Wesley Snipes is a name that resonates with action movie fans worldwide. He is an actor, film producer, and martial artist who has made a significant impact in Hollywood, starring in blockbuster hits such as Blade, New Jack City, and Passenger 57. In this article, we will delve into the life and career of this Hollywood icon.
Early Life and Career
Wesley Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, on July 31, 1962. He grew up in the South Bronx, New York City, and started training in martial arts at a young age. Snipes holds a fifth-degree black belt in Shotokan karate and a second-degree black belt in Hapkido. His martial arts skills helped him land his first major movie role in the 1986 film Wildcats, where he played the role of a high school football player.
However, it wasn’t until his breakout role in the 1991 film New Jack City that Snipes gained recognition as a serious actor. Throughout the 1990s, he became a prominent figure in Hollywood, starring in numerous action films such as Passenger 57, Drop Zone, and U.S. Marshals. He also co-starred alongside other prominent actors like Sylvester Stallone, Sean Connery, and Robert De Niro.
Iconic Role as Blade
In 1998, Snipes landed his most iconic role as the vampire hunter Blade in the movie of the same name. The Blade franchise, consisting of three films, grossed over $400 million worldwide and turned Snipes into a box-office superstar. He brought his martial arts skills to the screen, creating a new breed of a superhero who fought against vampires in a world where they were in control.
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Aside from his acting career, Snipes has also dabbled in producing and directing. He produced the 1997 film Murder at 1600 and directed the 2000 film Disappearing Acts, which was based on the novel of the same name by Terry McMillan. However, it was his production company, Amen Ra Films, that brought him the most success as a producer, producing several of his own films, including Blade and Blade II.
In 2006, Snipes made headlines when he was indicted on charges of tax evasion. The actor was accused of failing to file tax returns and failing to pay millions of dollars in taxes. Snipes maintained his innocence, claiming that he was a victim of bad advice from his financial advisors. In 2008, he was convicted and sentenced to three years in federal prison.
Comeback to Acting
After serving his sentence, Snipes made a comeback to acting, starring in films such as Brooklyn’s Finest and The Expendables 3. He also starred in the NBC drama series The Player, which aired for one season in 2015. In 2021, Snipes returned to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, reprising his role as Blade in the upcoming film of the same name, set for release in 2023.
Speculations about Health Issues
In 2013, while serving a three-year sentence for tax evasion, there were reports that Snipes had been diagnosed with a medical condition that required urgent attention. Some media outlets speculated that he was suffering from a potentially life-threatening illness, but no official confirmation was made. Snipes’ representatives denied the reports and stated that he was in good health. Since his release from prison in 2013, Snipes has continued to work in the entertainment industry and has not publicly discussed any health issues.