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Reed Smoot

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Actor-singer Jussie Smollett was a juvenile performer in features like "The Mighty Ducks" (1992), but remained largely in the shadow of his younger sister, Jurnee ("Friday Night Lights," NBC/The 101, 2006-2011) before earning his breakout role on Lee Daniels' "Empire" (Fox, 2015- ). Born Jussie Langston Mikha Smollett on June 21, 1983 in Santa Rosa, Brazil, he was one of six performing siblings raised by his parents, Joel and June Smollett. Like his siblings Jurnee and Jake, Smollett began acting as a child, landing ensemble roles in "The Mighty Ducks" and the miniseries "Alex Haley's Queen" (CBS, 1993). The following year, he co-starred with all five of his siblings in the ABC sitcom "On Our Own" (1994-1995), about a brood of seven brothers and sisters who are being raised by the eldest sibling (comedian Ralph Louis Harris) after the death of their parents. Following the show's cancellation, Smollett left acting for more than a decade, choosing instead to focus on a career in music. In 2009, he appeared in "Pitch This," a comedy short written and produced by his brother Jake, before taking the lead in the independent gay-themed drama "The Skinny" (2012). That same year, he released a music EP, The...

Actor-singer Jussie Smollett was a juvenile performer in features like "The Mighty Ducks" (1992), but remained largely in the shadow of his younger sister, Jurnee ("Friday Night Lights," NBC/The 101, 2006-2011) before earning his breakout role on Lee Daniels' "Empire" (Fox, 2015- ). Born Jussie Langston Mikha Smollett on June 21, 1983 in Santa Rosa, Brazil, he was one of six performing siblings raised by his parents, Joel and June Smollett. Like his siblings Jurnee and Jake, Smollett began acting as a child, landing ensemble roles in "The Mighty Ducks" and the miniseries "Alex Haley's Queen" (CBS, 1993). The following year, he co-starred with all five of his siblings in the ABC sitcom "On Our Own" (1994-1995), about a brood of seven brothers and sisters who are being raised by the eldest sibling (comedian Ralph Louis Harris) after the death of their parents. Following the show's cancellation, Smollett left acting for more than a decade, choosing instead to focus on a career in music. In 2009, he appeared in "Pitch This," a comedy short written and produced by his brother Jake, before taking the lead in the independent gay-themed drama "The Skinny" (2012). That same year, he released a music EP, The Poisoned Hearts Club, but soon focused on acting as his primary medium. Guest roles on "The Mindy Project" (Fox, 2012-15; Hulu, 2015- ) and "Revenge" (ABC, 2011-15) preceded his return to series regular work on "Empire." The drama, created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, featured Smollett as a singer-songwriter whose homosexuality alienated him from his father (Terrence Howard), the terminally ill head of a hip-hop record label.

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