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Cedric Antonio Kyles (born April 24, 1964), better known by his stage name Cedric the Entertainer, is an American actor, comedian, and game show host. He hosted BET’s ComicView during the 1993–94 season and Def Comedy Jam in 1995. He is best known for co-starring with Steve Harvey on The WB sitcom The Steve Harvey Show, as one of The Original Kings of Comedy, and for starring as Eddie Walker in Barbershop. He hosted the 12th season of the daytime version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2013–14 and starred in the TV Land original series The Soul Man, which aired from 2012 until 2016. He has also done voice work for Ice Age, the Madagascar film series, Charlotte’s Web and the Planes franchise. In 2019, he will receive a Hollywood walk of fame star.
Cedric Antonio Kyles was born on April 24, 1964 in Jefferson City, Missouri, the son of Rosetta (née Boyce), a schoolteacher, and Kittrell Kyles, an employee of The Missouri Pacific Railroad. His only sibling is his younger sister, Sharita Kyles Wilson, an adjunct communications instructor at the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee
Cedric was raised in Caruthersville, Missouri, but after junior high school he moved to Berkeley, Missouri. He is a graduate of Berkeley High School in St. Louis’s northern suburbs. While Cedric attended Berkeley High, he developed a severe rash on the top of his head, causing him him to wear a hat for most of his career. In 2005, Cedric told CNN he no longer cares about his rash and is proud of it
In 1995, Cedric moved into acting, auditioning and receiving his first-ever role as The Cowardly Lion in the 1995 Apollo Theater Revival of The Wiz. He then expanded his career by aptly playing Steve Harvey’s friend Cedric Jackie Robinson on the sitcom The Steve Harvey Show. He then began appearing in films, including Dr. Dolittle 2, Barbershop, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Big Momma’s House, Ride, Serving Sara, Johnson Family Vacation, Intolerable Cruelty, Man of the House, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Be Cool. Cedric was the subject of controversy when his Barbershop character made unpopular remarks about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. These comments were spoken in character, were part of the script, and he has never apologized for them. In the 2005 animated film Madagascar, Cedric voiced Maurice the aye aye. In October 2005, Cedric joined the Champ Car auto racing series as a part owner. Cedric appeared in the movie Charlotte’s Web as the voice of Golly the gander. While his acting career grew, Cedric continued stand-up and traveled the country as one of the Kings of Comedy headliners, with Steve Harvey, D. L. Hughley and Bernie Mac. The act was later made into a film by Spike Lee, The Original Kings of Comedy. Cedric briefly had his own sketch comedy show, Cedric the Entertainer Presents, but it was canceled after one season. The show had been renewed for a second season, but Fox canceled it before the season began. He then appeared in the 2003 PlayStation 2 video game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004. His most recent HBO Comedy Special was Cedric The Entertainer: Taking You Higher. Two of the background dancers from the special were Kamilah Barrett and Sandra Colton, who were also finalists in Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. He also recorded comedic interludes on two multi-platinum selling albums, Nelly’s Country Grammar (2000) and Jay-Z’s Black Album (2003).
In the 2007 comedy film Code Name: The Cleaner, Cedric plays Jake, a janitor with amnesia who may be a secret undercover government agent involved in an illegal arms conspiracy. He then starred in the 2008 films Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins and Street Kings.
Cedric at the June 2008 premiere of Get Smart
Cedric appeared as the lead comedian at the White House Correspondents Dinner but jokingly remarked that he was unprepared because he thought that he would follow a humorous speech by President George W. Bush but instead followed First Lady Laura Bush, who said he was “hilarious” and “probably the funniest person” she had ever met.
Cedric was inducted to the St. Louis Walk of Fame on June 7, 2008. His star is at 6166 Delmar.
Cedric was the special guest host for WWE Raw on September 21, 2009, in Little Rock, Arkansas. During the show, he participated in a wrestling match, defeating Chavo Guerrero by pinfall. The match also featured Santino Marella as a guest referee. Cedric also got help from an unknown wrestler dubbed The Sledge Hammer (played by Imani Lee) and Hornswoggle.
In March 2010, Cedric made his directorial debut with Dance Fu, produced and funded independently by his company Bird and a Bear Entertainment with producer Eric C. Rhone. The film starred comedian Kel Mitchell. Cedric made a cameo appearance in the film as a Homicide detective. It was released straight-to-DVD on October 4, 2011.
Cedric appeared in the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo,” the story of three small-time crooks who come to blows during a plot to steal a valuable coin collection.
In a June 21, 2011 interview, Cedric confirmed that his latest reality game show, It’s Worth What?, was going to air on July 12, 2011 on NBC, but the start date was delayed by one week to July 19. Starting in 2012, Cedric played the main character in the TV Land original series, The Soul Man, featuring Niecy Nash. The series ran for five seasons and ended in 2016.
Cedric was the host of the classic American TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire beginning with its 12th season in national syndication, which premiered on September 2, 2013. “With his deep roots as a legendary stand-up comedian and actor, Cedric will bring his fresh approach and unpredictable fun to the show,” said Janice Marinelli, president, Disney-ABC Domestic Television. On April 30, 2014, Cedric announced that he was leaving Who Wants to Be a Millionaire after the 2013–14 season to focus on his busy schedule. Terry Crews took over as host on September 8, 2014.
Cedric is married to Lorna Wells. They have two children, Croix (born 2000) and Lucky Rose (born 2003); Cedric also has a daughter Tiara from a previous relationship.
He continues his involvement with his high school by awarding a scholarship each year to a graduating senior through his Cedric the Entertainer Charitable Foundation Inc. The foundation’s motto is, “Reaching Out…Giving Back.” Cedric majored in Mass Communication at Southeast Missouri State University and worked as a State Farm insurance claims adjuster, and substitute high school teacher before becoming a full-time comedian. He is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. In May 2015, he was awarded the Honorary Doctorate Degree in Fine Arts and Humanities from Lincoln University of Missouri (his parents’ alma mater).