Morris Chestnut's career makes a case for the argument that for the bulk of the '90s, there simply were not enough good roles for talented African-American actors. After making an impressive debut as Ricky in John Singleton's Boyz 'N the Hood, Chestnut spent several years wallowing in television, appearing in made-for-TV movies and doomed series. Chestnut, born in Cerrios, CA, on New Years Day 1969, majored in drama and finance at California State University. Little is known about his personal life. Chestnut admitted in a 2001 interview with Essence.com that he doesn't enjoy giving interviews or discussing his private life, but then let it slip that he is married.
Chestnut's first professional acting role was in Boyz 'N the Hood in 1991. He followed that up with roles in various TV movies, as well as a part on Patti LaBelle's short-lived sitcom Out All Night. Chestnut continued to steadily, but he often had only bit parts in throwaway, big-budget films, like 1995's Under Siege 2 or 1997's G.I. Jane. But as the decade ended, movies about young, professional African-Americans and their problems with family and relationships began to fill the cineplexes, creating roles for Chestnut and all the other talented black actors stuck in minor TV and film roles. In 1999, Chestnut starred in The Best Man with Taye Diggs and Nia Long, playing a professional athlete who doesn't know that his soon-to-be wife dallied with his best man -- who is about to release those details in his first novel, a Roman à clef about their time in college. The Best Man earned pretty good reviews, did well at the box office, and even earned Chestnut a NAACP Image Award nomination for his performance. He followed it up with The Brothers, another film centering on the themes of fidelity and success among urban professionals. Chestnut joined Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for a supporting role in The Game Plan (2007), a family-oriented sports comedy, and became known for his portrayal of Ryan Nicholas on V, a sci-fi television drama from ABC. ~ Stephanie M. Kuenn, Rovi