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Here's The Laurence Fishburne Role Fans Consider The Most Iconic, Besides Morpheus

Most actors go their entire lives without ever landing an iconic role. It's sad, but a cursory glance at the IMDb pages of everyone from your high school drama department will prove that it's true.

Still, every once in a while, a performer manages to nail down several different memorable parts. Ian McKellin was Gandalf and Magneto. Sean Connery got to be James Bond in the 007 franchise and Michael McBride from "Darby O'Gill and the Little People." Judi Dench played some sort of feline/human chimera in "CATS," and probably some other roles, too. It's hard to see past the "CATS" part these days.

And Laurence Fishburne, after a decades-long career, cemented his place on the cultural map in 1999 with an underdog production called "The Matrix." There, he played Morpheus, the slick-as-snot Obi-Wan to Keanu Reeves' Luke Skywalkery Neo. Through the simple act of starting a classic hero's journey by offering a guy some pills, Fishburne became the leather-clad father figure to a generation of action fans.

That said, the "Matrix" trilogy was neither the beginning nor the end of Fishburne's career, and fans have been jabber-jawing about which of his other roles was the next most iconic. The answer, flying in the face of a fair and logical universe, is not Cowboy Curtis from "Pee-Wee's Playhouse."

Weirdly, nobody thinks that Cowboy Curtis is Laurence Fishburne's most iconic work

Asked what Laurence Fishburne role was his most iconic, the Matrix notwithstanding, users on Ranker offered up a real democratic barn burner. In first place, there was Jason "Furious" Styles from 1991's "Boyz n the Hood." Father to Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Tre, he offered up pearls of wisdom and family planning advice that were every bit as necessary as they are difficult to quote here without getting in trouble.

Coming in second with 70 pro votes to Styles's 100 was Fishburne's part in another John Singleton picture, "Higher Learning," where the actor played Professor Maurice Phipps. Third place went to his part in the always provocative "Event Horizon," the Paul W. S. Anderson picture that asked and answered the question "oh, you think you're having a bad day?"

Against all odds, there are two more entries on the list — the Bowery King in the "John Wick" franchise and Tyrone "Mr. Clean" Miller from "Apocalypse Now" — that received more votes than Cowboy Curtis from "Pee-Wee's Playhouse." It's possible that younger generations are simply unaware that Fishburne played Pee-Wee Herman's cowpoke companion for 17 episodes of the children's TV series. Maybe people just don't think that Morpheus in pastel pink rangeware is "iconic" on the same level as a critically-acclaimed Vietnam War epic. They'd be wrong, of course, but maybe that's what they think.

In any case, the real crime is that nobody voted for Fishburne's work in "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang," where he played the voice of a cartoon bear, shilling booze in beer commercials and sucking the heads off fish. Show business will break your heart like that.