Actor Mark Curry is best known as the star of the ABC-TV hit sitcom "Hangin With Mr. Cooper," which aired for five successful seasons. The show continues to air in syndication, proving to be a huge ratings success for ABC—and making Mark one of the most sought after actor/comedians today. Mark has successfully managed to make the jump from television to movies, landing a starring role in the feature film "THE FANATICS." In this sports— comedy, Mark portrays "Fly Walker," a professional football player who is kidnapped by several angry fans after his football team moves out of state. The films ensemble cast includes Ed Asner ("Lou Grant") and Barry Corbin (Northern Exposure"). The film was scheduled for release in November 1997.
Mark recently returned to his stand-up roots by taping a 1HOUR HBO COMEDY SPECIAL at The Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California. The special, entitled MARK CURRY - THE OTHER SIDE.," premiered last August. This event marked the first time a comedy special had ever been taped at The Paramount or in the City of Oakland. It was also an extremely proud moment for the city of Oakland as their favorite native son made a victorious return.
With all of the success that "Cooper" has brought to Curry, he literally cannot walk down the street unrecognized. At 6 foot 6, this ex-basketball player is adored by tans of all ages. The series "Hangin With Mr. Cooper" was partly based on his own experiences and even takes place in Oakland, California, where Curry was born and raised as the youngest of eight children.
Curry always wanted to give comedy a try, having grown up idolizing such comedians as Richard Pryor. A strong believer in higher education, Curry attended the California State University of Hayward eventually leaving to manage a local drugstore in Oakland. While working in the drugstore, he began to experience an intense desire to perform his comedy, In 1987, encouraged by his customers whom he constantly kept in stitches, Curry made his comedic debut in an Oakland comedy club. An immediate success, he began headlining at all the major comedy clubs in San Francisco and Oakland anti quickly became the citys most sought-after stand-up comedian. His tremendous success eventually led to comedy club bookings throughout the country and all over the world. By 1989, Curry was able to quit his (lay job at the drugstore and pursue his comedy career full-time.
Currys big break came when fellow comedian Damon Wayans caught his act in a Bay Area comedy club and invited him to he his opening act. After successfully touring with Wayans, Curry next went on to open for Whitney Houston at the 1991 Super Bowl pre—game concert. Mark quickly began attracting incredible attention in the world of comedy culminating with the taping of his very own half—hour HBO "One Night Stand." The tremendous success of Currys HBO Special caught the attention of ABC-TV talent executives who quickly signed Mark on to star in his own sitcom. 1992 marked the premiere of "Hangin With Mr. Cooper," the show that went on to make Mark an international star.
Mark has since gone on to make regular appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno," "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Late Night With Conan OBrien." In addition, Mark has hosted "New Years Rockin Eve" and "The Jim Thorpe Pro—Sports Awards" for three years in a row. He also hosted the popular syndicated "Showtime At The Apollo" for three ears.
Curry still manages to find the time to perform his stand—up corned in sold-out comedy clubs and concerts across the country. Although \larks last rise to stardom and success does have a fairy tale quality to it, he still remains an extremely grounded person. He spends a great deal of his spare time with his family in Oakland and returns frequently to give back to the very city he grew up in. Last summer \lark spoke to over 50 schools in the Oakland School District encouraging kids to stay in school and off of drugs, citing himself as a perfect example of someone who had a dream and made it come true.