Real name: Wesley Snipes
Birthdate: July 31, 1962
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Wesley Trent Snipes (born July 31, 1962) is an American actor, martial artist and film producer. He may be best known for his role as the vampire hunter in the Blade trilogy films.
Snipes has starred in action-adventures, thrillers, comedies, and dramatic feature films opposite such actors as Robert De Niro and Sean Connery. In recent years, Snipes has moved behind the scenes in order to make his own films. To this end, he formed his own independent production company, Amen Ra Films, and its subsidiary Black Dot Media in 1991, to develop projects for film and television.
In 1985, while working the audition circuit in New York in between installing public telephones, Snipes auditioned for a role in the Warner Bros. Pictures comedy Wildcats, starring Goldie Hawn. The distinct impression he made on the casting agent earned him a call back to fill the role in the film.
1998 was especially rewarding for Snipes with the opening of the year's hit Blade, for New Line Cinema, which has grossed over $150 million worldwide. He was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, SUNY/Purchase, for his outstanding achievements in film.
Additionally, television projects distinguished Snipes as a creative force with ABC's Futuresport, in which he starred with Dean Cain and Vanessa L. Williams. Snipes also produced the highest rated cable special of all time, TNT's "The First Tribute to the Martial Arts Masters of the 20th Century," which showcased some of the greatest innovators of the martial arts.
Snipes's last film to have a US theatrical release was 2004's Blade Trinity. Although the film was a box office success, Wesley was forced to devote his time to making several direct-to-video films. He recently completed filming The Shooter (also know as "The Contractor") in Bulgaria and the UK, with Charles Dance, Lena Heady and Eliza Bennett.
The conspiracy charge against Snipes includes allegations that he filed a false amended return including a false tax refund claim of over $4 million for the year 1996 and a false amended return including a false tax refund claim of over $7.3 million for the year 1997. The government alleges in the indictment that Snipes attempted to obtain fraudulent tax refunds using a discredited tax protester theory called the "861 argument" (essentially, an argument that the domestic income of U.S. citizens and residents is not taxable). The indictment said Snipes used accountants who already had a history of filing false returns to obtain refund payments for their clients. Under the alleged deal, the firm American Rights Litigators was to receive, from the clients, an amount equal to 20 percent of the tax refunds obtained for those clients.
On October 17, 2006, an arrest warrant was issued for Wesley Snipes on the tax charges. He was taken into custody on December 8, 2006, after arriving at Orlando International Airport and surrendering to authorities. Later that day he pleaded not guilty and was released on a US$1 million bond.