Laz Alonso has had many great experiences in his life, but his childhood wasn’t one of them. His mother was an alcoholic and his father was rarely home, and when he was, he made it clear that he wished Laz would have been born a girl. When Laz expressed interest in acting, it only angered his father more – Laz’s mother even tried to bribe him into dropping out of high school and enrolling in an electrician’s course at the local community college instead. Laz Alonso’s Worst Childhood Memories
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In real life
The 3rd child of 7, Laz grew up in a bad neighborhood in Los Angeles. Gangs were prevalent and he was actually kidnapped when he was 6 years old. He ran away from home shortly after that as his abusive father only made things worse by hitting him every time he came home with a dirty shirt. He went back to school after living on his own for a few months but never really got along with his parents or brothers/sisters afterwards.
Laz looks down, almost visibly shaken. When he finally speaks, it is slowly and deliberately. He’s trying to block out any external distractions that might throw him off his story. You see, his life has been an endless stream of shiny red carpets ever since breaking out in Menace II Society back in ’93. He never took a wrong step or a mis-mouthed word made headlines until yesterday…
His first job
As a teenager, Laz worked at his father’s bakery in Queens. He had to get up early and work late. It was exhausting but valuable because it helped him learn how to be disciplined about saving money. I learned how to put my dollars away for future use, he says. And I always invested—if you don’t invest when you have money saved up, then you won’t learn until it’s too late.
How he became an actor
The road to becoming an actor isn’t a well-beaten path. One roadblock Laz faced early on was understanding why he wanted to become an actor, what drove him and motivated him. He says: The truth is, I didn’t know! I saw my dad come home from work every day at like 4 in the morning, drunk and yelling at everyone…I didn’t want that life for myself. Acting was my back up plan.
Before he caught his big break as Mother in Suicide Squad, actor Laz Alonso starred in a number of films, including Prozac Nation, Coach Carter and White T. But it was his role as Will Salas in 2012’s action-thriller Olympus Has Fallen that put him on Hollywood’s radar. He had another notable role in 2015 as Cuban gangster Carlos in Kurt Wimmer’s thriller Equals.
Acting training with Stella Adler
Stella Adler was a famous acting coach. She trained with Sanford Meisner and acted opposite Ralph Bellamy in The Awful Truth (1937). Although she began her career in New York, she spent many years teaching in Hollywood, where she became known as the grandmother of American acting. Stella died on September 12, 1992 at age 94. Her acting school continues to thrive under acting teacher Robert Cohen. – What did you learn from her that is relevant to my story? How has it helped?
How did you get your part?
When I went in to audition, John Singleton knew my name. I’m not sure how he knew it, but he did. He walked up to me and gave me a big hug saying How are you doing my man? My agent had set it up so I could meet him prior to auditioning; they said they were interested in seeing me play Marvin T. Mother’s Milk, one of two members of Westside Boys along with O-Dog played by Omar Gooding.
The character Mother’s Milk was based on OJ Simpson. Do you know who inspired Sweet Pea? Who influenced Gogo Yubari? Who plays Stretch in real life?
While celebrity culture is a huge part of mainstream society, it can be difficult to separate actors from their characters on screen. Do you know who inspired Sweat Pea? Who influenced Gogo Yubari? Which actor plays Stretch in real life? In honor of Father’s Day, we want to share a few stars who grew up with strong fathers. Was yours like them?