Shawn Wayans is the second youngest of the 10 Wayans siblings, a close-knit family of actors, screenwriters and directors best known for comic spoofs such as "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood," the "Scary Movie" series and "Dance Flick."
Shawn Wayans was born January 19, 1971, in New York City. His father, Howell Wayans, was a supermarket manager, and his mother, Elvira Wayans, was a homemaker. Most notable among the Wayans clan are Keenen, an actor, director and writer; Damon, an actor and producer; Kim, an actress; and Marlon, an actor and writer.
Wayans attended the Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. By the time he reached high school, several of his elder siblings were already achieving success as comedians, actors and directors, and Wayans set out to follow in their footsteps. While only a junior in high school, he made his film debut, a brief cameo in "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," written and directed by older brother Keenen Ivory Wayans.
Shawn Wayans graduated from high school in 1989, and in 1991 he joined several of his siblings in the cast of "In Living Color," the highly acclaimed sketch-comedy show, also written and directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans. The show established the Wayans clan as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood while also helping launch the careers of unrelated future stars like Jim Carrey and Jamie Foxx. Shawn Wayans left the show in 1993, but three years later, he again teamed up with brothers Keenen and Marlon to make "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood," a spoof of earnest coming-of-age-in-the-hood flicks like "Boyz n the Hood."
Shawn Wayans gained wider popularity when he and brother Marlon costarred in the largely autobiographical sitcom "The Wayans Bros." In 2000, Wayans co-wrote and also acted in his most popular film to date, the blockbuster horror spoof "Scary Movie." The film, which cost only $19 million to make, raked in an astounding $157 million at the box office, making it the highest-grossing film ever directed by an African-American (Keenen Ivory Wayans). Shawn Wayans also co-wrote and appeared in the film's several sequels. Shawn Wayans and his brother Marlon have also starred in the popular spoof films "White Chicks," "Little Man" and "Dance Flick."
Shawn Wayans is also the creative force behind "Thugaboo," an ongoing series of children's television specials that began in 2006. The specials attempt to communicate important life lessons to kids through humor and music.
Shawn Wayans and his wife Ursula have three children: two daughters, Laila and Illia, and a son, Marlon.
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