January 17, 1981
McComb, Mississippi, United States
Actor, Musician, Producer
Art has imitated life for actor/musician Ray J, who enjoyed an active child acting career in the early to mid-1990s and was cast as real-life older sister Brandy's half-brother on the sitcom "Moesha" (UPN) beginning in 1999. A talented performer in his own right, Ray J's acting career began with the 1993-1994 TV season, a year before his sister's hit debut album reached the charts. Brandy began acting on ABC's "Thea" in 1993, and Ray J got his start with a regular role in the Fox sitcom "The Sinbad Show" (1993-94), playing the elder of two foster children siblings that Sinbad's David Bryan takes in. Fall 1993 also saw the young performer featured in "Rhythm and Jam," an educational, music-themed "ABC Saturday Morning Special." A role in the HBO aired espionage-themed thriller "The Enemy Within" followed in 1994, and Ray J made his feature debut in the period drama "Once Upon a Time... When We Were Colored" (1995), billed under his given name Willie Norwood Jr. The following year he was featured in Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!" and later co-starred in the action-adventure "Steel" (1997), starring Shaquille O'Neal. Following the release of his debut album "Everything You Want," Ray J continued to rack up acting credits, taking a supporting role in the 1999 ABC miniseries "Aftershock: Earthquake in New York." While Ray J has proven himself in projects not involving Brandy, the natural chemistry between the performer and his big sister has been showcased in several projects pairing the two. Ray J began appearing on his sister's series "Moesha" (UPN) in 1996, first playing a recurring character named Charles. In 1997 he was featured on the series as himself in an episode that had Brandy doing double duty, appearing both as herself and her TV alter ego. Beginning in 1999, he took a regular role on the show, playing Dorian, the titular girl-next-door's troubled cousin. His character brought more hard-hitting storylines to the previously sugar-coated series, and was eventually revealed to actually be Moesha's half-brother, the two sharing Frank Mitchell (William Allen Young) as their father.