by Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
An actor and comic whose charm and good looks often offset his sometimes outrageous material, Bill Bellamy is a performer who has been happily juggling careers in television, movies, and comedy clubs since rising to fame in the mid-'90s. Born on April 7, 1965, in Newark, NJ, Bill Bellamy's career as a performer began while he was a student at Rutgers University. Bellamy was persuaded to take part in a men's beauty pageant, and needing to do something for the talent competition, he worked up a standup comedy routine. Bellamy quickly discovered he enjoyed making people laugh, and began honing his skills at small comedy clubs around the country. Bellamy's skills as a comic came to the attention of the producer of the TV series Showtime at the Apollo, where he was given a guest spot. Bellamy's appearance was a major success, leading to an appearance on HBO's Def Comedy Jam and his own special on Showtime. Bellamy next enjoyed a five-year run as host of the series MTV Jams, and in 1996, starred in his own short-lived TV series, The Bill Bellamy Show. Bellamy made his feature-film debut in 1993 with a bit part in the hip-hop comedy Who's the Man?, but his big-screen career began in earnest in 1997, with a role in the acclaimed independent romantic comedy Love Jones. That same year, Bellamy scored his first lead in a movie when he starred in Def Jam's How to Be a Player. Since then, Bellamy has won showy roles in well-reviewed feature films such as Any Given Sunday and The Brothers, and has been a regular on the television comedy series Men, Women and Dogs (he's also done voice work on the animated series Cousin Skeeter). When not busy with his screen career, Bellamy continues to perform at comedy clubs; in his personal life, Bellamy married his longtime girlfriend, actress Kristen Baker, in 2001.
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