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Anthony Anderson

Saw Mother Perform In Play

Anderson appeared in a television commercial at the age of five, and soon his mother inspired him to pursue acting as a career. "I remember sitting in Compton Community College...in their theater at nine years old and my mother was doing a production of A Raisin in the Sun...man, and it just hit me," he told interviewer Tavis Smiley of National Public Radio. "I was like, you know what, that's what I'm going to do for the rest of my life." Anderson attended a performing arts high school and went on with the help of a scholarship to Howard University in Washington, D.C. One of his classmates at Howard was comedian Marlon Wayans.

After graduating from Howard, Anderson returned to the Los Angeles area and moved back in with his mother and stepfather—much to their displeasure, for they had told Anderson and his siblings that they needed to plan to be out on their own after they turned 18. Anderson's stepfather pushed him gradually in the direction of independence, providing him with a rich source of future comic material in the process. He installed a pay telephone and a coin-operated washer and dryer in his own home, forcing the young graduate to end his freeloading when it came to phone calls and laundry. The hope was that Anderson would join the family clothing business, but when he refused and got a job in a mall instead, his stepfather padlocked the household refrigerator. "That's how my father systematically tried to get me out of the house," Anderson explained to TelevisionWeek.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: (Hugo) Alvar (Henrik) Aalto (1898–1976) Biography to Miguel Angel Asturias (1899–1974) BiographyAnthony Anderson Biography - Saw Mother Perform In Play, Television Career Grew, Pay Phone Resurfaced As Gag - Selected works