LL Cool J

LL Cool J Headshot

Rapper • Actor

Birth Name: James Todd Smith

Birth Date: January 14, 1968

Age: 56 years old

Birth Place: Bay Shore, New York

A true hip-hop original, LL Cool J did as much as anybody to bring rap to the mainstream in the '80s. He was born James Todd Smith in the Bay Shore section of Long Island in New York on January 14, 1968. His early life was horrific - his father shot both LL's mother and grandfather, and the young LL was the victim of child abuse.

He found solace in rapping while still an adolescent, and by the time he was 16 he had gotten himself a record deal with Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons' then-new Def Jam label. Rechristened LL Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James), he released his debut single, "I Need a Beat," in 1984. The record's sales figures helped to put both LL and the label on the map.

As successful as the song was, it hadn't charted, but LL's next two singles, "I Can't Live Without My Radio" and "Rock the Bells" became bona fide hits, and his 1985 debut LP, Radio, crossed over to the pop charts and went Platinum, making him one of hip hop's first real stars. His next album, 1987's Bigger and Deffer blew up even bigger, hitting No. 1 R&B and No. 3 Pop and including the hit "I Need Love," a gentle love song that expanded people's conception of rap's possibilities.

The 1989 album Walking With a Panther was similarly successful, but it was 1990's Mama Said Knock You Out that really carved LL's face into hip hop's Mt. Rushmore, becoming the biggest album of his career and birthing the Gold singles "Around the Way Girl" and the title track. In the early '90s, LL inaugurated his acting sideline, which would prove as long lasting as his musical career. During this period he appeared in such films as Barry Levinson's "Toys" (1993) and "The Hard Way," and in 1995 he began a five-season run as the star of the TV sitcom "In the House" (WB 1995-2000).

Later, he starred in the procedural drama "NCIS: Los Angeles" (CBS 2009- ). Throughout his life, LL would continue to rack up hip-hop "firsts," from being the first hip-hop artist to appear on American Bandstand to becoming the first rapper honored at the Kennedy Center, the latter distinction arriving in 2017.

Credits

James Brown: Say It LoudStream

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Docuseries
2024

Kings From Queens: The Run DMC StoryStream

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2024
100%

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction CeremonyStream

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2024

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest

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2023

A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop

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2023

A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop

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2023

2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

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2023

Rock the Bells

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2023

2023 MTV Video Music Awards

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2023

Hip Hop TreasuresStream

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2023

Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular

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2023

Gold Minds With Kevin Hart

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2023

LL Cool J - Countdown Concert

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2023

National Christmas Tree Lighting: Celebrating 100 Years

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2022

The Jennifer Hudson Show

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2022

2022 MTV Video Music Awards

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Supreme TeamStream

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Come Dance with MeStream

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The National Christmas Tree Lighting

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NCIS: Hawai'iStream

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CBS Mornings

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Behind the MusicStream

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What's in Your Glass?

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HHRB Collabs: Then

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2021

LL Cool J & Jay Z

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2021

Perfect Together: Greatest Duets

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2021

Play On: Celebrating the Power of Music to Make Change

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2020

Play On: Celebrating the Power of Music to Make Change

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2020

The Fat Joe Show

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2020

One World: Together at Home

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2020

Fox's New Year's Eve With Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square

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2019

The 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors

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2019

Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America

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2019

The Kelly Clarkson ShowStream

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2019

GMA3: Strahan, Sara & Keke

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2019

Today With Hoda & Jenna

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2019

Desus & Mero

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'94 Hip-Hop

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2019

RememberingIcons

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2019

'80s Def Jam

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2019

DefJam 2k

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2019

Fight For Love

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2019

Celebrating Life

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2019

Greatest Rappers 3

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2019

Perfect Together: 10 Best Pop Duets

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2019

A Home for the Holidays: The 20th Anniversary

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2018

Q 85: A Musical Celebration for Quincy Jones

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2018

Story of Cool

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2018

Story of Cool

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2018

MVP: Most Valuable Performer

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2018

Def Jam Legends

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2018

RIP Craig Mack

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2018

'80s Hip Hop

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2018

Bad Boy Hip-Hop

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2018

Rock Hall '19 Noms

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2018

LL Cool J Hits

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2018

The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

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2017

STEVE on Watch

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2017

Coming in 2017

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2017

Simone I Smith Jewelry With Special Guest LL Cool J

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2016

Greatest Hits

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2016

The $100,000 PyramidStream

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2016

The 58th Annual Grammy Awards

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2016

A Home for the Holidays

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2015

Sinatra 100 -- An All-Star Grammy Concert

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2015

FABLife

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2015

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

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2015

The Monday Night Show With Adam Freeman

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Lip Sync BattleStream

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The Late Late Show With James Corden

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2015

Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life -- An All-Star Grammy Salute

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2015

The 57th Annual Grammy Awards

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2015

A Very Grammy Christmas

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2014

ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops

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2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

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2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

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2014

The 2014 56th Annual Grammy Awards: Highlights

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2014

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards

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2014

LL Cool J - Coke Zero Countdown Concert

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2014

The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! -- Countdown to Music's Biggest Night

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2013

The Queen Latifah Show

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2013

The Arsenio Hall Show

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2013

Mayweather

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2013

SXSW Live: Public Enemy, Ice Cube, LL Cool J

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2013

The 55th Annual Grammy Awards

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2013

The Grammys Will Go On: A Death in the Family

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2013

omg! Insider

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2013

Grudge Match

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Frankie Brite
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2013

The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! -- Countdown to Music's Biggest Night

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2012

Katie

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2012

Steve Harvey

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2012

Live! With Kelly and Michael

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2012

Taya Beauty Hair Care

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2012

Finding Your RootsStream

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2012

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards

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2012

CBS This Morning

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2012

LL Cool J Feat. Joe: Take It

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2012

The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!!: Countdown to Music's Biggest Night

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2011

The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!!: Countdown to Music's Biggest Night

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2011

LIVE with Kelly

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2011

Piers Morgan Tonight

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2011

The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!: Countdown to Music's Biggest Night

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2010

CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute

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2010

ConanStream

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2010

The TalkStream

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Hawaii Five-0Stream

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Real American Stories

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The Grammy Nominations Concert Live: Countdown to Music's Biggest Night

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2009

WWII in HDStream

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2009

Lopez Tonight

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2009

NCIS: Los AngelesStream

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Special Agent Sam Hanna
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2009

Watch What Happens Live With Andy CohenStream

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2009

Feel the Beat

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2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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2009

The Grammy Nominations Concert Live: Countdown to Music's Biggest Night

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2008

LL Cool J Feat Redman, DMX, Method Man, Canibus & Master P: 4,3,2,1

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2008

The Bonnie Hunt Show

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2008

The Doctors

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2008

Teen Choice 2008

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2008

LL Cool J Feat Boyz II Men: Hey Lover

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2008

LL Cool J feat. Amerie: Paradise

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2008

LL Cool J Feat. 7 Aurelius: Hush

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2008

LL Cool J: Mama Said Knock You Out

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2008

LL Cool J Feat. The-Dream: Baby

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2008

LL Cool J Feat. The-Dream: Baby

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2008

LL Cool J: Rocking With the G.O.A.T.

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2008

LL Cool J: Jingling Baby

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2008

LL Cool J: I'm Bad

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2008

LL Cool J: I Need Love

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2008

LL Cool J: Going Back to Cali

Music Performer
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2008

The Deal

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Bobby Mason
Movie
2008

The Better Show

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2007

The 38th NAACP Image Awards

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2007

30 RockStream

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Ridikolus
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2006
78%

Rachael Ray ShowStream

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2006

etalk

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2006

LL Cool J: Freeze

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2006

Last HolidayStream

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Sean Matthews
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2006
55%

The Tyra Show

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2005

Entertainment Tonight Canada

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2005

The Martha Stewart Show

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2005

American DadStream

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2005

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

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2005

EdisonStream

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2005
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Slow BurnStream

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Luther Pinks
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2005
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HouseStream

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Clarence
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2004
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2004 Vibe Awards

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2004

The Insider

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2004

Tavis Smiley

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2004

LL Cool J: Headsprung

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2004

LL Cool J: Hush

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2004

Lovci na ubojice, britansko

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MindhuntersStream

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Gabe Jensen (as James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J)
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2004
24%

Jennifer Lopez & LL Cool J: All I Have

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2003

NCISStream

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NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna
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2003

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

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2003

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

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Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

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2003

Deliver Us From EvaStream

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Ray
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2003
43%

S.W.A.T.Stream

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Deacon 'Deke' Kaye
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2003
48%

Last Call With Carson Daly

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2002

Jennifer Lopez Feat. LL Cool J: All I Have

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2002

LL Cool J: Luv U Better

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2002

LL Cool J: Paradise

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2002

RollerballStream

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Marcus Ridley
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2002
3%

Friday Night with Jonathan Ross

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2001

Live With Regis and Kelly

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2001

Ludacris Feat. Keith Murray, LL Cool J: Fatty Girl

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2001

Kingdom ComeStream

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Ray Bud Slocumb
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2001
27%

LL Cool J: Imagine That

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2000

LL Cool J Feat. Kelly Price: You and Me

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2000

Charlie's AngelsStream

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Mr. Jones
Movie
2000
68%

The Early Show

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1999

The Early Show

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1999

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

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1999

Demasiado Adentro

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1999

In Too DeepStream

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Dwayne Gittens/God
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1999
39%

Deep Blue SeaStream

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Sherman "Preacher" Dudley
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1999
60%

Any Given SundayStream

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1999
52%

Caught Up

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Roger
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Woo

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Darryl
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1998

Halloween H20: 20 Years LaterStream

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Ronald "Ronny" Jones
Movie
1998
54%

The ViewStream

Guest
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1997

OzStream

Guest Star
Jiggy Walker
Series
1997
93%

LL Cool J: Phenomenon

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1997

Access Hollywood

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1996

The Chris Rock ShowStream

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1996

LL Cool J: Ain't Nobody

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1996

The Right to Remain Silent

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Charles Red Taylor
Movie
1996

MADtvStream

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1995
43%

In the HouseStream

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Marion Hill
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1995

Out of Sync

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1995

Extra

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1994

Extra

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1994

Craig Mack Feat. Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, & the Notorious B.I.G.: Flava in Your Ear (Remix)

Music Performer
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1994

Craig Mack Feat. The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Rampage & Busta Rhymes: Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)

Music Performer
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1994

Late Night With Conan O'Brien

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1993

Late Show With David Letterman

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1993

LL Cool J: Back Seat

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1993

The Tonight Show With Jay Leno

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1992

ToysStream

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Captain Patrick Zevo
Movie
1992
29%

E! News

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1991

The Hard Way

Actor
Detective Billy
Movie
1991

LL Cool J: Big Ole Butt

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1989

LL Cool J: One Shot At Love

Music Performer
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1989

LL Cool J: I'm That Type of Guy

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1989

WildcatsStream

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Rapper
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1986
26%

Entertainment Tonight

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1981

Entertainment Tonight

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1981

CBS News Sunday Morning

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1979

Good Morning America

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1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

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1975

Sesame StreetStream

Guest Star
Series
1969

Today

Guest
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1952

News aboutLL Cool J

Noah Mills as Jesse Boone and Vanessa Lachey as Jane Tennant in 'NCIS: Hawai'i' Series Finale
Spoiler Alert

‘NCIS: Hawai’i’ Series Finale Ends on Major Cliffhanger for Jane Tennant

Henry Ian Cusick as Swift and Vanessa Lachey as Jane in 'NCIS: Hawai'i' Season 3 Episode 9 'Spill the Tea'
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‘NCIS: Hawai’i’: Swift Reveals Major Threat in Series Finale Part 1 Sneak Peek (VIDEO)

Jason Antoon as Ernie Malik in 'NCIS: Hawai'i' Season 3 Episode 5
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How ‘NCIS: Hawai’i’ Just Set Up Two-Part Season 3 Finale

Vanessa Lachey, Mark Harmon, and Scott Bakula for the 'NCIS' franchise

‘NCIS’ by the Numbers as Franchise Hits Landmark 1000th Episode

Vanessa Lachey as Jane Tennant, Yasmine Al-Bustami as Lucy Tara, and LL Cool J as Sam Hanna — 'NCIS: Hawai'i' Season 3 Episode 5
Spoiler Alert

‘NCIS: Hawai’i’ Reveals Sam’s Secret — How Long Is He Staying on the Island?

LL Cool J as Sam Hanna in 'NCIS: Hawai'i' Season 3 Premiere - 'Run and Gun'
Spoiler Alert

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LL Cool J as Sam Hanna — 'NCIS: Hawai'i' Season 3 Episode 3
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Henry Ian Cusick as Agent Swift — 'NCIS: Hawai'i Season 3 Episode 2
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‘NCIS: Hawai’i’ First Look: Henry Ian Cusick Returns — But Swift’s Not Here for Reason Jane Thinks (VIDEO)

LL Cool J as Sam Hanna in 'NCIS: Hawai'i' Season 3 Premiere - 'Run and Gun'
Spoiler Alert

Is Sam Hiding Something on ‘NCIS: Hawai’i’? LL COOL J & Vanessa Lachey Weigh In

Chris O'Donnell, Daniela Ruah, Eric Christian Olsen, LL Cool J, Wilmer Valderrama, and Vanessa Lachey in 'NCIS: LA'

With LL COOL J on ‘NCIS: Hawai’i,’ Will We Get Update on Hetty & Other ‘LA’ Characters?

Vanessa Lachey and LL Cool J — 'NCIS: Hawai'i' Season 3 Premiere
Q&A

‘NCIS: Hawai’i’: Vanessa Lachey & LL COOL J Reveal Sam Brings Out Jane’s Vulnerable Side

LL Cool J as Sam Hanna and Vanessa Lachey as Jane Tennant — 'NCIS: Hawai'i' Season 3 Premiere

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'A Grammy Salute to 50 Years of Hip Hop'

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Shakira performs at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards

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Yo-Yo
Q&A

‘Hip Hop Treasures’: Yolanda ‘Yo-Yo’ Whittaker on Hunting for Memorabilia & Hanging With Coolio

LL Cool J in 'Superfan'
Exclusive

‘Superfan’ Sneak Peek: LL Cool J Reveals Why He Second Guessed Hit ‘Going Back to Cali’ (VIDEO)

Ice T and LL Cool J in 'Hip Hop Treasures'

‘Hip Hop Treasures’: LL Cool J & Ice T Track Down Memorabilia in New A&E Series (VIDEO)

LL Cool J, Tori Anderson, and Vanessa Lachey in 'NCIS: Hawai'i'
Spoiler Alert

‘NCIS: Hawai’i’: LL Cool J to Reprise ‘LA’ Role & Recur in Season 3

LL Cool J for 'NCIS: Los Angeles'
Q&A

A Farewell to ‘NCIS: LA’: LL Cool J Looks Back on Sam’s Journey

Bar Paly as Anna and Chris O'Donnell as Callen on 'NCIS: Los Angeles'
Preview

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Cast Teases Last Case, Callen’s Wedding & More in Series Finale

Superfan - Little Big Town

‘Superfan’: CBS Sets Premiere Date for Fan Competition Series

LL Cool J, Medalion Rahimi, Eric Christian Olsen, Daniela Ruah, R. Scott Gemmill, David Stapf, Chris O’Donnell, Gerald McRaney and Caleb Castille for 'NCIS: Los Angeles'
Preview

‘NCIS: LA’: Prepare for a ‘Satisfying’ Series Finale With Big Returns & Surprises

Linda Hunt, Chris O'Donnell, Daniela Ruah, and LL Cool J in 'NCIS: Los Angeles'

‘NCIS: LA’: See the Cast in Their First & Last Seasons (PHOTOS)

Gary Cole, LL Cool J, Vanessa Lachey, and Noah Mills in 'NCIS: Hawai'i'

‘NCIS’: First-Ever 3-Way Crossover Event Pushed Back, New Airdate Announced

Tye White, LL Cool J and Richard Gant in 'NCIS: Los Angeles'
Preview

‘NCIS: LA’ Boss Teases ‘Top Gun’-Style Nail-Biter in Aiden-Focused Episode

Eric Christian Olsen, Chris O'Donnell, LL Cool J in NCIS: Los Angeles

‘NCIS: LA’ Team Investigates Drones in Season 14 Premiere (PHOTOS)

Nicki Minaj, Jack Harlow, LL Cool J

2022 VMAs: LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj & Jack Harlow to Emcee

House Wentworth Miller

‘House’ Ended a Decade Ago: 10 Stars Who Had Guest Turns

Chris O'Donnell as G Callen in NCIS LA

‘NCIS: LA’ Brings Back Katya to Put Callen & Team in Danger (VIDEO)

Richard Gant as Raymond, Gerald McRaney as Kilbride in NCIS Los Angeles

‘NCIS: LA’ Season 13 Finale: A Special Beach Barbecue (PHOTOS)

LL Cool J as Sam Hanna in NCIS Los Angeles
Preview

‘NCIS: LA’ Episode 300 Will See Major Changes in the Agents’ Personal Lives

LL Cool J as Sam, Richard Gant as Raymond in NCIS Los Angeles

‘NCIS: LA’ Episode 300: Richard Gant Guest Stars as Sam’s Father (PHOTOS)

Gloria Estafan, LL Cool J, and Shania Twain

‘Superfan’: LL Cool J, Gloria Estefan & More Join CBS’ New Musical Game Show

Come Dance With Me CBS

‘Come Dance With Me’ EP Chris O’Donnell Dishes on Family Competition Series

Philip Lawrence, Dexter Mayfield, Jenna Dewan, Tricia Miranda in Come Dance With Me

Chris O’Donnell & LL Cool J’s ‘Come Dance With Me’ Sets Premiere Date on CBS

LL Cool J and Jennifer Lopez peforming at the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards

LL Cool J to Host and Perform at the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Awards

NCIS Los Angeles Deeks Callen Sam Kensi

Where the ‘NCIS: LA’ Finale Left Everyone & What Could Be Next

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Elizabeth Bogush NCIS Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 13 Joelle Taylor

‘NCIS: LA’ Sets Out to Rescue Joelle — What Will It Take? (PHOTOS)

Behind the Music Logo

Go ‘Behind the Music’ With Jennifer Lopez, LL Cool J, Ricky Martin and Huey Lewis on Paramount+ (VIDEO)

Callen Arrest Anna NCIS Los Angeles 1212

‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Brings Callen Face-to-Face With a Missing Anna (PHOTOS)

Kam Kidnapped Cell NCIS Los Angeles Season 12 Episode 10

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NCIS Los Angeles Christmas Season 9 Kensi Deeks Eric Nell
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LL Cool J as Sam Hanna - NCIS Los Angeles - Season 12

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LL Cool J

LL Cool J Hosts the 42nd Kennedy Center Honors Celebrating 5 New Honorees

Concours d'Elegance
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Hail Mary

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Untitled design
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Decoy

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NCISLA JAG
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