Q: I saw Mike Tyson guest star in an episode of "Law & Order: SVU" and he did a great job. Has he had any other acting roles?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

More than you'd think, and it may have all started with "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

Mike Tyson, one of the most famous (and infamous) professional boxers of all time, has of course spent a lot of time on screen as himself. One such appearance, in the 2009 surprise-hit comedy "The Hangover," marked a sort of transition: he played a sort of heightened version of himself, and he had to deliver lines like an actor. His performance, such as it was, was well reviewed, and it seems to have led to him getting roles as other people for a change.

The "SVU" episode you refer to, a Season 14 episode that aired in 2013, seems to have been the first time he played a character — a death-row inmate who helps the team catch a serial sexual abuser.

More characters seemed to flow from that, and now Tyson has built up a nice little resume of acting gigs.

These include a role in "Ip Man 3" (2015), part of the long-running, high-grossing martial arts franchise; and, less predictably, in the comedy "A Madea Family Funeral" (2019).

He's continuing the sideline with a high-profile new drama, "Black Flies," due out later this year. He'll be appearing opposite modern screen great Sean Penn ("Mystic River," 2003), further cementing his own credibility as an actor.

We can't talk about Tyson's screen career without mentioning the weirdness that is "Mike Tyson Mysteries," though. This have-to-see-it-to-believe-it animated comedy was co-created by and voice stars Tyson as a version of himself that went around solving mysteries with the help of a talking pigeon and some sidekicks. Despite how unreal all that sounds, it aired for four seasons on the Adult Swim network from 2014 to 2020 and is a cult fan favorite (it holds a 97% audience approval rating on popular ratings site Rotten Tomatoes).


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