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CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information Officer
(310) 434-4209
DATE: May 23, 2006


Award-winning actor and former teacher Harry Lennix, who has been as involved in education and civic affairs as he has been in his highly successful acting career, will be the speaker at Santa Monica College's 76th commencement ceremonies Tuesday, June 13.

About 500 students are expected to receive their Associate of Arts degrees at the graduation ceremony, scheduled for 6 p.m. at Corsair Field, 1900 Pico Blvd.

Lennix is an accomplished film, television and stage actor who plays Jim Gardner, the Chief of Staff, on "Commander in Chief.” Other critically acclaimed and highly-successful projects he has starred in include the Oscar-winning film “Ray” with Jamie Foxx for which he received a SAG Award nomination, and both “The Matrix: Reloaded” and “The Matrix: Revolutions.” Lennix received much critical acclaim and a Golden Satellite Award as Aaron in Julie Taymor’s “Titus,” bringing new life to the toxic literary villain opposite Anthony Hopkins.

Lennix has also been extremely active in various causes, both in his native Chicago and Los Angeles. Last month, for example, he hosted the 8th Annual Denim Day in L.A. Rape Prevention Education Rally.
An English and music teacher before becoming an actor, he founded Legacy Productions with renowned director Chuck Smith in 1989. The company

is dedicated to promoting significant works about the African American experience. He is also on the staff of the renowned Goodman Theater Co. in Chicago, is active in various civic groups, and is on the Advisory Council for his alma mater, Northwestern University.

He has worked with a myriad of accomplished actors and directors including Spike Lee in “Get On The Bus,” Robert Townsend in “The Five Heartbeats,” Ben Kingsley in “Suspect Zero,” Billy Bob Thornton in “Chrystal” and Anthony Hopkins once again in “The Human Stain.” His other film credits include “Barbershop 2” and “Love and Basketball.”

In addition to his distinguished film career, Lennix made his mark on the small screen with his role as the legendary Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in Showtime’s “Keep The Faith Baby” for which he won a Black Reel Award and was nominated for both an NAACP Image Award and a Golden Satellite Award. He continued to make his presence known with recurring roles on “ER” and “Diagnosis Murder” and other guest starring appearances.

Lennix has directed and appeared in stage productions across the country, including the Northlight Theater Company’s production of Permanent Collection, which was staged at the Greenway Arts Alliance in Los Angeles under his co-direction and was remounted at Los Angeles’ Kirk Douglas Theater. He directed the stage version of Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats, which received three NAACP Theater Award nominations, and The Glass Menagerie for the Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago.

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