Actor Michael B. Jordan was born in Santa Ana, California, on February 9, 1987. Though not an NJ native by birth, he and his family relocated to Newark when Jordan was 2 years old. That’s right, before he was Killmonger, or Apollo Creed’s son, he was an NJ kid growing up in Brick City. As a child, he was home schooled and spent his free time playing basketball. But it wasn’t long until he got into modeling and performing.
Jordan began as a catalog model in his pre-teen years, working for companies like Modell’s and Toys “R” Us. By the time he was 12 years old, he already appeared in episodes of shows like The Sopranos and Cosby. Then, he made his big screen debut in the 2001 Keanu Reeves film Hardball. (Right around the time he started attending Newark Arts High School.) Other onscreen credits include The Wire, All My Children, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Cold Case and Burn Notice.
After landing a starring role in NBC series Friday Night Lights, Jordan moved to Austin, Texas for the gig. The series ran from 2009-2011. The following year, he appeared in the American war film, Red Tails, produced by Star Wars creator George Lucas. This appearance, as well as his roles in Chronicle and Fruitvale Station, gained Jordan critical acclaim. By 2015, studios were considering him for major roles.
For example, 20th Century Fox cast Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in their Fantastic Four reboot. Later in 2015, he played Adonis Creed, son of late boxer Apollo Creed, in the Rocky-franchise film, Creed. To prepare for the role, he endured a rigorous boxing and physical fitness regimen for an entire year.
In February 2018, Jordan starred as antagonist Erik Killmonger in the Marvel superhero film Black Panther. The film was a blockbuster hit, appealing to superhero fans and film fanatics alike. Jordan’s villainous turn soon became a fan favorite; in fact, he even won “Best Villain” for the role at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards.
Shortly thereafter, Jordan secured a role in the HBO dystopian film Fahrenheit 451, based on the book by Ray Bradbury. Toward the end of 2018, Creed II released to mostly positive reviews. Not surprisingly, Jordan’s reprisal performance as Adonis Creed was once again praised.
Presently, Jordan continues to film television shows and movies. Meanwhile, he has left his stamp on the Garden State, and never forgets his hometown. In particular, he visits Newark schools to speak and inspire students who want to pursue the arts. Jordan frequently returns to Newark for movie premieres and local celebrations, always embracing his roots.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
Patriarca12 / Wikimedia Commons
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons