actress Minnie Gentry. He later began his acting career on "The Cosby Show" after being discovered on a New York City street by a casting director. The chance encounter helped Howard break into feature films, and soon he was cast in such films as "Mr. Holland's Opus."
Howard's memorable performances are of scene-stealing characters such as Cowboy in the Hughes brothers' film "Dead Presidents," and as Quentin in Malcolm D. Lee's film "The Best Man." The latter earned him a NAACP Image Award, Independent Spirit Award nomination and a Chicago Film Critics Award nomination.
Howard is currently starring as Nelson Mandela in "Winnie" opposite Jennifer Hudson. His other film credits include "Pride" opposite Bernie Mac, where he plays swim coach Jim Ellis, who starts a swim team for troubled teens at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation; John Singleton's crime drama "Angel Eyes"; "Harts War"; "Four Brothers"; "Idlewild"; and Jim Sheridan's "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."
He most recently lent his voice to "The Princess and the Frog" along with Oprah Winfrey and Anika Noni Rose. His most recent projects include Dito Montiel's "Fighting" with Channing Tatum and Paramount's "Iron Man" opposite Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jeff Bridges, which is based on the famed comic book series. He also recently starred in the Warner Bros. thriller "The Brave One" with Jodie Foster, "The Hunting Party" with Richard Gere, "August Rush" with Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and The Weinstein Company's "Awake" with Jessica Alba and Hayden Christensen. He will next be seen in Lucas Films' "Red Tails" with Cuba Gooding Jr., and in "Little Murder" with Josh Lucas.
In 2008, he made his Broadway and stage debut in the revival of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," directed by Debbie Allen and starring opposite Phylicia Rashad, James Earl Jones and Anika Noni Rose.
A self-taught musician, Howard plays both the piano and the guitar. His musical talents were seen on the big screen opposite Jamie Foxx in 2004's "Ray," for which they both earned a SAG nomination. In 2008, Howard released his debut album "Shine Through It" with Columbia Records, which he wrote, produced and performed.
Howard is also an active philanthropist. He partnered with the Daimler Chrysler Foundation in 2007 and helped to garner a donation of $35,000 to the Kaleidoscope program at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. He also recently became an Ambassador for the EIF National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and was announced as the Mentor Foundation's 2009 Global Ambassador for the promotion of health and well being of children around the world.
DDA Dekker is a white knight crusader whose political ambitions often bring him in conflict with his boss. He sincerely believes in fighting the good fight. At the same time, he has never been one to turn down a high profile case.