Terrence Dashon Howard (born March 11, 1969) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor. Having his first major role in the 1995 film Mr. Holland's Opus, which subsequently led to a number of roles in films and high visibility among African American audiences. Howard broke into the mainstream with a succession of well-reviewed television and film roles between 2004 and 2006. Among his roles in movies includes Ray, Lackawanna Blues, Crash, Four Brothers, Hustle & Flow, Get Rich or Die Tryin', Idlewild, The Brave One. Howard co-starred in Iron Man and reprised the role in the video game adaption. He was replaced in this role in the sequel Iron Man 2, by Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle (his Crash co-star) in October 2008.
His debut pop album, Shine through It, heavily inspired by popular soul singers such as Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, was released in September 2008.
Howard was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Anita Williams (née Hawkins) and Tyrone Howard. His matrilineal great-grandmother, Minnie Gentry, was a stage actress, as were his mother and uncles. His parents were both biracial, of African American and Caucasian descent; he experienced racism throughout his childhood. His father was involved in what has been termed the Santa Line Slaying, serving 11 months in prison on manslaughter charges after stabbing another man. At the age of 16, Howard emancipated himself from his parents and was put on welfare; at 18, he moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. He wanted to be a science teacher, though he had a low GPA in high school and was admitted to the Pratt Institute in New York only after convincing them to give him a special entrance exam. Howard did not complete his education, as he had joined his brother on an audition for The Cosby Show and was cast in the role. Though he did not obtain a degree, Howard claims to be an engineer. Howard had a principal role in a short-lived CBS sitcom, Tall Hopes.