Detailed Pedia

Billy Porter (entertainer) (Redirected from Billy Porter (actor))

  (Redirected from Billy Porter (entertainer))
Billy Porter
Billy Porter.png
Porter in 2017
Born (1969-09-21) September 21, 1969 (age 51)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
OccupationActor, singer
Adam Smith
(m. 2017)
AwardsFull list

Billy Porter (born September 21, 1969) is an American actor and singer. He attended Taylor Allderdice, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, and achieved fame performing on Broadway before starting a solo career as a singer and actor.[1]

Porter won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots at the 67th Tony Awards. He credits the part for "cracking open" his feminine side to confront toxic masculinity.[2] For the role, Porter also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. In 2014 Porter won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for Kinky Boots. He currently stars in the television series Pose for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, becoming the first openly gay black man to be nominated and win in any lead acting category at the Primetime Emmys.

Porter is included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.[3]

Early life

Porter was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to William E. Porter and Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter Ford.[4][5] His sister is Mary Martha Ford-Dieng.[6][7][8] After attending Reizenstein Middle School, Porter went to Taylor Allderdice High School, where he graduated in 1987.[9] He graduated from the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University with a B.F.A. in Drama and earned a certification from the graduate-level Professional Program in Screenwriting[10] at UCLA.

During the summers of 1985–1987, Porter was a member of entertainment groups, "Spirit" and "Flash," which performed daily at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.[11]


Porter played Teen Angel in the 1994 Broadway revival of Grease. Other shows he has been in include Topdog/Underdog at City Theatre (2004),[12] Jesus Christ Superstar and Dreamgirls at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (2004),[13] and the song cycles Myths and Hymns and Songs for a New World (Off-Broadway, 1995).[14]

Porter wrote and performed in his one-person autobiographical show, Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am) at Joe's Pub in New York City in February and March 2005.[14][15][16] He was nominated for "Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway & Off Broadway Award" at the 17th GLAAD Media Awards.[17]

In September 2010, Porter appeared as Belize in Signature Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America.[14][18]

Porter originated the role of "Lola" in Kinky Boots on Broadway in 2013, with songs by Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein and directed/choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. Porter won both the 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for this role.[19][20]

Porter has also appeared in many films. He played a major role as Shiniqua, a drag queen who befriends Angel (David Norona) and Lee (Keivyn McNeill Graves) in Seth Michael Donsky's Twisted (1997), an adaptation of Oliver Twist.[21] He has also appeared on The RuPaul Show.

He has had a musical career with three solo albums released, Billy Porter on DV8/A&M Records in 1997, At the Corner of Broadway + Soul in 2005 on Sh-K-Boom Records and Billy's Back on Broadway (Concord Music Group) in 2014. He featured in a number of songs in the tribute album; It's Only Life: The Songs of John Bucchino in 2006 released on PS Classics.[22] He sings on Adam Guettel's 1999 album Myths and Hymns studio cast album on Nonesuch Records.[23] He also covered "Only One Road" that was included on the Human Rights Campaign compilation album Love Rocks.

Porter wrote the play While I Yet Live, which premiered Off-Broadway at Primary Stages in September 2014 in previews, officially on October 12. In addition to Porter, the cast included Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson.[14][24]

Porter released Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers in April 2017. The album, which features new, soulful takes on classic Richard Rodgers songs, includes solos and duets from the following artists (in addition to Porter himself): Tony and Grammy Award winners Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton), Tony Award-winner Patina Miller (Pippin), Grammy Award winners Pentatonix and India Arie, Tony Award nominees Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle Along), Joshua Henry (Violet), and Christopher Jackson (Hamilton), alongside YouTube and Kinky Boots star Todrick Hall and multiple Grammy Award nominees Deborah Cox and Ledisi.[25]

Porter reprised the role of Lola in Kinky Boots in September 2017 on Broadway, where he did a 15-week run.[26]

In 2018, Porter starred in the FX show Pose in the role of Pray Tell. In 2019, Pose earned its renewal for a third season after airing just one episode from the second season. In August 2018, Porter confirmed via Instagram that he was joining the cast of American Horror Story for its eighth season, subtitled Apocalypse.[27][28] Porter duetted with Pose co-star Dyllón Burnside and sang from his album in a benefit concert emceed by Burnside on July 23, 2018, to celebrate the season 1 finale and to raise money for GLSEN.[29][30][31] In June 2019, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, sparking the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, Queerty named him one of the Pride50 "trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance, and dignity for all queer people."[32] Also in June 2019 he presented the Excellence in Theatre Education Award at the 73rd Tonys at Radio City Music Hall. However, he earned media coverage for his haute couture red and pink gown, upcycled from Kinky Boots' stage curtains, in a uterine shape,[33] and his impromptu performance of "Everything's Coming up Roses" from Gypsy, for host James Corden's "Broadway karaoke."[34] In September 2019, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Pose, becoming the first openly gay black man to be nominated and win in any lead acting category at the Primetime Emmys.

Also, in 2019, Porter had a cameo appearance in Taylor Swift's "You Need to Calm Down" music video that featured twenty LGBTQ icons.[35]

Porter performed "For What It's Worth" with Stephen Stills during the 2020 Democratic National Convention.[36]


At the 2019 Golden Globes, Porter gained attention for wearing an embroidered suit and pink cape designed by Randi Rahm.[37] He continued to make fashion waves that year when he wore a fitted tuxedo jacket and a velvet gown by Christian Siriano with 6" Rick Owens boots to the 91st Academy Awards.[38] In February 2019, he was an Official Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Ambassador for New York Fashion Week: Mens.[39] Porter attended the 2019 Met Gala and embraced the Camp: Notes on Fashion theme by being carried on a litter by six shirtless men while sporting a "Sun God" ensemble. The Blonds designed Porter's outfit, and it included a bejeweled catsuit outfitted with 10-foot wings, a 24-karat gold headpiece, as well as custom gold-leaf Giuseppe Zanotti shoes and fine jewels by Andreoli, John Hardy, and Oscar Heyman.[40]

Personal life

Porter is gay; he married his husband, Adam Smith on January 14, 2017.[41]

Porter shared his racial views in a 2020 interview with Vanity Fair, "The reason why our country is in the mess we're in is simply because of whiteness. White supremacy. White people choke-holding power and sucking the life out of humanity".[42]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2013 Audience Choice Awards Favorite Leading Actor in a Broadway Musical Kinky Boots Won [43]
Favorite Funny Performance Nominated [44]
Best Onstage Pair with Stark Sands Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Award Nominated [45]
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Leading Actor in a Musical Won [46]
Fred and Adele Astaire Awards Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Musical Show Nominated [45]
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical Won [46]
Tony Award Best Leading Actor in a Musical Won [47]
2014 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Won [46]
2017 GLAAD Media Award Vito Russo Award Won [48]
2019 Critics' Choice Awards Best Television Drama Series Actor Pose Nominated [49]
Dorian Awards TV Performance of the Year – Actor Won [50]
TV Musical Performance of the Year "Home" (with Mj Rodriguez and Our Lady J) Won
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Pose Won [51]
Gold Derby Award Television Drama Series Actor of the Year Won [52]
Performer of the Year Nominated
Actor of the Decade Nominated [53]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama Pose Nominated [54]
Television Critics Association Individual Achievement in Drama Nominated [55]
2020 Critics' Choice Awards Best Television Drama Series Actor Nominated [56]
Dorian Awards TV Performance of the Year – Actor Won [57]
Wilde Wit of the Year Nominated
Wilde Artist of the Decade Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama Pose Nominated [54]
Queerties Badass of the Year Won [58]




  • 1997: "Show Me"/"What Iz Time"
  • 2005: "Awaiting You"/"Time" (Live) (Sh-K-Boom Records)
  • 2017: "Edelweiss"
  • 2019: "Love Yourself"
  • 2020: "For What It's Worth"
  • 2020: The Shapeshifters feat. Billy Porter "Finally Ready" [61]

Other songs

Appears in


Porter has performed at various venues in New York City, including Lincoln Center, which was broadcast on PBS in 2015 [64] and Joe's Pub in New York City.[65]

Porter performed "For What It's Worth" with Stephen Stills at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.



Year Title Role Notes
1996 Twisted Siniqua [66]
1996 The First Wives Club Singer
1997 Anastasia Ensemble and character voices Voice role
2000 The Intern Sebastian Niederfarb [67]
2000 The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy Taylor [68]
2004 Noel Randy [69]
2014 The Humbling Prince [70]
2020 Like a Boss Barrett
2021 Cinderella Fairy Godmother Post-production[71]
TBD Little Shop of Horrors Audrey II Voice role; Pre-production[72]


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Another World Billy Rush Unknown episodes
1999 Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story Little Richard Television movie
2004 Law & Order Greg Ellison Episode: "Cry Wolf"
2007–12 So You Think You Can Dance Performer 4 episodes
2012 The Big C Eric Episode: "Thin Ice"
2013 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jackie Walker Episode: "Dissonant Voices"
2013 Land of Lola: Backstage at Kinky Boots Host 8 episodes
2014 Christmas at Rockefeller Plaza Performer Television special
2015 Billy Porter: Broad & Soul Performer Television special
2016 The Get Down DJ Malibu Episode: "Where There Is Ruin, There Is Hope for a Treasure"
2018–present Pose Pray Tell 17 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2019)
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series (2019–2020)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2019–2020)
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2020)
Nominated—Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama
2018 American Horror Story: Apocalypse Behold Chablis 5 episodes
2019 Saturday Night Live Himself Episode: "David Harbour/Camila Cabello"
2019-present Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve Himself New Orleans correspondent (2019), Times Square correspondent (2020)
2020 The Simpsons Desmond Voice role; Episode: "Highway To Well"
2020 The Twilight Zone Keith Episode: "The Who of You"
2020 Saturday Night Seder Himself Television special


Sources:Playbill Vault;[73] Off-Broadway Database[74]

See also


  1. ^ "Family Celebrates Billy Porter's Tony Award Win". June 10, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  2. ^ "'Like A Boss' star Billy Porter on the influence of strong women in his life". Good Morning America. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  3. ^ "Billy Porter: The 100 Most Influential People of 2020". Time. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  4. ^ "Billy Porter". September 21, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  5. ^ "Tony Awards Acceptance Speeches From Billy Porter, Patina Miller, Cyndi Lauper, Andrea Martin, Judith Light and More | Playbill". Playbill. May 23, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  6. ^ "Celebrating Billy Porter". New Pittsburgh Courier. October 24, 2013. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  7. ^ Petrarca, Emilia (May 1, 2019). "The Realness of Billy Porter". The Cut. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  8. ^ "'Pose' Star Billy Porter Reveals Past Sexual Abuse in Searing Op-Ed". October 31, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  9. ^ "Billy Porter's one-man show traces his life, onstage and off |". Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  10. ^ "UCLA Professional Programs". Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  11. ^ Gordon, David. "My First Tony Award Nomination", May 27, 2013
  12. ^ Rawson, Christopher (March 5, 2004). "Rooting for the Underdog: Homewood native Billy Porter finds his focus in a career with many facets". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  13. ^ Jones, Kenneth (August 4, 2004). "Norm Lewis and Billy Porter Woo Dreamgirls, Including Frenchie Davis, in Pittsburgh Aug. 10–22". Playbill.
  14. ^ a b c d Billy Porter at the Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  15. ^ Sandman, Jenny (March 15, 2005). "Review. Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)".
  16. ^ Murray, Matthew (March 6, 2005). "Off-Broadway Review. Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)".
  17. ^ Gans, Andrew (January 24, 2006). "GLAAD Media Awards Nominees Include I Am My Own Wife, Color Purple and Ghetto Superstar". Playbill.
  18. ^ "Announcing the Cast of Angels in America". Signature Theatre Company. June 22, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  19. ^ Purcell, Carey (June 10, 2013). "Kinky Boots, Vanya and Sonia, Pippin and Virginia Woolf? Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards". Playbill.
  20. ^ Hetrick, Adam; Gans, Andrew (May 20, 2013). "Billy Porter, Andrea Martin, Pippin, Matilda, Vanya and Sonia Win Drama Desk Awards". Playbill.
  21. ^ Thomas, Kevin (December 12, 1997). "A Twisted Tale of Souls Rising Above Corruption". Los Angeles Times.
  22. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth (January 19, 2006). "John Bucchino's Revue It's Only Life Will Be Preserved on CD". Playbill.
  23. ^ "Myths and Hymns Studio Cast". Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  24. ^ Hetrick, Adam (September 24, 2014). "Billy Porter's While I Yet Live, with Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson, Premieres Off-Broadway". Playbill.
  25. ^ a b "Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers". The Official Masterworks Broadway Site. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  26. ^ "Everybody Say Yeah! Original Kinky Boots Stars Billy Porter & Stark Sands Will Return to Hit Musical". Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  27. ^ King, Eric (August 2, 2018). "Tony Winner Billy Porter Will Appear in Season Eight of American Horror Story". Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  28. ^ Shoemaker, Allison (August 3, 2018). "Pose's Billy Porter joins the cast of American Horror Story: Apocalypse". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  29. ^ Feldman, Adam (July 17, 2018). "Dyllón Burnside: Up Close and Personal". Time Out New York. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  30. ^ Hetrick, Adam (July 14, 2018). "FX's Pose Stars, Dyllón Burnside, Mj Rodriguez, and Ryan Jamaal Swain, Will Perform NYC Concert". Playbill. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  31. ^ "To Be Real: The Cast Of Pose Gives Back — Already! — At NYC GLSEN Benefit". Boy Culture. July 24, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  32. ^ Galassi, Josh (May 23, 2019). "Red Carpet and 'Pose' star Billy Porter is telling the queer stories we've been waiting for". Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  33. ^ "Billy Porter Wore a Uterus Motif to the Tonys to Make a Statement". Time. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  34. ^ "Billy Porter Took the Tonys Stage During a Commercial Break and Sang Gypsy". Vulture. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  35. ^ Rhodes, Malcolm (June 17, 2019). "Taylor Swift's new Pride music video is jam-packed with over 20 cameos from LGBTQ icons". Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  36. ^ "Democrats Announce Highlights from Opening Night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention: Uniting America". 2020 Democratic National Convention. August 17, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  37. ^ Gonzales, Erica (January 7, 2019). "Billy Porter's Golden Globes Look Just Changed My Life". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  38. ^ "Why Billy Porter Wore a Gown to the 2019 Oscars". Time. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  39. ^ "CFDA". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  40. ^ "Billy Porter Just Made the Most Fabulous Entrance in Met Gala History". Vogue. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  41. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie. The two have been a sight for the naked eye. Their love filled with happiness."Billy Porter Is a Married Man!" Playbill, January 17, 2017
  42. ^ Hennemuth, Britt (August 2020). "Billy Porter - Actor". Vanity Fair.
  43. ^ "Kinky Boots' Billy Porter on His 'Amaaaazing' Audience Choice Award Win for Favorite Actor in a Musical". Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  44. ^ "Vote Now! Kinky Boots and Matilda Top the 2013 Audience Choice Award Nominations". Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  45. ^ a b "2013 Drama League Awards Nominees Announced". April 23, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  46. ^ a b c Wilkinson, Alissa (September 22, 2019). "Pose's Billy Porter makes LGBTQ history with his Emmy win". Vox. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  47. ^ Skethway, Nathan (September 21, 2019). "Celebrate Billy Porter's Birthday With a Look Back at His Tony-Winning Turn in Kinky Boots". Playbill. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  48. ^ Knapp, J. D.; Knapp, J. D. (May 7, 2017). "28th GLAAD Media Awards: Complete List of Winners". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  49. ^ "Critics' Choice Awards 2019: The Complete List of Nominations". E! Online. December 10, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  50. ^ "Dorian Awards: 'The Favourite' Named Film of the Year". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  51. ^ Montgomery, Daniel (July 9, 2020). "'Pose' Emmy interviews: Billy Porter, Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore and more discuss groundbreaking FX drama". GoldDerby. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  52. ^ Wloszczyna, Daniel Montgomery,Marcus James Dixon,Chris Beachum,Joyce Eng,Paul Sheehan,Susan; Montgomery, Daniel; Dixon, Marcus James; Beachum, Chris; Eng, Joyce; Sheehan, Paul; Wloszczyna, Susan (September 18, 2019). "Gold Derby TV Awards winners 2019: 'Game of Thrones' and 'Fleabag' rule, but voters spread the wealth". GoldDerby. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  53. ^ Wloszczyna, Daniel Montgomery, Joyce Eng, Chris Beachum,Marcus James Dixon, Paul Sheehan, Susan; Montgomery, Daniel; Eng, Joyce; Beachum, Chris; Dixon, Marcus James; Sheehan, Paul; Wloszczyna, Susan (November 4, 2019). "Gold Derby TV Decade Award winners: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Veep,' Ryan Murphy and more were the best from 2010-2019". GoldDerby. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  54. ^ a b "Golden Globes rewards war drama, Tarantino; Billy Porter settles for red-carpet win". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  55. ^ "'Pose,' 'Russian Doll,' HBO Lead 2019 TV Critic Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  56. ^ "Critics' Choice Awards 2020: The Complete List of Nominations". E! Online. December 8, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  57. ^ "'Parasite' Tops Dorian Awards With 5 Wins". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  58. ^ Reddish, David (February 26, 2020). "And the winners of the 2020 Queerties are…". Queerty. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  59. ^ a b c Hetrick, Adam. " 'Kinky Boots' Star Billy Porter Releases "Billy's Back on Broadway" April 15" Playbill, April 15, 2014
  60. ^ " 'At the Corner of Broadway + Soul' Listing" AllMusic. Retrieved June 24, 2016
  61. ^
  62. ^ Suskin, Steven. "On The Record: 'Little Me', 'Charlie Brown', and especially Adam Guettel" Playbill, March 21, 1999
  63. ^ "David Raleigh THE FRIENDS PROJECT – "That's What Friends Are For" Official Video (HD)". November 11, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2013 – via YouTube.
  64. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Live From Lincoln Center's 40th anniversary season on PBS will continue April 3 with a concert from Tony winner Billy Porter" Playbill, April 2, 2015
  65. ^ "Billy Porter Returns to Joe's Pub December 7 and 8", November 12, 2008
  66. ^ Twisted Retrieved June 25, 2016
  67. ^ Intern Retrieved June 25, 2016
  68. ^ The Broken Hearts Club Retrieved August 7, 2015
  69. ^ Noel Retrieved August 7, 2015
  70. ^ "The Humbling". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  71. ^ Acevedo, Nicole. "Camila Cabello will bring 'Cinderella' to life in Sony's new film". NBC News. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  72. ^ Kit, Borys (February 24, 2020). "Chris Evans in Talks to Star in Greg Berlanti's 'Little Shop of Horrors'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  73. ^ "Billy Porter Broadway" Playbill. Retrieved June 24, 2016
  74. ^ "Billy Porter Off-Broadway" Retrieved June 24, 2016
  75. ^ Klein, Alvin. "Theater. 'Jesus Christ Superstar' In Revisionist Staging" The New York Times, December 20, 1998
  76. ^ Lefkowitz, David. "Dreamy Night for Dreamgirls' Actors' Fund Benefit, Which Reaps $1.1 Million" Playbill, September 28, 2001
  77. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Pittsburgh 'Topdog' Has Ray Anthony Thomas and Native Son Billy Porter, March 4 – April 4" Playbill, February 23, 2004
  78. ^ "Billy Porter, Justin Bartha and Stana Katic Set for September at WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT" Broadway World, August 9, 2016

External links

This page was last updated at 2021-03-19 13:55 UTC. Update now. View original page.

All our content comes from Wikipedia and under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.