Columbus Short

Columbus Short Headshot

Actor • Choreographer • Dancer • Rapper

Birth Name: Columbus Keith Short Jr.

Birth Date: September 19, 1982

Age: 41 years old

Birth Place: Kansas City, Missouri

While Columbus Short kicked off his professional performing career in the late '90s as a touring ensemble dancer in "Stomp," he became a familiar face in TV and film throughout the following decade. Background roles in popular flicks like "You Got Served" (2004) and "War of the Worlds" (2005) helped land Short his breakout turn as DJ Williams in the surprise hit film "Stomp the Yard" (2007). But as his Hollywood star shone brighter, he refused to abandon his career onstage: Short collaborated with Britney Spears as a choreographer on the pop star's elaborately staged Onyx Hotel Tour in the mid-2000s.

In addition to a recurring role on the short-lived, Aaron Sorkin-penned series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (NBC, 2006-07), Short starred in such high-profile films as "Quarantine" (2008), "Armored" (2009) and "The Losers" (2010), paving the way for his crucial role as devoted lawyer Harrison Wright on the well-received political drama "Scandal" (ABC, 2012-).

Born into a musical family on Sept. 19, 1982 in Kansas City, MO, Columbus Short began dancing and singing as fast as he could learn to walk. He constantly performed impressions for his parents and two younger brothers as a toddler, practically guaranteeing him a life in the spotlight. After the family uprooted to California, Short acted in many youth theater productions and attended the Orange County High School of the Arts. Eager for the entertainment world to know his name, he landed several commercial acting jobs throughout high school, snagging his biggest taste of fame in a Mountain Dew commercial opposite Busta Rhymes.

Such a high-profile gig earned him the opportunity to bask in the excessive life of a celebrity, buying flashy cars and living large. "When I was 13, 14, 15, I just wanted things," Short said about this naïve period in his life. But this narrow mindset faded over time: "Money drove me early, and artistic quality drives me now." (Chicago Maroon, Dec. 2009).

The theater world took notice of Short's talent, and in 1999, he finished his senior year early to travel the world as a cast member of the percussive extravaganza "Stomp" (1991- ) during the show's Broadway tour. Next, he joined the ranks of background dancers for Britney Spears' Onyx Hotel Tour in 2004, only to be promoted to choreographer and creative director after a mere two weeks spent dancing with the megastar. A reported romance between Short and Spears (denied by Short, who blamed the rumors for ending his first marriage) led to a falling out with the singer, but the gig led directly into Short's Hollywood career; the following year saw him featured as a street dancer in "You Got Served" (2004) and as a soldier in Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" (2005).

Quick appearances on the TV dramas "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) and "Judging Amy" (CBS, 1999-2005) preceded Short's stretch as Darius Hawthorne, assistant writer to Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) on the comedy-drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (NBC, 2006-07). But he finally reached leading-man status in 2007, playing central character DJ Williams in the smash hit collegiate dance film "Stomp the Yard" (2007) alongside Chris Brown and Ne-Yo.

Always looking to keep his career varied and colorful -- "You want to graduate with each film you do." (Chicago Maroon, Dec. 2009) -- Short's cinematic career skyrocketed in the following years, with the actor appearing opposite Hollywood heavyweights including Adrien Brody in the period biopic "Cadillac Records" (2008), Laurence Fishburne in the heist thriller "Armored" (2009) and Chris Evans in the comic book actioner "The Losers" (2010).

Short returned to primetime on the Washington, D.C.-set drama "Scandal" (ABC, 2012- ) as Harrison Wright, an honest lawyer who works with White House Aide Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington). Short's time on the show was cut short by a scandal of his own in the spring of 2014: when the actor was arrested on domestic violence charges three times, as well as unrelated charges from a bar fight in West Hollywood, he was let go from the series by producers at the end of the show's second season.

Credits

Mind Your Business

Actor
Series
2024

Finding Tony

Actor
Movie
2024

Life Without Hope: A New Chapter

Actor
Life
Movie
2023

Sisters

Actor
Kevin
Movie
2023

Stay OutStream

Actor
Movie
2023

Rackades

Actor
Rico
Movie
2023

Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story

Actor
Martin Luther King Jr.
Movie
2022

Scott Free

Actor
Todd
Movie
2022

Scott Free

Executive Producer
Movie
2022

The Fight That Never Ends

Actor
Norris
Movie
2021

D.L. Hughley: Uncut

Guest
Show
2020

Influence

Actor
Billy King
Movie
2020

Atone

Actor
White
Movie
2019

Dear Frank

Actor
George
Movie
2019

Armed

Actor
Turell
Movie
2018

Sister Circle

Guest
Talk
2017

American Violence

Actor
Ben Woods
Movie
2017

True to the Game

Actor
Quadir Richards
Movie
2017

Definitely Divorcing

Actor
Eric
Movie
2016

Mr. Right

Actor
Michael
Movie
2015

Lucky Girl

Actor
Dillon
Movie
2015

The Arsenio Hall Show

Guest
Show
2013

ScandalStream

Actor
Harrison Wright
Series
2012
93%

The Girl Is in Trouble

Actor
August
Movie
2012

ConanStream

Guest
Talk
2010

Access Hollywood Live

Guest
Show
2010

Death at a FuneralStream

Actor
Jeff
Movie
2010
43%

The LosersStream

Actor
Pooch
Movie
2010
48%

Stomp the Yard: Homecoming

Actor
DJ Williams
Movie
2010

Lopez Tonight

Guest
Show
2009

The Wanda Sykes Show

Guest
Talk
2009

The Mo'Nique Show

Actor
Show
2009

ES.TV

Guest
Show
2009

Armored

Actor
Ty Hackett
Movie
2009

WhiteoutStream

Actor
Delfy
Movie
2009
7%

The Wendy Williams Show

Guest
Talk
2008

QuarantineStream

Actor
Danny Wilensky
Movie
2008
55%

Cadillac RecordsStream

Actor
Little Walter
Movie
2008
66%

Stomp the YardStream

Actor
DJ Williams
Movie
2007
27%

This ChristmasStream

Actor
Claude
Movie
2007
55%

Studio 60 on the Sunset StripStream

Guest Star
Darius Hawthorne
Series
2006
74%

Accepted

Actor
Hands
Movie
2006

Save the Last Dance 2

Actor
Miles
Movie
2006

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

Judging Amy

Guest Star
Series
1999

The View

Guest
Talk
1997

Access Hollywood

Guest
News
1996

Entertainers: With Byron Allen

Guest
Show
1994

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