*Every Christmas, actor Terrence Howard probably conjures up visions of a deadly incident that happened in 1971, just a few days before Christmas that involved his father.
As Terrence, who was almost three years old at the time, was waiting in line with his two siblings, his pregnant mother Anita Howard and father, Tyrone Howard, to see Santa Clause at a popular department store in Cleveland, Ohio, a man and others waiting accused Tyrone Howard and his family of cutting the line.
Words were exchanged, followed by eyewitnesses telling law officers that responded to the deadly crime scene that they saw the man, who was identified as Jack Fitzpatrick, pin Tyrone Howard to the wall and kneed him in the groin.
Tyrone pulled out a nail file and stabbed the man to death in front of traumatized kids and adults.
“I was standing next to my father, watching,” Terrence Howard recalled. “Then stuff happened so quickly. Blood was on the coats – and then my dad’s on a table, and then my dad is gone to prison.”
The deadly encounter made national news, as media outlets dubbed the violent encounter as “The Santa Line Slaying.” Tyrone was ultimately charged with second-degree murder. After pleading self-defense, he was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 11 months in prison.
After his release, Terrence’s mother divorced her husband. The future actor said that his father remained in his life, teaching him to be a man with the credo, “Never take the vertebrae out of your back or the bass out of your throat,” the elder Howard told his son repeatedly. “I ain’t raisin’ sheep. I raised men. Stay a man!”
Going about his life, things for Terrence Howard seem to happen that have involved altercations and reports of domestic incidents over the last two decades. In August of 2000, he was arrested for an altercation on a flight after the plane landed. In 2005, Terrence got into trouble under similar circumstances that put his father in prison many decades ago.
While Terrence was standing in the line of a restaurant, a fight with a man and the man’s wife happened, after Terrence was accused of cutting the line. It turned out – after the altercation – Terrence wasn’t even in line; he went to check the wait time to be seated at the restaurant. When emotions began to run high between Terrence and the man and wife, Terrence allegedly floored the man and allegedly hit the woman.
“She was trying to mace me,” the future star of ‘Empire’ said at the time. “And you can’t see anything so all you can do is try to bat somebody away, and I think that something caught her. But I wasn’t trying to hit her.”
While Terrence has had numerous roles on television, in film, and on-stage, perhaps his portrayal of Lucious Lyon in Fox’s “Empire” is the closes resemblance of “art imitating life.” On “Empire,” which premiered in 2015, Lucious (Terrence Howard) is the diabolical, street-savvy, hip hop record mogul. It seems wherever Lucious goes, trouble in the form of violence – sometimes deadly – often follows.