Steel: About The Cast

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SHAQUILLE O'NEAL (John Henry Irons/Steel) is known as the "Shaq Attack" to professional basketball fans all over the world. Having only been with the NBA for five seasons, O'Neal has already enjoyed a celebrated basketball career. Despite a knee injury that kept him out of the starting lineup for 28 games this season, O'Neal lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 56-26 record, a second-place finish in the Pacific Division and a remarkable appearance in the Western Conference Semifinals. He has been honored with the 1993 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and been elected to the NBA All-Star team in each of his first three professional seasons, as well as being voted one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all time. Recently, O'Neal played for the Gold Medal-winning United States "Dream Team II" at the Olympic Games in Atlanta and was also voted "Favorite Male Athlete" by kids across the country at the 1997 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

Off the court, Shaquille O'Neal has successfully ventured into feature films, music, television and the worldwide web. He made his motion picture debut opposite Nick Nolte in "Blue Chips" and starred as the wish-granting genie in "Kazaam." O'Neal has been featured in cutting-edge global advertisements for Reebok, Pepsi and Taco Bell, among many others, and was recently voted the "Most Wanted" personality for endorsements by the Fortune 500 companies.

O'Neal launched his music career as a rap singer with his debut album, "Shaq Diesel," which went platinum, followed by "Shaq Fu: Da Return," which reached gold status. "You Can't Stop the Reign," his current album and the first to be released by O'Neal's own record label, T.W.Is.M. (The World Is Mine), continues to climb the charts, propelled by his hit single, "Strait Playin' (I Like Playin' on the West Side)." O'Neal was also responsible for signing three new acts to the label: R&B sensations "1 Accord" and "S.H.E." (Soul, Heart Energy); and rapper Peter Gunz.

Despite his accomplishments in sports and entertainment and his worldwide status as a celebrity icon, Shaquille O'Neal manages to maintain his philanthropic activities by uplifting and helping those who are less fortunate. He became the national spokesperson for RIF (Reading Is Fundamental), a national organization that engages millions of people of all ages in literacy programs, and has affiliated himself with organizations including the "Make-A-Wish Foundation," the "Boys and Girls Clubs of America" and "AEFK" (Athletes and Entertainers for Kids), among others.

Last year, Shaq hosted the AEFK Summer Games, which teamed neglected children with celebrity coaches in an afternoon of fun and challenging events, to benefit the California Mentoring Initiative. This fall, Shaq will sponsor a similar charity fundraiser with AEFK entitled "Shaqtacular," to further his ongoing commitment to the community and children everywhere.

ANNABETH GISH (Lieutenant Sparks) made a memorable feature-film debut at the age of 13, starring opposite Jon Voight and Ellen Barkin in "Desert Bloom." She gained widespread recognition for her performance in the sleeper hit "Mystic Pizza," alongside Julia Roberts and Lili Taylor. In 1989, Gish departed Hollywood for Duke University, where she spent fours years working toward her degree in English, which she earned with honors.

Upon graduation, she returned to Los Angeles and was cast opposite Kevin Costner in "Wyatt Earp" and in a starring role in the mini-series "Scarlett." She portrayed Julie Nixon Eisenhower in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" and also recently starred in "Beautiful Girls" and "The Last Supper." Gish's other feature-film credits include "Coup De Ville," "Hiding Out" and "Shag."

Gish recently starred in the miniseries "True Women," the HBO feature "Don't Look Back" and the movies-of-the-week "What Loves Sees" and "Someone You Know."

RICHARD ROUNDTREE (Uncle Joe) earned feature-film immortality in the title role of "Shaft," a role which he reprised in the sequels "Shaft in Africa" and "Shaft's Big Score." He also starred in the television series adapted from the films.

Roundtree went on to star in films that include "City Heat," "Diamonds," "Man Friday," "Game for Vultures" and "Inchon." His more recent films include "George of the Jungle," "Seven" and "Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored."

Roundtree's television highlights include "Roots," "Christmas in Connecticut" and "Bonanza" He also starred as a series regular on "Outlaws" and "Buddies," and will be seen this fall in Fox's new series, "413 Hope Street."

JUDD NELSON (Nathaniel Burke) is best known to moviegoers from his starring roles in the films "The Breakfast Club" and "St. Elmo's Fire." Last fall, Nelson made his debut as a television series regular, starring as Brooke Shields' boss in the new NBC hit comedy series "Suddenly Susan."

Nelson's additional film credits include "New Jack City," "From the Hip," "Blue City," "Entangled," "Making the Grade," "Relentless," "Airheads" and "The Dark Backward."

An accomplished stage actor, Nelson performed in the Off-Broadway production of "Carnal Knowledge" among other stagings. He appeared in the regional productions of Lyle Kessler's "Orphans"; "Wrestlers," opposite Sarah Jessica Parker; and the Los Angeles Theater Company production of "The Seagull." Nelson has also had starring roles in the television mini-series "The Billionaire Boys Club," the made-for-television movie "Hiroshima" and the cable series "Tales from the Crypt."

IRMA P. HALL (Grandman Odessa) recently starred with Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones in "A Family Thing." Hall is a former schoolteacher who turned to acting full-time 12 years ago after working in film and television part-time in Texas and Chicago for many years.

Hall parlayed an interview opportunity into her first feature-film role in "Book of Numbers." Her recent credits include roles with Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence in "Nothing to Lose," opposite Renee Russo and Robbie Coltrane in "Buddy" and with Vanessa Williams in "Soul Food." Hall also just completed work on Clint Eastwood's feature-film version of the bestseller "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and is currently working for director Jonathan Demme on his adaptation of Toni Morrison's acclaimed novel, "Beloved."

Her numerous television appearances include the made-for-television movies "Crisis at Central High" and "The Long Hot Summer" and the series "Brewster Place," "Gabriel's Fire" and "Dallas."

RAY J (Martin) is the 16-year-old brother of teen recording artist and television star Brandy. Himself a performer on television and screen, Ray J began his career doing commercials for such companies as McDonald's, Denny's, Walt Disney and Nintendo, and performing small roles on television. For two seasons, he appeared as Sinbad's son on the situation comedy "Sinbad" and was featured in the cable film "The Enemy Within" for HBO. His feature-film credits include the recent acclaimed drama "Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored" and the science-fiction comedy "Mars Attacks" among an all-star ensemble cast for director Tim Burton.

In addition to acting, Ray J is a singer-songwriter whose first album, "Everything You Want," debuted to acclaim in January. He also toured with Brandy on the 1995 Boyz II Men tour, played at the famed Apollo Theater and had a featured role in the Off-Broadway musical "Twist."

CHARLES NAPIER (Colonel David) came to international attention for his role in "Rambo," opposite Sylvester Stallone. Other recent films featuring Napier include "The Cable Guy," "Jury Duty," "Philadelphia," "The Silence of the Lambs" and "The Grifters," among others.

He has appeared as a television series regular on "The Critic" (as the voice of Duke Phillips), "Outlaws," "Black Sheep Squadron" and "B.J. and the Bear"; he also provided the growling voice for "The Incredible Hulk." His mini-series and movies-of-the-week include "War and Remembrance," "The Blue and the Gray" and "The Cartier Affair."

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