Courtney B. Vance is more than your average Hollywood celebrity. Vance is an actor that is respected amongst his colleagues and praised as one of the best actors in the entertainment industry. He’s a dedicated father, husband and contributor to society. “I get up early, go to bed late, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. And I pray a lot,” said Vance.
Vance has portrayed a number of roles on television and the big screen. His upcoming role as Johnnie Cochran in FX’s American Crime Story is receiving a lot of media attention. “I read as much as I could,” said Vance. “I wasn’t going to imitate his mannerisms. I didn’t want to spend my time imitating, so I read as much as I could and then jumped in. And doing that freed me up to the prodigious amount of work that was the role entailed.”
The biggest misconception behind the upcoming mini-series is that there is no smoke or gun. “We’re not going to boast anything,” reassured Vance. “The case is the case. The story is mirrored after the Jeffrey Toobin’s book The Run of His Life The People v. O.J. Simpson. We’re looking at the legal politics and race of the decision that led to the jury’s decision. Everyone’s emotions were involved.” Vance believes that everyone around the country took a stance during the O.J. trials. People, like Vance, watched the footage every day. “I think one of the things that is interesting is that we as people looked at this case as a watershed for our country and we based our lives on what happened with it. That’s the problem with today, we didn’t resolve so much during the trial and it’s coming back to haunt us,” said Vance. There’s no doubt that Vance’s passion and honesty further solidify his role as the late Johnnie Cochran.
Vance was born in Detroit Michigan, graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts and later attended Yale School of Drama to earn his Master of Fine Arts where he met his wife Angela Bassett. Faith plays a big role in Vance’s life. When Vance was casted as Reverend Henry Biggs in The Preacher’s Wife, he felt an overwhelming need to get in touch with his faith. “I knew I wasn’t going to get into that role without coming to the Lord. I had been trying to do that my whole life,” said Vance. “My family was raised in a church and then we stopped going to church when I was about nine or ten – so I was on that search. I didn’t really understand how much I needed my faith until I got married.” Vance went on to say, “Two become one – it’s a mystery and I needed help and to know how to do it.” Through counseling, service and scripture, Vance found God and now he and Angela are giving their children an understanding of the Lord. “They were christened by the church. The whole church knows them and loves them. They’re in the scouts and bible study,” said Vance.
All in all, Vance wears many hats and makes it appear relatively easy. He’s only takes on roles that mean something and he’s able to live out a fulfilled life with extreme humbleness. Vance says that overcoming obstacles speaks to him. “You have to choose whether you’re going to stand up and be right even if it’s going to cost you something,” said Vance. And that’s exactly what Vance does – he stands up!