NorthernNotes

Larenz Tate

Larenz Tate was born September 8, 1975 on the Westside of Chicago where he also grew up with his older brothers Larron and Lahmard. He moved to Los Angeles as a teenager where he was later discovered and casted in a CBS remake of the Twilight Zone. He later appeared on 21 Jump Street(1987), The Wonder Years(1988), The Women of Brewster's Place(1989), The Royal Family(1991) and South Central(1994).

Though his TV appearances were quite frequent, what made him famous was his depiction of O-Dog, a 16-year-old gangster, in the movie Menace II Society (1993). After this grounbreaking performance, the movie roles started rolling in. He played in The Inkwell(1994), Dead Presidents(1995), Love Jones(1997), The Postman(1997) and Why Do Fools Fall In Love(1998). What makes him such a great actor is his versatility. He has played a gangster, a war veteran, a poet, and a singer and portrayed them with absolute perfection.

I had the pleasure of meeting this fine, black man on two occasions. At age 15, I had just seen Menace II Society and had already declared him my future husband. I was at the mall, on the Westside of Chicago where I live, shopping for shoes. While talking to the salesperson, I noticed him strolling the mall. Immediately my heart began to race and I yelled to my friend, "There's Larenz Tate." She tried to assure that it was not him, but I knew my man and instantly began to follow him. As I gained closer, I guess he sensed my presence and turned around with his guards up. I had scared him. He immediately laughed at himself, gave me his heart winning smile and apologized. He was exactly how I thought he'd be; fine, nice and very down-to-earth. He asked me to show him where some stores were and showed me nothing but love. Needless to say, I didn't wash the hand he shook for a week.

Then when I was 17-years-old, I met him again in the most unusual place. In front of my house!!! I was leaving the house with my brother and his girlfriend and someone approached us trying to sell us candy for a child's school fundraiser. I looked closer and yep, it was him. Hey, I feel we're meant to be. How many people do you know who meets their dream celebrity twice?

NorthernNotes from Northern Illinois University

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