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Leslie Odom Jr.

Leslie Odom Jr.Biography, American dancer, film actor and actor

American dancer, film actor and actor
Leslie Odom Jr.
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American dancer, film actor and actor
Is Dancer Actor Film actor Singer Stage actor Television actor Voice actor
From United States of America
Type Dancing Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender male
Birth 6 August 1981, Queens, New York City, New York, USA
Age: 39 years
Star sign LeoLeo
Carnegie Mellon School of Drama
Carnegie Mellon University
Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical 2016
The details


Leslie Odom Jr. (/ˈdəm/, born August 6, 1981) is an American actor and singer. He has performed on Broadway and in television and film, and has released two solo jazz albums. He is known for originating the role of Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical Hamilton, a performance for which he won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album as a principal vocalist. His television roles included Sam Strickland in the musical series Smash (2012–2013). He is also the author of the 2018 book Failing Up.

Early life

Odom was born in Queens, New York. His family later moved to the East Oak Lane section of Philadelphia, where he grew up. He attended Julia R. Masterman School for middle school and Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts for high school. He and his family attended Canaan Baptist Church in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, where he sang solos in the church choir.

He earned a degree with honors at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2003.


Acting career


Odom sang as a teenager, and studied musical theatre in college. At the age of 17 he made his Broadway debut as Paul in Rent. In 2000, he appeared in the ensemble of the one-night Broadway concert version of Dreamgirls.

He spent much of his time doing theatre in LA, including in 2010 with Leap of Faith, which moved to Broadway in 2012, with him starring as Isaiah Sturdevant. When the show closed shortly afterward, he relocated to New York City.

After starring Off-Broadway in Venice, and in Witness Uganda (later retitled Invisible Thread) at A.R.T. and in workshops, Odom worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda in the Encores! Off-Center production of Tick, Tick... Boom! playing Michael. Odom also played Nat King Cole in the 2015 one-night Actors Fund of America benefit concert of Bombshell.

Odom was nominated for a 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for the role of Aaron Burr in the off-Broadway production of Hamilton at The Public Theater. He continued in the same role at the Richard Rodgers Theatre after the show transferred to Broadway later that year. He also won a 2016 Grammy Award for the cast album, and won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Odom's final appearance in the role of Aaron Burr in Hamilton occurred on July 9, 2016.


Odom had a recurring role on CSI: Miami which began in 2003. He appeared as Joseph Kayle in nine episodes before leaving in 2006.

He followed with a recurring role on Vanished, appearing in 10 episodes as Maliko Christo. From 2006 to 2007, he held a recurring role as Freddy on Big Day, appearing on nine episodes prior to its cancellation. He also had a supporting role in the TV movie Poe in 2011.

In the musical television series Smash, Odom had a recurring role as Sam Strickland in 2012, and was promoted to a starring role for the show's final season in 2013.

In late 2013, Odom was offered the leading role of Lucas Newsome on State of Affairs. He accepted the role, but ended up backing out to take the part of Aaron Burr in the workshops of the musical Hamilton.

In 2013 and 2014, he had a recurring role on Person of Interest as Peter Collier, appearing in eight episodes. He also played Reverend Curtis Scott in seven episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit between 2013 and 2015.

Beginning on May 19, 2016, Odom hosted the Broadway.com web series Aaron Burr, Sir: Backstage at Hamilton with Leslie Odom Jr., with a new episode being uploaded every Thursday for eight weeks. Odom was also set to play Jimmy Jam in a 2017 miniseries about New Edition, but ended up leaving the project.

He has made guest appearances on several shows including Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy, Supernatural, and The Good Wife. In 2016, Odom was also featured in a commercial for Nationwide Insurance.

On February 4, 2018, Odom sang "America the Beautiful" during the NBC broadcast of Super Bowl LII.


Odom has appeared in short films, and had a supporting role as Declan Hall in the 2012 war film Red Tails.

He played Dr. Arbuthnot in Kenneth Branagh's 2017 adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. He also starred as abolitionist William Still in the 2019 film Harriet, about abolitionist Harriet Tubman. In 2019, Odom starred in Only, a post-apocalyptic romance.

Recording career

In 2014, Odom self-released his debut album as a jazz singer, Leslie Odom Jr. on CD and SoundCloud, and promoted the album with several concerts at The Public Theater. In February 2016, he released a version of Selena Gomez's "Good For You" featuring his Hamilton castmate Daveed Diggs.

Odom was signed to a four-album deal with S-Curve Records in 2016. He and producer Steve Greenberg narrowed down 200 potential tunes to ten tracks, and Odom recorded an updated and improved version of Leslie Odom Jr. during days off and afternoons before Broadway performances, in order to release the album before Odom left Hamilton. Released in June 2016, the album charted at No. 1 on Billboard Jazz and No. 147 on Billboard 200.

On November 11, 2016, Odom released his second album, Simply Christmas, which featured jazz interpretations of Christmas standards. A deluxe edition of the album was released in October 2017, with four additional songs.

Odom tours to promote his albums, performing concerts backed by a jazz quintet that includes a drummer, percussionist, bassist, guitarist, and a pianist who is also Odom's musical director.

In September 2019, Odom released the song "Under Pressure" from his upcoming album Mr.


In June 2017, it was announced that Odom had a book deal for Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning, which he was writing with the intention to inspire younger readers. The book, which was published by an imprint of Macmillan in March 2018, "outlines the setbacks and rejections that preceded his success." Odom modeled his writing on the style of a commencement speech, exploring what he had learned throughout his life and the importance of pursuing passions.

Personal life

Odom has been married to actress Nicolette Kloe Robinson, since December 1, 2012. Their daughter, Lucille Ruby, was born on April 23, 2017.

The couple met in 2008, when she was a student at UCLA and auditioned for Once on This Island in Los Angeles. When Robinson replaced a cast member who left unexpectedly, assistant director Odom became responsible for bringing her quickly up to speed, and a romantic relationship ensued. Robinson has since appeared in the off-Broadway musical Invisible Thread (2015) and the television series The Affair, and played the lead role in the Broadway musical Waitress from September 4 through December 9, 2018.

Theatre credits

Year Title Role Dates Venue Notes
1998 Rent Paul / Cop / others Nederlander Theatre Broadway
2001 Dreamgirls Performer September 24, 2001 Ford Center for the Performing Arts Actors Fund Benefit Concert
2004 Jersey Boys Ensemble October 5, 2004 – January 16, 2005 La Jolla Playhouse Tryout
2007 Keep Your Pantheon Geffen Playhouse Regional
Being Alive Performer August 25 – September 9, 2007 Westport Country Playhouse Regional
October 25 – December 2, 2007 Philadelphia Theatre Company
2008 Once on This Island Agwe, God of Water September 12–14, 2008 Freud Playhouse Regional; also assistant director
2009 Soul of Rodgers Performer October 2–3, 2009 Reprise Theatre Company Revue
2010 Leap of Faith Isaiah Sturdevant October 3–24, 2010 Ahmanson Theatre Tryout
2012 April 26 – May 13, 2012 St. James Theatre Broadway
2013 Venice Markos Monroe May 28 – June 30, 2013 The Public Theater Off-Broadway
2014 Tick, Tick... Boom! Michael June 24–28, 2014 New York City Center Encores!
2015 Hamilton Aaron Burr January 20 – May 3, 2015 The Public Theater Off-Broadway
August 6, 2015 – July 9, 2016 Richard Rodgers Theatre Broadway
Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical
  • Witness Uganda (later retitled Invisible Thread), 2010


Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US US Sales US Jazz US Holiday
Leslie Odom Jr.
  • Released: August 12, 2014
    June 20, 2016
  • Label: Self-released
    S-Curve Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
147 59 1
Simply Christmas
  • Released: November 11, 2016
    November 11, 2017
  • Label: S-Curve Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
31 12 1 4
  • Released: November 8, 2019
    November 8, 2019
  • Label: S-Curve Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
- - - -

Soundtrack albums

  • Leap of Faith: The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (December 4, 2012)
  • Venice (Original Cast Recording) (September 23, 2014)
  • Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) (September 25, 2015)


Title Year Album
"Good For You" 2016 Non-album single
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" Simply Christmas
"America the Beautiful 2018 Non-album single
"Without You" TBA
"What Are We Waiting For"

"Bear Facts"

Non-album single
"All I Want For Christmas Is You"

Ingrid Michaelson's Songs for the Season
"Under Pressure" 2019 Mr
"Go Crazy" 2020

Other appearances

Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Hallelujah, I Believe" 2015 Jim Brickman Comfort & Joy: The Sweet Sounds of Christmas and A Joyful Christmas
"Joy to the World" The Broadway Cast of Hamilton Broadway's Carols for a Cure, Vol. 17, 2015
"Autumn Leaves" 2016 N/A Tony Bennett Celebrates 90
"My Romance" 2017 Billy Porter Billy Porter Presents: The Soul of Richard Rodgers
"Sondheim: Medley: Children will Listen / You've Got to Be Carefully Taught (From "Into the Woods" & "South Pacific")" 2018 Renée Fleming, BBC Concert Orchestra, & Rob Fisher Broadway

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2002 Princess Grace Award Acting Won
2012 Fred and Adele Astaire Award Best Dancer on Broadway Leap of Faith Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
2015 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Hamilton Nominated
Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical Nominated
2016 Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Won
Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Won
Broadway.com Audience Awards Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical Nominated
Favorite Onstage Pair (w/ Lin-Manuel Miranda) Won
2018 Teen Choice Awards Choice Drama Movie Actor Murder on the Orient Express Nominated

In 2019, Odom was conferred an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts by his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, at its 122nd Commencement where Odom was also the keynote speaker.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 04 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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