Djimon Hounsou

Djimon Hounsou


Life Story

Djimon Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, in west Africa, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He moved to Lyon, France, when he was thirteen. Hounsou has graced the catwalks of Paris and London as a popular male model. He has since left his modeling career and has worked on Gladiator (2000) by Ridley Scott and Amistad (1997) by Steven Spielberg.



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Name pronounced Jie-mon Hahn-soo.
Came to Paris from Benin at the age of 13, couldn't find a job and ended as a vagrant, sleeping under bridges and rummaging in trash cans for food. Things changed for the better when fashion designer Thierry Mugler discovered him and made him a fashion model.
Was in Janet Jackson video "Love Will Never Do Without You" (1992).
On ER (1994), he played Mobalage Ikabo, a refugee from Nigeria. His actual homeland of Benin shares its largest border with Nigeria.
Eighth black male to receive an Oscar-nomination for acting. The seven others are: 1963 Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field--Best Actor; 1982 Louis Gossett, Jr. for An Officer and a Gentlemen--Best Supporting Actor; 1989 Denzel Washington for Glory--Best Supporting Actor; 1996 Cuba Gooding, Jr. for Jerry Maguire--Best Supporting Actor; 2001 Denzel Washington for Training Day--Best Actor; 2004 Jamie Foxx for Ray--Best Actor; 2004 Morgan Freeman for Million Dollar Baby--Best Supporting Actor; 2006 Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland--Best Actor.
Learned English by watching television.
His ex-fiancée was Kimora Lee Simmons. They were in a relationship from 2007-2012.
Has a son, Kenzo Lee Hounsou, born May 30, 2009. Mother is ex-fiancée Kimora Lee Simmons.


Personal Quotes 

School bored me. Being educated and being intelligent are two different things. I thought I was smart enough. And I wanted to be an entertainer. I stopped going to school as a way of saying I was mature, a way of saying I was going to choose who I was going to become. --Daily News, December 3, 1997.
America has this understanding of Africans that plays like National Geographic: a bunch of Negroes with loincloths running around the plain fields of Africa chasing gazelles. Meanwhile, we have Africans and African-Americans, contemporary men, with great stories, great integrity, great heroes and nobody wants to see or hear about those African heroes and those African-American heroes. One day, I will be in a position to play those great human beings on-screen.
The gym can serve as an excellent place where kids and young men and women can really empty their issues right on the floor.
Africa is my continent. It is where I opened my eyes.
Funny enough, every role that I have had, I try to tone down my accent or speak with better diction.
Africa is a continent that provides so much for the existence of the rest of the world. We go around the world and cultivate so many things.
I was just a very torn child, very wounded in so many areas, with no family support. I happened to the be the fifth child of my family. So everybody was already grown and had left home already.
Some of the reason why you have so many divorces is that we tend to get married, most of the time, not for ourselves, but for others, or for how it looks to others.
I like stories that have a social impact and social attributes to them. That's the whole reason we make films: to broaden our limited view of things and to see how life is evolving elsewhere.



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