Irving Rameses "Ving" Rhames (born May 12, 1959) is a Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated actor ("Don King: Only in America," and "Pulp Fiction," as well as "Mission: Impossible").
The fabulous actor stars as Lieutenant Theo Kojak in "Kojak," a USA Network original series which premiered in March 2005. "Kojak" premieres as a two-hour movie followed by eight weekly one-hour episodes.
"Ving" was born in New York City, New York to Reatha, a homemaker, and Ernest Rhames, an auto mechanic.
He was named after the now deceased NBC journalist, Irving R. Levine, and grew up in Harlem, Manhattan.
A good student, Ving entered New York's School of Performing Arts, where he discovered his love of acting. After high school he studied drama at SUNY Purchase where he met fellow actor Stanley Tucci, who gave him his nickname "Ving". He later transferred to Juilliard, where he began his career in New York theater.
The highly-anticipated original drama also stars Academy Award-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri ("Bullets Over Broadway,"and "The Usual Suspects") as Kojak's former partner and present boss Captain Frank McNeil and Roselyn Sanchez ("Dragnet," "Rush Hour 2") as Assistant District Attorney Carmen Warrick.
"Kojak" is based on the 1970's hit police drama which originally starred Telly Savalas as the bald, street-wise, lollipop-loving police detective.
The original 'Kojack" series aired on CBS from 1973 to 1978.
The show was celebrated by police departments around the country for its realistic portrayal of police work.
In the USA Network original two-hour premiere, Kojak hunts down a serial killer who continues to puzzle New York City detectives as he targets prostitutes with young children.
After visiting a crime scene where he meets a victim's children left without their mother, he is overcome with anger and compassion and vows to personally avenge the killings.
"Kojak" is executive produced by Tom Thayer (A&E's "The Great Gatsby"). Rhames serves as co-executive producer. Michael Watkins ("Five Days To Midnight," "Las Vegas" pilot) directed the script written by Anthony Piccirillo ("The 24th Day").
The series was produced by Playa Inc. Kojack Premiered Friday, March 25 on the USA Network (9-11 pm ET).
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Original Publication Date: 3/1998 - Revised Publication Date: 02/02/10