Laz Alonso

Before launching a successful acting career, Laz Alonso worked on Wall Street, before beoming a TV host, and then having his pop culture moment in the famous Budweiser "Wassup" ad campaign. Then he broke through as an actor, including a featured role in the biggest movie of all time, "Avatar" (2009). Laz Alonso, who is of Latin and African-American descent, was born on March 25, 1974, in Washington, D.C. After graduating from the Howard University School of Business, Alonso got a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration, and went to work as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch on Wall Street. Then Alonso formed his own marketing business, which gave him a freer schedule to study acting at night and look for gigs. Alonso won roles in commercials and music videos, including the promo for Toni Braxton's single "Hit the Freeway." for Toni Braxton, then he became an overnight pop culture sensation co-starring in Budweiser's "Wassup" ad campaign, which debuted during the Super Bowl in 1999. Alonso won an Emmy for his performance in the series of commercials, which spawned a temporarily unavoidable catchphrase. After hosting the morning news and talk show "A.M.@BET" (BET 2000-01), Alonso began working steadily in small TV and film roles. His first high-profile film role came in the Chris Rock comedy "Down to Earth" (2001), followed by appearances in films like the Iraq War drama "Jarhead" (2005), dance-off competition "Stomp the Yard" (2007), and the action sequel "Fast & Furious" (2009). He played the key role of alien warrior Tsu'Tey in the biggest box-office success of all time, James Cameron's lavish fantasy "Avatar" (2009). His next major film, the romantic comedy-drama "Jumping the Broom" (2011), found him playing his first leading-man role. Alonso then returned to the small screen with a supporting role on the short-lived soapy drama "Deception" (NBC 2013). After that series was canceled, he moved to a co-starring role on the comedy-drama "The Mysteries of Laura" (NBC 2014-16) as police detective Billy Soto, partner of the headstrong title character Laura Diamond (Debra Messing).