Christopher Tucker (born August 31, 1971) is an American actor and stand-up comedian. He is known for playing the role of Smokey in F. Gary Gray‘s Friday and as Detective James Carter in Brett Ratner‘s Rush Hour film series. He became a frequent stand up performer on Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s. He appeared in Luc Besson‘s The Fifth Element, Quentin Tarantino‘s Jackie Brown, David O. Russell‘s Silver Linings Playbook, and Brett Ratner’s Money Talks.
In 1992, Tucker was a frequent performer on Def Comedy Jam. He made his cinematic debut in House Party 3 and gained greater film recognition alongside rapper Ice Cube in the 1995 film Friday. In 1997, he co-starred with Charlie Sheen in Money Talks and alongside Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element.
Along with Jackie Chan, Tucker starred in the 1998 martial arts action comedy Rush Hour and its sequels, Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3, in which he played Detective James Carter, an LAPD detective. After the commercial success of the first Rush Hour, he held out for a $20 million salary for Rush Hour 2, and was paid $25 million for Rush Hour 3. The latter was part of a $40 million two-movie contract with New Line Cinema that also included an unnamed future film. He was also to receive 20% of the gross from Rush Hour 3.
Tucker did not reprise his role as Smokey in Next Friday (2000) or in Friday After Next (2002) because he had become a born-again Christian after filming Money Talks (1997). He starred in Michael Jackson‘s video “You Rock My World” and made a cameo appearance in Tupac Shakur’s “California Love“. On February 13, 1999, Tucker participated in the NBA All-Star Weekend‘s Celebrity Game. Other celebrities participating included rapper Master P, NBA Hall of Famers Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins, wide receiver Terrell Owens, and four Harlem Globetrotters.
Tucker was announced in 2007 to star in the New Line drama film Mr. S: My Life with Frank Sinatra, directed by Brett Ratner and based on George Jacobs’s autobiography of working as Frank Sinatra‘s valet during the Rat Pack era of 1953–68.
In 2011, Tucker made a comeback to stand-up comedy. The next year, he returned to film in the Academy Award winning drama Silver Linings Playbook, co-starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert De Niro. Tucker’s performance in the film was well received by critics and audiences alike. The film itself received numerous nominations and awards including the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast. He also hosted the 2013 BET Awards.