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Actor Clayton Cannon Embracing Diverse Roles and Making a Difference in the Acting Industry

Who is Clayton Cannon? Cannon recently filmed Season 17 of Criminal Minds. Cannon’s acting career spans a diverse range of roles across television and film, showcasing his versatility and depth as an actor. In 2017, he appeared as Hank Martin in the short film “I We’re Good,” showcasing his ability to bring depth to characters in brief narratives. His talent was further highlighted in the popular TV series “Lucifer” (2017), where he took on the role of Zeke Moore in the episode “Sympathy for the Goddess,” adding a complex layer to the show’s exploration of celestial and earthly themes.

Cannon demonstrated his versatility in “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” (2016) as a Police Officer, contributing to the film’s comedic and adventurous spirit. The following year, he portrayed Peterson in “Beverly Hills Christmas” (2015), showcasing his adaptability across different genres. His action-oriented capabilities were on display in the short film “Tactics” (2014), where he played Cop #2.

Clayton Cannon was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina due to his father being stationed in the in the Army there. His Father is of Scottish and Native American (Cherokee) decent, and his mother is Puerto Rican. He has two younger siblings, a sister, and a brother.

His father was a very positive influence in his life and wanted him to try everything. This led to Clayton having a very active childhood where he played multiple sports from soccer to football. One of his fondest memories was when his father took him to see “Rocky II” and from there he immediately fell in love with Boxing. Clay started boxing at the age of 9 and by the age of 14 he won the “Houston, Texas National Golden Gloves Tournament” championship.

With his success in boxing, Clayton’s father also wanted him to take up dancing to help with his coordination and balance. He quickly excelled in that as well and landed himself a two-year dance scholarship with the Houston Ballet and went on to dance with The Discovery Dance Group.

At the age of 19, Clayton joined the US Marine Corps, where he was stationed in an infantry unit out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and joined the boxing team there. The record he held was 88-1. Through his experience with the Marines, he learned that there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do if he put his mind to it.

After serving 4 years in the Marines, Clayton was honorably discharged. Soon after, he attended college at the University of Houston where he studied Theater. At the time, he started taking acting classes with a local teacher (Brandon Wilson), who helped him build his resume by booking local commercials and independent feature films. He immediately fell in love with acting and knew that the next step was to move to Los Angeles to pursue his dream.

Clayton currently resides in Los Angeles where he is a successful working actor involved in many projects within television, feature films, and national commercials. His most recent work is a supporting role in an independent feature film starring Dean Cain titled “Beverly Hills Christmas”.

Can you share more about your childhood and Fayetteville North Carolina and how your diverse family background has influenced you? My childhood in Texas, and how my diverse family background influenced me; I was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina and my dad was stationed there at Fort Bragg. He was in the Army at the time. I grew up in a small town in Texas named Pearland, Texas. Our next-door neighbors had a huge farm from what I remembered. I grew up riding horses, riding dirt bikes, and three wheelers with the kids next-door and my brother and sister. Helping with all the farm animals as well. Doing this has taught me about responsibility and work ethic. My dad Bill was a southern boy. He’s the warmest, kindest Christian man you will ever meet. He loves to tell us stories about our great grandmother who was full-blooded, Cherokee, Indian, and all the lessons he learned from her. My mom was a strong, intense and a beautiful bad ass Puerto Rican that grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She never took any negativity or crap from anybody. I am a good mix between both of my parents’ personality and looks and I’m very proud of it. Growing up, it was all about my family and sticking together for sure.

Your father played a significant role in your early life. Can you describe one of the most important lessons you learned from him? My father played a huge significant role in my life for sure. One of the most important lessons I learned from him being a daddy ‘s boy is that he is my everything. He is the best role model and example of a father figure that anyone could ever have. He is so thoughtful and kind to everyone. Sometimes it’s out of fault. I remember that there were a few instances growing up where the respect and kindness was not reciprocated. I remember asking him once, “why are you kind to people when they aren’t the same in return?” He said, “I do It for me, not for them. This is the way I am.” Growing up my dad wanted us to try everything because he thought we had huge potential to share so much talent within ourselves and also see what we liked to do. We grew up playing soccer, baseball, football, gymnastics, boxing, ballet, learning, jazz and tap dancing. We practically did it all, you name it. The only rule with everything is that we just tried our best, worked hard, and train hard. Most of all we had to never quit. He inspired us to find things out, brought us the most joy and went all in. He said the most powerful thing is a dream, and the desire to accomplish it. Work extremely hard and be persistent. Everything can be attracted into reality, and from that lesson it strives deep within my heart.

Transitioning from sports to the arts, particularly boxing to ballet, is quite unique. What motivated this shift, and how did both disciplines contribute to your development as an actor? Transitioning from sports to the arts, and boxing to ballet has been one of the most perfect life choices I made from the help of my dad. I remember seeing the movie Rocky when I was very young. I knew right then and there I wanted to start boxing. I had played a lot of team sports already, so imagine my surprise when my dad came to me and said, “I want you to start taking dance lessons” (mainly ballet). I thought he was crazy but he ended up being so right. Dancers are incredible athletes. It builds incredible balance, coordination, agility, body, awareness, work ethic, the list goes on. I thrived and fell in love with both boxing and dancing. I won the silver gloves at 14 years old in Houston, Texas. I also became an all-service boxing champion in the United States Marine Corps. I got to teach boxing and trained in Brazilian jiu jitsu and I do it till this day. On the side of things, I was in the Houston ballet on scholarship for a few years. Patrick Swayze ‘s Mom was my teacher and was a wonderful professional dancer. I learned so much from her.

Winning the Houston, Texas, national Golden Gloves tournament at 14 years. Old is an impressive achievement. How did your early success in boxing shape your approach to challenges and goals? My early success in boxing shaped my approach to challenges for sure, and it truly instilled a toughness in me. It taught me to take challenges head on and straightforward. It also taught me tenacity, and to push through adversity, “keep fighting in that Blood taste like copper” is what I always say.

Dancing, especially with a prestigious group like the Houston Ballet, requires discipline and creativity. How do these experiences form your acting performances? To just feel and express what you’re feeling it’s amazing. It’s like a let go feeling. Being in ballet has helped with the expressionism and confidence part when it comes to acting in scenes for me.

Joining the marine corps is a major life decision. What inspired you to serve and how has this experience impacted your life and career? That’s a great question. I can honestly say I was at a crossroads in my life. You could say I was a bit lost for a while. I need it to focus and have the right direction. The military mindset allows you to take up tasks that are quite challenging and embrace new changes in life without questioning everything. Essentially, you learn to not be afraid of Change. Instead, you see a change as an opportunity to improve things or make a fresh start. I knew upon getting out that I wanted to stay in California, mainly the Hollywood area, and take on the scariest stream possible, my acting dream will be my career in Hollywood.

You’ve achieved an exceptional boxing record during your time in the Marines. What did boxing teach you about resilience and perseverance? I had an exceptional boxing record during my childhood, and time in the Marines. What boxing taught me about resilience and perseverance. Was boxing literally changing my life. It helped me build confidence to find my purpose in life. It improved my discipline as well as teamwork, communication, and the ability to focus on everyday Life. I believe everyone should take up self-defense. It’s a necessity in life.

After serving in the marine corps, you pursued the University of Houston. What drew you to the theatre, and how did your military experience influence your studies and acting approach? To me, the military and acting are actually very similar. You have people trying to accomplish a mission greater than themselves. In the Marine Corps people were forced to be intimate with complete strangers in a short amount of time. It’s kind of the same as acting.

Working with Brandon Wilson was a turning point in your acting career. Can you share how this mentorship helped navigate the acting industry? Working with Brandon Smith at Chris Wilsons acting Studio in Houston, Texas was a spark. It was the acting bug taking over my life. The beginning of the end shale I say.

Making the move to Los Angeles is a significant step for many actors. What were your biggest challenges and surprises during this transition? Dreams, and reality coexist in a unique way in this very unique place. You never know how your story will play out and absolutely everything is possible. You are expected to keep learning and achieving your craft. Which means working two or three jobs to pay bills and afford to be in class. Most people are in the business because there’s so much competition. The most important thing to constantly remind yourself is that there is only one YOU. We are beautiful and unique in our own way. To never lose yourself and never forget the why that you are doing this.

You’ve been involved in a wide range of projects, from independent films to national commercials. What has been your most memorable role to date and why? I recently just finished a criminal minds episode where I played a small-town sheriff that knows too much. I’m captured and tortured by the villain of the episode. Having to get into that headspace was quite the challenge, especially being tortured in the scene. You definitely have to live the experience to bring it to life.

Acting in a series like Lucifer and films like Beverly Hills Christmas exposes you to different genres and audiences. How do you prepare for such diverse roles? As an actor, you need to keep yourself open and curious about the different cultures, experiences, and stories that exist in the world. Seek out ways to incorporate them into your characters. Also, find out what one shares with the character and use one’s own traits and experiences to create a reality for the character and story.

Your career has spanned theatre, television, and film. How do you see yourself evolving as an actor in the coming years? The goal is to continue to grow. Not only as an actor, but as a person. To embrace my individual identities and life experiences as they could prove to myself to be the most powerful assets and strengths that I have.

Clayton Cannon has partnered with esteemed talent agencies RPM Talent Agency and Next Level Entertainment Global to represent his career in the industry. Additionally, for his public relations requirements, Clayton has chosen the reputable GTK PR Agency, LLC to handle his PR needs.

Follow Clay on his social media.

Written by Sherry Lee, Hollywood Legends Magazine

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