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Michael Jai White (born November 10, 1967) is an American actor and professional martial artist who has appeared in numerous films and television series.
White first appeared in The Toxic Avenger Part II. He also made a brief appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze and NYPD Blue as a uniformed police officer who was the younger brother of Lieutenant Arthur Fancy (played by James McDaniel). His first major starring role and breakout performance was in the 1995 HBO film Tyson, as heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson. He portrayed the titular character in the 1997 movie Spawn, making him the first African American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture. His work in Spawn earned him a nomination for the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Male Newcomer. White starred opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Soldier: The Return. In 2001 he also starred opposite fellow martial artist Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds. In 2003, he starred in Busta Rhymes’ and Mariah Carey’s music video “I Know What You Want”. Since 2003, in addition to his on screen roles, White has been doing voice work, including Static Shock, Justice League, and the upcoming Spawn series. White showcases his martial arts skills in the direct-to-DVD film Undisputed II: Last Man Standing. He also appears in Michelle Yeoh’s Silver Hawk in 2004. His film, Why Did I Get Married? opened at number one at the box office on October 12, 2007. White’s latest role is portraying the mob boss ‘Gambol’ in the Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight. He is also starring in the film Blood and Bone which is slated for a 2009 release.
White was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but as his career took off, he moved to Brooklyn, New York. He is an accomplished martial artist, holding seven legitimate black belts in Shotokan, Tae Kwon Do, Kobudo, Goju Ryu, Tang Soo Do, Wushu and Kyokushin, with a specific focus in Kyokushin (although his style incorporates aspects of many different martial arts forms). White started martial arts training at the age of 7. In August 2005 he wed his girlfriend of two years, Courtenay Chatman, an OB/GYN who trained in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The couple have a daughter named Morgan Michelle who was born on December 24th, 2008. Michael has two other sons from a previous relationship.