Kenan Thompson (1978- )

Kenan Thompson at the 2017 Creative Emmy Awards
Kenan Thompson at the 2017 Creative Emmy Awards
Free Stock photos by Vecteezy

Actor and comedian Kenan Thompson was born on May 10, 1978, to Fletcher and Elizabeth Ann Thompson in Columbus, Ohio. When he was nine months old, his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. At age five, his mother enrolled him in acting classes. Thompson’s first acting role was in a church production of The Wiz as the character Toto. He acted in other roles during his youth, including The Gingerbread Duck. Thompson attended Tri-Cities High School, a visual and performing arts magnet school in East Point, Georgia. While there, Thompson acted in his first movie, D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994). Thompson graduated from Tri-Cities High School in 1996.

During his career, Thompson starred in many films, including Good Burger (1997) and Fat Albert (2004), based on Bill Cosby‘s 1970s animated television series Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Thompson would have supporting acting roles in other films, including Heavyweights (1995), D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996), The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000), The Master of Disguise (2002), Love Don’t Cost A Thing (2003), Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004), Fat Albert (2004), and Snakes on a Plane (2006).

Thompson was also in numerous television series during his career. He was an original cast member of Nickelodeon’s sketch comedy series All That. During his tenure on the show, he played such characters as Principal Pimpell, Miss Piddlin, Pierre Escargot, and Superdude. He would remain on the show for the first five seasons until he left in 1999. Thompson would also star as Kenan Rockmore with fellow All That actor Kel Mitchell in the comedy sitcom Kenan and Kel. The show aired for four seasons until it was canceled in 2001. Before its cancellation, it won the “Favorite TV Show” award at the 1998 Kids Choice Awards.

Thompson appeared on other television shows, including The Steve Harvey Show, Sister Sister, and The Amanda Show. In 2003, however, he became a cast member on Saturday Night Live. During his time on Saturday Night Live, Thompson has had numerous celebrity impressions, including Al Sharpton, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Cosby, Charles Barkley, Ray Lewis, O.J. Simpson, Steve Harvey, R. Kelly, and Deion Sanders. Thompson has been a cast member of Saturday Night Live for two decades, breaking the record previously held by castmate Darrell Hammond, who was on the show for 14 years. Thompson is also the longest-serving African American cast member, surpassing Tim Meadows, who stayed on the show for ten seasons. Thompson has been nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards for his work, winning one in 2018 for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.

Kenan Thompson also starred in his sitcom, Kenan, in 2021. The show was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2021 but would air for two seasons until it was canceled in 2022. In 2022, Thompson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Thompson married model Christina Evangeline in 2011. The couple had two daughters together before separating in 2021.