When one thinks of Jamie Foxx, until his recent health problems it is most likely would have been for his genius stand-up, smooth singing ability, and Academy Award-winning acting skills. However, the multi-hyphenate is also a shrewd businessman with an estimated net worth of $170 million.
Born in 1967 as Eric Marlon Bishop, the Texas native grew up under the watchful eyes of his strict religious grandparents Esther Marie and Mark Talley, who raised him from birth. He learned to play piano, sing and developed a knack for making people laugh — a skill set that allowed him to earn a scholarship to the United States International University.
While at USIU, he studied musical and performing art composition, launched his comedy career, and in 1989, he first started doing stand-up comedy at local clubs.
Within three years, he took his career to new heights. In 1991, he landed a role on the hit Fox show, “In Living Color.”
During his time on the show, he starred in a movie called “Toys,” he released his first stand-up comedy special, “Jamie Foxx: Straight from the Foxxhole,” in 1993. On the 57-minute show, he impersonated Michael Jackson, Prince, Mike Tyson and Bill Cosby, and performed a medley of songs from his debut album, “Peep This.”
Despite having the break-out special, Foxx remained a cast regular on “In Living Color” until 1994 when the show was canceled. From there he parlayed his tenure with Keenen Ivory Wayans’ smash variety series into his own sitcom, “The Jamie Foxx Show. “
Foxx’s sitcom picked up 100 episodes and ran from 1996 to 2001. While filming it, his movie career took off, placing him on a trajectory to be recognized as one of Hollywood’s most gifted actors.
One of Foxx’s biggest films that moved him out of the strict funnyman lane was the Oliver Stone drama “Any Given Sunday.” The 1999 star-studded cast included actors like Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Clifton Davis, LL Cool J, Jim Brown, Dennis Quad, Terrell Owens, Bill Bellamy, Lela Rochon, Duane Martin, and more.
Three pivotal films for his career came after that, shifting him to being one of the top-paid and most sought-after Black actors in the game: “Ali” in 2001, “Collateral” in 2004, and the biopic “Ray” in 2005.
Foxx starred opposite Will Smith in “Ali” as Drew “Bundini” Brown, the assistant trainer and cornerman to the heavyweight champion.
While the cast received rave reviews — Smith even secured an Oscar nomination and the film grossed almost $90 million at the box office — it was his roles in “Collateral” opposite Tom Cruise and “Ray”, where he starred as the famed singer Ray Charles, that earned Foxx his own Academy Award nods.
The Oscar Belongs To …
Foxx’s portrayal of Charles, for which he is rumored to have received $5 million to play, received high praise from movie critics, many of whom noted his uncanny mimicry of the rhythm and blues singer’s conversational voice (the producers opted to use original masters for the film). Robert Ebert celebrated Foxx’s physical embodiment of the star, saying, “Foxx correctly interprets the musician’s body language as a kind of choreography, in which he was conducting his music with himself, instead of with a baton.”
“Foxx so accurately reflects my own images and memories of Charles,” the critic added, “that I abandoned thoughts of how much ‘like’ Charles he was and just accepted him as Charles.”
“Ray” would go on to make approximately $124 million at the box office.
In 2005, Foxx would also be nominated for two Oscars. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the crime series “Collateral.” The same year he won the top esteemed award for “Ray,” making him the first African American to be nominated for an acting Oscar in two categories in the same year and the third to ever win “Best Actor.”
$12 Million Baby
The stamp of ultimate Hollywood validation came in 2007 when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Now considered box office gold, his filmography covers multiple genres and includes titles like “Stealth,” “Jarhead,” “Miami Vice,” the award-winning film adaptation of the stage show “Dreamgirls,” “The Soloist,” “Law Abiding Citizen,” Valentine’s Day,” “I’m Still Here,” “Due Date,” “Horrible Bosses,” “Django Unchained,” “White House Down,” “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” “Horrible Bosses 2,” “Annie,” “Sleepless,” and “Baby Driver.”
Films that he believes in like the 2014 “Annie,” he was only reportedly paid $5 million. Likewise for “Django,” he is said to have taken home only $10 million.
Not only a talent for hire but his Foxx King Entertainment production company is the umbrella company for projects he produces — including “Ray,” and “Django.”
Film is not the only creative space where he has thrived.
His comedy specials, “Jamie Foxx Unleashed: Lost, Stolen and Leaked!” (2003), “The Foxx Boxx Collection” (2004), and “Jamie Foxx Presents Laffapalooza” (2003-2006), afforded him the space to keep his comedic skills sharpened.
The same can be said for his Sirius XM channel, Foxxhole Radio. The channel launched shows not only for himself but also for personalities like Claudia Jordan and “The Speedy Show.”
“She Gives Me Money …”
Another avenue is his music career. As a singer, Foxx has released five studio albums but made the most money working with other artists as a songwriter, music producer, or featured artist. His top songs are “Unpredictable” (featuring Ludacris), “Blame It” (featuring T-Pain), and “Fall for Your Type” (featuring Drake). His album “Unpredictable” went platinum, selling 1.98 million copies in the U.S., and reached No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and U.S. R&B charts.
Foxx also lent his vocals to No. 1 singles “Slow Jamz” by Twista (featuring Kanye West) and “Gold Digger” by Kanye West.
Foxx is also a gameshow host with his daughter, Corrine, on “Beat Shazam” a new version of the “Name that Tune” show, that combines his music and comedic genius. He allegedly makes $3 million a year for the show.
Outside of entertainment, he has investments in several brands. In March 2021, he became the owner of BSB-Brown Sugar Bourbon, according to Forbes. As slick as a fox, the entrepreneur scored a massive business deal in 2022, linking the brand with TGI Fridays as the bourbon used in their sauces for ribs and chicken.
Around the same time, he and his partner Datari Turner inked a production deal with ViacomCBS MTV Entertainment Group to develop and executive produce programming for BIPOC audiences on the MTVE portfolio, according to Deadline.
Earlier in 2023, while filming “Back in Action” Foxx suffered a mysterious illness that substantially altered his life. His friends and family say that Foxx is working toward a speedy recovery while admitting that he is “still not himself” and in need of prayers.
While many are waiting for updates, his family has moved forward with renovations on his $20.5 million, 10-bedroom home. It’s unclear if he has been staying in the home during recovery, but with the new fixing, the businessman might be the best place to bounce back and pick up his epic career where he last left it.
Until then, fans can catch the star on the new Netflix film, “They Cloned Tyrone” which debuts on the streaming service on July 14.