Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Maryann (Long), a teacher's assistant, and Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City, where he very early decided that the theater was to be his career. He attended the High School for the Performing Arts (popularized in Fame (1980)). But dreams of the musical theater (and maybe a few commercials) faded when his mother moved to Orlando, Florida before he could graduate from high school. But after graduation from a Florida high school he appeared in local dinner theaters and regional productions. An agent saw him in a competition and got him his first movie role with Goldie Hawn in Wildcats (1986). Athletic roles such as that gave way to tough guy roles as in New Jack City (1991), and to the action hero in Passenger 57 (1992). Wesley feels that at least with the Hollywood heavyweights he must be doing something right - Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Dennis Hopper and Sean Connery all had veto power over casting and all approved his role.