Terrence Alan Crews (born July 30, 1968) is an American actor, television host, and former professional football player. He played Julius Rock in the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris (2005–2009) and played NYPD Lieutenant Terry Jeffords in the sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013–present). Crews starred in the BET reality series The Family Crews (2010–2011), and hosted the U.S. version of the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire from 2014 to 2015. He has appeared in films, including Friday After Next (2002), White Chicks (2004), Idiocracy (2006), Blended (2014), and the Expendables series (2010–2014). Crews began hosting America’s Got Talent in 2019, following his involvement in the same role for the program’s spin-off series America’s Got Talent: The Champions.
Crews played as a defensive end and linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Washington Redskins, as well as in the World League of American Football (WLAF) for the Rhein Fire and college football at Western Michigan University.
Crews, a public advocate for women’s rights and activist against sexism, has shared stories of the abuse his family endured at the hands of his violent father. He was included among the group of people named as Time Person of the Year in 2017 for going public with stories of sexual assault during the Me Too movement.
Early life and education
Terrence Alan Crews was born on July 30, 1968 in Flint, Michigan, the son of Patricia and Terry Crews. He grew up in a strict Christian household in Flint, and was raised mainly by his mother. His father was an alcoholic and abusive to his mother. Crews received a flute from his great aunt, and took lessons for eight years.
After earning his high school diploma from Flint Southwestern, he received a Chrysler-sponsored art scholarship at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan, which was followed by an Art Excellence scholarship and a full athletic scholarship for football at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As a defensive end for the WMU Broncos, Crews earned All-Conference honors and won the 1988 Mid-American Conference Championship.
|Height||Weight||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||10-yard split||20-yard split||20-yard shuttle||Vertical jump||Broad jump||Bench press|
|6 ft 2 in
|4.74 s||1.69 s||2.77 s||4.29 s||35.0 in
|9 ft 5 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
Crews was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. His career included stints with the Rams (6 games), the Green Bay Packers (no games), the San Diego Chargers (10 games), the Washington Redskins (16 games), and the Philadelphia Eagles (no games). He also played for the Rhein Fire of the World League of American Football (later NFL Europa) during its 1995 season. Repeatedly cut from rosters, Crews often supplemented his football income by receiving portrait commissions from teammates.
After retiring from the NFL in 1997, Crews moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He had a long-standing ambition to work in the film industry, but up until then had no plans to pursue acting, and simply wanting to be involved in some way. A year earlier, he co-wrote and co-produced the independent feature film Young Boys Incorporated. A self-funded production filmed in Detroit with an anti-drug message, the film drew on his own observations, as well as those of his friends and family. Despite describing it as a “horrible” film, he credits the experience with getting him interested in the film industry.
In 1999, Crews auditioned for a role as a character athlete (known as Warriors) in the syndicated game show Battle Dome, which became his first acting part. He played T-Money for two seasons until its cancellation in 2001. The audition process and the opportunity to perform in front of an audience made him realize that he wanted to pursue acting as a career. However, he failed to land another acting job for the following two years.
Appearances in commercials, such as Old Spice, films, and music videos soon followed. His breakout role came in Friday After Next starring rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube, for whom Crews previously worked as on-set security. Having never taken acting classes, instead he asked himself what the audience wanted, and he believes this ultimately brought him success. He now believes acting is what he was born to do and would not wish to have any other career, despite the physically demanding nature of the work.
Based on his performance in White Chicks (2004), Adam Sandler changed a role in The Longest Yard (2005) to give it to Crews, who auditioned for another role in the film. His role as Julius Rock, the father on the UPN/CW sitcom on Everybody Hates Chris, brought Crews wider public recognition, and the series aired for four seasons from 2005 to 2009. Since then, Crews has had main roles as husband and father Nick Kingston-Persons in the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet?, which aired for three seasons from 2010, and as NYPD Sergeant (and commencing in Season 7, Lieutenant) Terry Jeffords in the Fox/NBC ensemble sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which premiered in 2013.
Crews has appeared mainly in comedic roles, such as President Camacho in Idiocracy, but he later found success in action roles beginning with his part as Hale Caesar in The Expendables series, which saw him make his first appearance in a film sequel. Although he has managed to sustain an athletic physique in his career as an actor, Crews has avoided being type-cast as a muscle-bound action hero and has attained critical success through exploiting the contrast of his elaborate character comedy with his physique, which extends to the point of even mocking the stereotype of the gym-obsessed bodybuilder. This contrast has also led to sustained work as part of various humorous Old Spice TV commercials.
He has lent his voice to animations such as American Dad! and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. He found that he enjoyed the work and sought out more of it, finding satisfaction in how it carries his spirit into the animation. From 2010 to 2011, Crews starred in his own reality series on BET, The Family Crews. It ran for two seasons. From 2014 to 2015, he hosted the syndicated game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He has also been the American host of Netflix’s Ultimate Beastmaster.
For eight seasons he played police Lieutenant Terry Jeffords on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. In June 2020, he told a reporter that the series has decided not to film four planned episodes because of the “racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd”. The series was not renewed for a ninth season. In early 2021, Crews made this comment: “I’m sad it will end, but happy to have had the chance to be a part of something so special”.
Crews cites the many similarities between acting and professional football, including the structure and expectations, as helping his transition between the two careers. He credits Reginald Hubbard with mentoring him in his early career in the film business.
In June 2017, he was cast in the science fiction comedy film Sorry to Bother You. The film was released in theaters on July 6, 2018. Also in 2018, he appeared as Bedlam in the superhero film Deadpool 2. Crews made appearances in the music videos for “Pressure” and “Algorithm” by British rock band Muse.
Crews also starred in the video for Brittany Howard’s 2019 song “Stay High” in which he lip syncs the vocals.
Illustration and portraiture
Crews’s first job in the arts was as a courtroom sketch artist in Flint, Michigan. He received an art scholarship from college before an athletic scholarship. He later worked as courtroom sketch artist for WJRT. During his football career, Crews supplemented his income by creating portraits of fellow players. At times it was the primary income on which his family depended, typically bringing $5,000 for a two-month commission. His work included a series of NFL-licensed lithographs. He believes his imaginative side has transferred itself to his acting work.
Crews is a co-founder of design company Amen&Amen, with fashion designer Nana Boateng. Their first collection was a set of furniture and light fixtures designed by Ini Archibong.
Crews married Rebecca King on July 29, 1989. They have five children and one grandchild. He is a devout Christian.
In 2014, Crews released his autobiography Manhood: How to Be a Better Man or Just Live with One. In the book, Crews detailed his long-standing pornography addiction, which had seriously affected his marriage and his life, but which he overcame around 2009 and 2010 after entering rehabilitation. Since then he has taken an active role in speaking out about the condition and its impact, including posting on Facebook in his Dirty Little Secret Series.
Crews is very keen on personal development and his favorite book is The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel: “I have read hundreds of personal development books, but this is the one that clearly showed me how to visualize, contemplate, and focus on what I truly wanted. It revealed to me that we only get what we desire most, and to apply myself with a laserlike focus upon a goal, task or project. That in order to ‘have’ you must ‘do’, and in order to ‘do’ you must ‘be’ – and this process is immediate. […] I also reread it probably once a month to keep my vision clear”.
On March 10, 2021, Crews announced the Ethereum-based cryptocurrency $POWER.
On October 10, 2017, in the wake of numerous Hollywood actresses going public with their stories of sexual harassment and assault by film producer Harvey Weinstein, Crews revealed that a male Hollywood executive groped him at a party in 2016, but he did not report the incident for fear of retaliation. It was later revealed that the “high-level executive” was Adam Venit, head of the motion picture department of the talent company William Morris Endeavor (WME).
For his part in coming forward with the sexual assault allegations, Crews was named as one of the “Silence Breakers” from the Time Person of the Year award in 2017. WME reportedly concluded from an investigation that the incident was isolated. Venit was demoted and returned to work after a one-month suspension. In response, Crews stated, “Someone got a pass”. Crews filed a lawsuit against Venit and WME for sexual assault. Some witnesses stated that Venit had gotten intoxicated, dismissed the groping as “horseplay”, and apologized to Crews the next day. WME responded to the lawsuit, arguing that their reaction to Crews’ claims was “both swift and serious”. In March 2018, prosecutors decided not to file any charges against Venit. The city attorney’s office announced that the statute of limitations to prosecute Venit expired, as the incident was in February 2016 and Crews did not report it until November 2017.