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Taye Diggs is not only the star of KEVIN HILL, but also serves as a producer of the series. Diggs' other feature film credits include leading roles in such films as "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "The Wood," "The Best Man," "Malibu's Most Wanted," and "Brown Sugar," for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. Most recently, Diggs co-starred with Renee Zellwegger and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Academy Award-winning film "Chicago." Other credits include "Basic," "Equilibrium," "Just a Kiss," "The House on Haunted Hill" and Doug Liman's "Go." On television, Diggs' credits include a recurring role on "Ally McBeal," and guest appearances on "Ed," "The West Wing," "New York Undercover" and "Law & Order." Diggs jump-started his acting career on Broadway when he landed a coveted role in the acclaimed production of "Carousel," followed by the Tony Award-winning musical "Rent" where Diggs originated the role of Benny the Landlord. Recently, he returned to his roots in the theater with performances in "Wicked," "Chicago" and "The Wild Party." Scott "Taye" Diggs was born on January 2nd, 1972, in New Jersey. The eldest of five siblings, Diggs was raised by his mother in Rochester, New York, after the death of his father. As a result, Diggs had to pitch in at an early age, and helped raise his brothers and sisters. He received his bachelor of fine arts after studying theater at Syracuse University. He currently resides in New York City with wife Idina Menzel.
Hot Celebrity Interracial Couples: Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel
He's the hottie from films like "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "The Best Man" and "Brown Sugar" and from the pages of People Magazine's '50 Most Beautiful People' edition. Scott 'Taye' Diggs grew up in Rochester, New York, where he attended Rochester's School of the Arts at his mother's insistence to hone his performing talents. After graduating high school, Taye attended Syracuse University where he majored in musical theater in the school's college of Visual and Performing Arts. Taye graduated from Syracuse in 1993 and broke for NYC to pursue an acting career. After a year of bit parts, he took a gig in Japan, performing in a Caribbean cabaret act for Tokyo Disneyland. After seven months overseas, Taye auditioned for, and landed, the part of Benny in the soon-to-be smash hit musical "Rent." His break into film came courtesy of "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," where he played Angela Bassett's character's sexy lover, Winston. Today, Taye is a successful actor having appeared frequently on stage (in "The Wild Party), on television (in "Ally McBeal") and on the big screen (in "Malibu's Most Wanted" and "Chicago").
She's an up-and-coming solo musician who released her first CD, "Still I Can't Be Still" in 1998. Idina grew up in suburban New York where she began classical vocal training as a child. After graduating high school, Idina attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama. At twenty-four, she earned the part of Maureen in "Rent," for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. Idina has also been seen on stage in "The Wild Party," "Summer of '42," "Hair," "Aida" and "The Vagina Monologues." She has appeared on the big screen in Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam," the independent film "Kissing Jessica Stein" and in "Still a Kiss." As of June 2003, Idina is currently performing in Stephen Schwartz's musical adaptation of "The Wizard of Oz" entitled, "Wicked," on Broadway. She is also at work on her second album.
How They Met:
They met while the were both performing in "Rent" on Broadway--him as Benny, her as Maureen-- and they've been together ever since. Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel were married in a private ceremony at the Round Hill resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica on January 11, 2003. This was the same location of the filming of Taye's breakout role in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," according to EOnline.com. The couple resides in Manhattan.
Taye Diggs: From paying the 'Rent' to 'Ally McBeal'
You may know Taye Diggs as Benny, the sexy landlord in Broadway's "Rent." Or you may recognize him as Winston, the sexy Jamaican islander in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." Or you may remember him as Harper, the sexy novelist in "The Best Man."
Now, Diggs tackles a new role, his first regular gig on the small screen. He is the newest cast member on the hit show "Ally McBeal," and he plays -- what else -- a sexy lawyer named Jackson Duper.
CNN went down to the Los Angeles set during his first week to talk to Diggs, 30, about his new gig -- and his favorite old one.
CNN: What can you tell me about your character, Jackson Duper?
Taye Diggs: I guess the character is kind of smooth. He's into sweeping people off their feet, and if they are not swept then something is wrong. He's hired as a rainmaker for the law firm of Cage and Fish, which is someone who is hired to bring in a lot of clients very quickly. (And) a few of the characters aren't too pleased about that.
CNN: You've been working steadily for the last couple of years, but the night before you come on to do a show like this, do you get a little nervous? Do you get first-day jitters?
Diggs: Oh yes, I was very, very nervous. One, because I haven't done that much television. Two, I was watching this show before things really happened for me.
As corny as it sounds, this is really a fantasy come true. I am working with the actors that I was sitting on the couch saying; "Oh, it must be awesome to work with those guys ... man oh man." Then, to just find myself on the set in the middle of scenes with these actors ... it just blows me away.
CNN: How did everyone react to you on your first day?
Diggs: Everybody was unbelievably friendly. Everyone was very professional and hilarious.
I had no idea that the amount of improv that happens on set. You get in and you immediately start shooting and the comedy just appears. And Peter McNicol and Calista (Flockhart) and Lucy (Liu), they are all just brilliant.
CNN: Now, a lot of characters have some unusual quirks that they display throughout the course of an episode. Are we going to see any twitches or anything like that?
Diggs: From me, not too many. I think David (Kelley, "Ally"'s creator) planned it so that I am one of the people in the middle that makes you realize how crazy everyone else is. I come in and I am completely thrown out of whack at how crazy all of the members of the firm are acting.
CNN: Are there going to be any romantic entanglements between your character and any of the ladies?
Diggs: I would think so, but I still have no idea. There is definitely that possibility.
CNN: You originated the role of Benny on the original Broadway production of "Rent," so you can sing, and sing well. I am starting to think singing is a prerequisite for cast members on "Ally McBeal." Do you think they are going to have your character sing as well?
Diggs: I hope so. There was definite talk of that when I met with David Kelley, so I am hoping that I definitely get the chance to use the vocal cords a bit.
CNN: "Rent" was such a high-profile show. Do you look back on that time with soft spot different from other projects that you have done in the past?
Diggs: Oh absolutely, because not only was it a special moment for me, but it was a special moment for everyone. You know what I mean: We were on magazine covers, (and) it was my first time doing publicity and interviews and having to sign autographs, so it definitely broke me in, and started what was to come. And just emotionally, I am very close still with all of the members of the cast.
CNN: Your first big-screen performance was opposite Angela Bassett in "How Stella Got her Groove Back." It was lead role in a huge film. What was that like for you?
Diggs: In hindsight, I don't know what I was on or what I was thinking, but at the time I remember telling myself that there was no time to be nervous because this was a big chance and you just gotta rise to the occasion and bring it. Fortunately, that worked to my advantage.
But now, when I look back, I get nervous (thinking about) that first day on set with Angela Bassett. I don't know who I thought I was. But things ran really smoothly, and I am thankful for that.
CNN: And after that film, you were in hit ensemble films like "Go," "The Wood," and "The Best Man."
Diggs: "The Best Man" is the movie I am most proud of. Of all the roles I have had to play, it was closest to who I am as a person and where I was in my life as well, and I just think everybody did excellent work.
CNN: What would you like to do with your career from this point forward?
Diggs: To be honest, I am trying to catch up with Will. I am coming after you, Mr. Smith. You and me, partner. Bring your boxing gloves. I know you're doing Ali, (so) you better get your ass in shape.
Bold menswear worn by 'Kevin Hill's star Taye Diggs
If "Sex and the City's" Carrie Bradshaw could revolutionize women's fashion and make Jimmy Choo a household name, then "Kevin Hill's" Taye Diggs is taking menswear to new heights.
As the sexy single lawyer on the UPN show, Diggs is among TV's most fashionable stars with his tailored Italian suits, and candy-colored shirt-and-tie combinations. His look is edgy, colorful and downright yummy, says Barbara Somerville, the Toronto-based costume designer for the show.
"It's 'Sex and the City' meets the courtroom. I try to take risks, push the envelope, before someone slaps my hands. So far, they've really let me run with it."
Somerville's pairings are anything but boring: a salmon-colored shirt with striped-blue tie, a blue-pinstriped dress shirt with a black-pinstriped suit, and cashmere pullovers or argyle vests with crisp shirts and slacks.
They're looks you would find in men's fashion magazines, although Somerville uses bolder colors - tangerine, cobalt blue, lemon yellow and pink - and mixes patterns - stripes, plaids and polka dots.
"Taye is an exceptionally good-looking man with a good physique. When I dress him, I think about how to continue to explore the edge, experimenting with color and fit," Somerville says. "I can take a $300 suit and make it look like $1,000. It's how the suit is cut that's most important."
Diggs' TV wardrobe includes such designers as Hugo Boss, Britain's Paul Smith and Zenga. Somerville also finds pieces at stores from Zara (now in the Houston Galleria) and even Abercrombie & Fitch.
"He trusts me to put my quirky combinations together. All it takes is confidence to wear them."
Taye Diggs: The Best Man
The key to Taye Diggs’ rapid rise to movie success, and the reason he will undoubtedly be around for some time to come, is his constant desire to surprise.
Whether this is directed at audiences, unsure what to expect from the 28-year-old who has appeared in films such as "How Stella Got Her Groove Back", "Go" and "House on Haunted Hill", or at other cast members is more of a moot point.
"It’s just everyday Taye," he beams with that megawatt smile. "I get a kick out of surprising people, and every now and then I would try to surprise someone. I don’t know why, but I get great pleasure out of startling people."
Critics, too, have noted the versatility of an actor who is determined to stay away from the obvious and the clichéd. His latest role in "The Best Man" demonstrates this beautifully, being one of an increasing number of black American movies that reflect a more genteel, recognisable life far away from the gun-toting, ghetto-bound, and thoroughly false stereotype.
" "The Best Man" was something that painted a more positive picture than a lot of films in the past," he explains, "so I think it was an offer I couldn’t refuse."
He’s a man of impulse, is Scott ‘Taye’ Diggs, as was proved when he took a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live and work at Disney’s theme park in Tokyo. Typically, he threw himself wholeheartedly into the experience.
"I realised that I was a young cat, I hadn’t seen much of the world and I wanted to put some money away. I went over there, did this Caribbean show cabaret, made a ton of dough and learned the language. I continued to study for a while when I got back here, but with this whole film thing I don’t get the time I need or want to carry on with it. But that was a great time." For Taye Diggs, one suspects, the great times are far from over.
Digg's Wife Menzel Injured In Stage Fall
Actor TAYE DIGGS' wife IDINA MENZEL is nursing a cracked rib, after falling though a trap door during the Saturday (08JAN05) matinee of her Broadway musical WICKED.
The show, a prequel to THE WIZARD OF OZ, was halted for about 45 minutes while Menzel's understudy, SHOSHANA BEAN, prepared to go on as the green-skinned ELPHABA, according to BOB FENNELL, a spokesman for the musical.
Bean also played the Saturday evening performance and took over duties for yesterday's (09JAN05) matinee, which was to have been Menzel's last performance after a more than 16-month run in the show.
The accident occurred near the end of the performance at the Gershwin Theatre, during what's known as "the melting sequence" where a trap door opens. An elevator that was to have lowered Menzel had already descended about two or three feet, according to the spokesman, causing the actress to fall and hurt her side
Menzel, who won the 2004 actress-musical TONY AWARD for her performance in Wicked, shortly begins filming the movie version of RENT, which she originally starred in on Broadway alongside her husband Diggs.
''Kevin Hill'' shows Taye Digg's softer side
Every now and then there's a TV moment that just makes you want to grin, hug your chenille throw and go, "Awwww." One such moment can be found on UPN's drama "Kevin Hill," premiering Wednesday, Sept. 29.
Taye Diggs ("Ally McBeal," "Chicago") stars as the title character, a successful, womanizing lawyer who suddenly inherits his deceased cousin's 10-month-old daughter. It would be a hard heart indeed that could resist a scene in the pilot in which the befuddled, hunky Hill cuddles the sleeping infant.
"That's good TV," says Diggs, who's also a producer on the show. "I think a lot of woman think that's very sexy. I'm a straight man, and I think it's sexy."
One of the three pilots sold this year by Mel Gibson's Icon Productions (although Gibson is not directly involved), "Kevin Hill" fits in with the urban theme of many of UPN's comedies, while aiming for a much broader audience in its high-profile time slot.
It's the creation of writer Jorge A. Reyes, whose last series was the Showtime Latino drama "Resurrection Blvd."
"I wanted to show that I could write not just for people with Latin-sounding last names," Reyes says. "I wanted to write a script that I felt was diverse, but colorblind. The interesting thing about it is that although it was written colorblind, it still had sort of an urban sensibility, but not so urban that it excluded people."
Kevin's new family responsibilities put a crimp in his busy social life (seemingly an endless string of one-night stands) and in his career as a hot entertainment lawyer. After some disheartening job-hunting, Kevin winds up at a small law firm run by single mother Jessie Grey (Michael Michele). He's the only man at the firm, which also employs an outwardly shy but brilliant lawyer (Christina Hendricks) and a smart, sharp attorney (Kate Levering) who happens to have been one of Kevin's one-shot paramours.
Being surrounded by women is bound to have an effect on Kevin, and Diggs is eager to get into that.
"I can't wait to allow the viewers to see why he is the way he is. They touch on the way he was raised in the pilot, that he didn't come from much, how he had to fight, so that contributes.
"There's the fact that he is where he is, being an African-American male, his continuing to have to fight. So I can't wait to play all those levels. Right now, you get this player, successful with the ladies. But I'm always looking forward to playing that resistance, so we'll see where he goes."
At home, Kevin is forced to hire a nanny. He winds up with George Weiss (Patrick Breen), a gay man (named after a friend of Reyes') who admires Kevin's fashion sense but doesn't take any guff from him. This amuses Kevin's skirt-chasing best buddy, Dame Ruiz (Jon Seda).
"George is Kevin's conscience," Diggs says. "What will be fun is Kevin Hill figuring out the comings and goings of this gay man. He finally has a homosexual to ask these questions of. I can't wait for that."
The character of Kevin comes from a very personal place for Reyes. "My younger cousin had a baby with a stripper that had a substance-abuse problem," Reyes says. "She abandoned him with the baby, and I saw the changes his life went through."
Reyes then wondered what would have happened had this same circumstance befallen his brother, whom Reyes refers to as an "enlightened caveman."
The writer then folded in some of his own work experiences. "I used to work for a women's magazine in New York City, a Latina magazine," he says, "and I was the only heterosexual male surrounded by all these beautiful, formidable, intelligent women, none of whom I had any game with.
"Basically, these three things fused into this one character. The common theme was learning about women and learning about growing up and becoming the mature American male through these different experiences."
TV wisdom holds forth that the best TV characters never really learn anything. In reality, some do, but as slowly as possible, making for maximum series longevity (and more like real life, in which several hammer blows to the head are often necessary to bring about true enlightenment). Diggs sees that happening with "Kevin Hill."
"It's going to be a very slow, very gradual, very realistic approach," he says. "It takes a while for people to really change, and we definitely don't want to do that -- because then the show disappears also. That's where the show lives, in his slow growth and understanding.
"There are some elements about him that aren't going to change. It's just going to be a constant struggle. There are dynamics that are going to have to be adjusted."
While it's a struggle for Kevin to get in touch with his feminine side emotionally, sartorially he's a full-blown metrosexual, well up on fashion and personal grooming. And that's just fine with Diggs.
"I love it," he says. "I'm in touch with my feminine side. I consider a metrosexual to be a male that has an increased interest and concern in his upkeep. I like to match my belt with my shoes; I like my nails to be clean; I like to smell nice."
Unlike Kevin, Diggs relishes being with female co-workers.
"In some cases, women are more entertaining than men," Diggs says. "A lot of times, you have to bust through that macho shell before you really get to know another man. There's just a lot of backslapping and laughing and scratching of crotches. With women, they go straight there. I enjoy that."
Taye Diggs death threat terror
NYC cops are on the hunt for a fanatic who's terrorizing TV hunk Taye Diggs and his wife, Broadway star, singer and actress Idina Menzel, with racist, threatening letters.
Of at least three handwritten letters sent so far, the most recent one reportedly threatens to "burn" and "castrate" Diggs, who plays a lawyer in UPN's Kevin Hill, because of his interracial marriage to Menzel (the couple wed in January 2003). The actress won a Tony for her role as the wicked witch in the hit Broadway show Wicked.
The death threat against Diggs, 33, was reportedly sent to The League of American Theatres and Producers on Dec. 1. The other letters, which made negative remarks about Menzel, 33, and their marriage, were sent earlier to New York's Gershwin Theater, where Wicked has run since 2003.
But the shocking news couldn't keep audiences away.
"This audience was pumped; they came out to support her," said New Yorker Kathy Donnason, who attended the Dec. 5 show. Audience members told Star that security was tight, with every handbag inspected with a flashlight.
Castmember Joey McIntyre played down the danger, telling Star, "Everything was just awesome." Another castmember described the Dec. 5 show as "business as usual. Nobody really even talked about it."
NYPD Investigating Threats Against "Wicked" Star and Husband Taye Diggs
He is a movie star and she won the Tony Award for best actress in a musical. Tonight New York City police are investigating threats against this interracial couple as a possible hate crime.
Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel have gotten at least three letters in which the writer threatens to "burn" and "castrate" Diggs, and calling him a "sellout" for marryng a white woman. The writer also threatens to burn down the Gershwin Theater, where Menzel is starring in "Wicked."
The letters all have different postmarks, from New York, Philadelphia, and Ohio.
Taye Diggs will appear in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival
The 2005 Sundance Film Festival will begin with "Happy Endings," an ensemble comedy about different kinds of family.
Organizers on Tuesday unveiled the second half of the Sundance slate, including 24 premiere films, the American Spectrum sidebar, Park City at Midnight and Frontier programs, and a couple of independent-film classics. The festival considered 2,613 feature-film submissions - up from 2,485 for the 2004 festival - to pick 120 for the event Jan. 20-30 in Park City, and at venues in Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance Village.
Oscar winners Adrien Brody, Kevin Costner, Daniel Day-Lewis, Holly Hunter, Sissy Spacek and Marisa Tomei will appear in Sundance premieres. So will such stars as Kevin Bacon, Pierce Brosnan, Sandra Bullock, Glenn Close, Taye Diggs, Robert Downey Jr., Ralph Fiennes and Keira Knightley.
The festival will kick off Jan. 20 at Park City's Eccles Center with "Happy Endings," written and directed by Don Roos, whose "The Opposite of Sex" debuted at Sundance in 1998.
Taye Diggs' new show ''Kevin Hill''
Clearly, it's time for the charm. For the patented Diggs smile. For the big baby browns. For that little-boy innocence.
"What do you mean?" Diggs says, his eyes widening. "You're saying you'd just assume? You'd just assume?" he continues. "It could have been a client. It could have been somebody I used to hook up with a long time ago. It could have been -- " He goes on and on, until Arcieri is helpless. "OK, OK," she says, succumbing. "I would trust. I would trust." Diggs smiles to himself, satisfied.
But on the next take, he plays it much more cool. This is life for Diggs nowadays: marathon shooting days, endless rounds of promotional interviews, the constant pressure of headlining a new drama on a network that has banked on his box-office appeal to bring it some new buzz -- and a broader viewership.
"He's the bionic man," director Arlene Sanford says while shooting a scene on the set near the shores of Lake Ontario. "As in, he works 16 hours a day and he's in every scene and he doesn't complain about it, and he's prepared, and he takes direction. "Oh, and he's handsome. In case you didn't notice."
So far, all that's working: The show debuted to an audience of 3.9 million, an overall increase of 51 percent from the same time slot the previous year. In the demographic representing women 18 to 34, viewership was up 210 percent.
"That's Taye Diggs!" laughs Christina Hendricks, who plays Diggs' colleague Nicolette Raye. "Who doesn't want to watch Taye Diggs for an hour?" He's fabulous, she says, as charming in person as he is on-screen. The set of "Kevin Hill" has the best working atmosphere she's ever experienced. "He gives it out good, and he takes it good, so there are a lot of jokes and laughter on the set," Hendricks says. "He sets the tone for how everyone is because he has such a good attitude."
Recalling the earlier scene, Arcieri says: "The thing about Taye is, if he were really my man and that happened, he just might be able to charm me out of it. ... He flashes that smile and those big brown eyes and he just might get away with it."
Diggs' winning smile and eyes became a sensation with his breakthrough role as the hot younger man who gave "Stella" her groove back in the 1998 film starring Angela Bassett as an over-40 divorced businesswoman who falls in love on vacation. Diggs, 33, has since become a staple of black romantic comedies ("The Best Man," "Brown Sugar") while mixing in cameo parts in the likes of the Oscar-winning film "Chicago" and the Emmy-winning show "The West Wing."
There are no serial killers on his resume. No action heroes. He generally doesn't like to play against type. "Kevin Hill" fits that mode. "I wanted to do something that I thought could work, and be a hit, but would also allow me to be me and do the one thing that I think people like to see watching Taye Diggs," he says. "There's that brand 'Taye Diggs.'"
Which would be? "Hmmm," he says, rubbing his chin. "A combination of humor. Of sophistication. Of charisma, I guess?" Somehow, the way he says it, it doesn't sound conceited. Maybe it's because he has just taped a scene in which he dances a client through the courtroom -- hips swiveling in a few salsa steps, hands sliding over the small of her back, his eyes locked on hers ... all other eyes locked on him.
"Is that too sexy for UPN?" Sanford wonders aloud after one particular take. Humor? Sophistication? Charisma? Guilty on all counts. Talk to the women on "Kevin Hill" and they'll say he's got all of those -- on screen and off.
The premise of "Kevin Hill" is what happens to a hip, single urban lawyer when he inherits the infant of a beloved cousin who has died. The answer: He gets a nanny, downsizes to a family-friendly law firm and has a much, much harder time with the logistics of his life.
It's an hour-long drama but it's suffused with humor, sort of like "Ally McBeal," on which Diggs had a recurring role, which strongly appealed to the actor. That, and the fact that Kevin plays against the stereotype of the absent black father.
"That was a big part of it," he says during another break. "That is just so great. Every time people turn on the show and see a black man taking care of a child -- not that it's easy -- and he's also a cat who has an urban feel, but still can carry himself in the world of law. He can code-change, which is what a lot of people have to do. It's something people need to see."
Diggs has many scenes with his "daughter," who has a way of reaching up and pulling on his lips. And the love affair is mutual. Bring up the subject of his tiny costar and he all but swoons. "This baby we have, she's just so cute," he says, closing his eyes as if he needs to remember the look and feel of her. "This baby makes it seem like it would be great to have her around constantly. It's supposed to be hard work, but this baby makes me feel like it would be easy." He opens his eyes again. "But maybe I'm just being ignorant."
Diggs' wife of nearly two years is actress Idina Menzel, who won a Tony this year for her starring role as Elphaba the witch in the Broadway musical "Wicked." "She definitely wants to have children, but right now she's focusing on her own career," he says. "So I'm trying to be patient and respectful. But she knows whenever she's ready, I'm there."
The couple, who met while working on the Broadway production of "Rent," currently have a complicated schedule. He tapes Monday through Friday. She performs Tuesday night through the Sunday matinee. So every Saturday morning, Diggs flies from Toronto to New York to spend two days with Menzel, who then flies back with him to Toronto on Sunday night and stays until Tuesday morning.
"In some ways, it's good," Diggs says. "When we see each other, we want to be there. And I always feel good when I see her." Still, he says, this commuting can't go on forever. His dressing room, done mainly in red, has multiple photographs, many of Menzel. There she is kissing Diggs, there she is at their wedding in Jamaica, there she is winning her Tony earlier this year. Diggs calls that night the best moment of his life.
"That will probably change when I have children," he says, "but it surpassed the wedding day even." Menzel, Diggs says, would say that his best quality is that he's still a kid, and his worst quality ... is that he's still a kid. Which, obviously, would have to change if he had one of his own.
"Absolutely," he says. "But the truth is, in life what matters is how you relate to people, and I'm really good at that. With my child, I'll be at the soccer games, and I'll be there to explain how life is. And when it comes to opening a bank account, he can ask someone else."