According to the “Empire” star, there’s one memory that particularly stands out from his childhood. The incident in question is the time when he was two-years-old and saw his father, 21-year-old Tyrone Howard, kill a man while waiting in a Cleveland, Ohio department store in 1971.
Rolling Stone notes that both families were in line to see Santa Claus when the incident went down. The tragedy resulted after an argument between a father of three children and Tyrone about who was next in line. Tyrone’s wife Anita and his three children, including Terrence, were on hand to see the argument. The encounter ultimately heated up to the point where Tyrone grabbed hold of a nail file and stabbing the man to death.
“I was standing next to my father, watching,” Howard told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “Then stuff happened so quickly — blood was on the coats, on our jackets — and then my dad’s on a table and then my dad is gone to prison.”
Known as the Santa Line Slaying, the incident generated national headlines. Although he spent 11 months in jail, Tyrone was eventually paroled for good behavior following the ordeal.
The elder Howard’s influence was apparent in Terrence as he admitted that his father was the one who taught him to be a man.
“My daddy taught me, ‘Never take the vertebrae out of your back or the bass out of your throat. I ain’t raisin’ sheep. I raised men. Stay a man,’” the 46-year-old actor said.
As for whether his personal demeanor is present in Lucious Lyon’s dark persona, Howard told Rolling Stone that he tries to keep his “Empire” character very far away from who he is away from the camera.