Blair Underwood
Blair Underwood (47948010412).jpg
Underwood in May 2019
Born
Blair Erwin Underwood

(1964-08-25) August 25, 1964 (age 57)
EducationCarnegie Mellon University (BFA)
OccupationActor
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)
Desiree DaCosta
(m. 1994; sep. 2021)
[1]
Children3
Websitewww.blairunderwood.com

Blair Erwin Underwood[2] (born August 25, 1964) is an American actor. He made his debut in the 1985 musical film Krush Groove and from 1987 to 1994 starred as attorney Jonathan Rollins in the NBC legal drama series L.A. Law.

Underwood has appeared in a number of films during his career, including Just Cause (1995), Set It Off (1996), Deep Impact (1998), Rules of Engagement (2000), Something New (2006), Madea's Family Reunion (2006), and Juanita (2019). On television, he played a leading role in the 2000 medical drama City of Angels, and also had regular roles in High Incident (1996-97), LAX (2004–05), Dirty Sexy Money (2007–09), In Treatment (2008), The Event (2010–11), Ironside (2013) and Quantico (2016–18). Underwood has received two Golden Globe Award nominations, five NAACP Image Awards, one Daytime Emmy Award, and one Grammy Award.

Early life

Underwood was born in Tacoma, Washington, the son of Marilyn Ann Scales, an interior decorator, and Frank Eugene Underwood, Sr., a United States Army colonel.[3][4][5] Underwood lived on bases and Army Posts in the United States and Stuttgart, Germany throughout his childhood due to his father's military career.[6] Blair attended Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Virginia.[citation needed] He went on to attend the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is an honorary member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

Career

Underwood at the 41st Emmy Awards, September 1989
Underwood at the 41st Emmy Awards, September 1989

After his film debut, Krush Groove, Underwood's 1985 appearance on The Cosby Show landed him a short stint for three months on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live as Bobby Blue.[7] He later co-starred in the short-lived CBS crime drama series Downtown from 1986 to 1987, and guest-starred on Scarecrow and Mrs. King and 21 Jump Street.

In 1987, Underwood, at the age of 23, was cast as attorney Jonathan Rollins in the NBC legal drama series L.A. Law.[8] He received Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film in 1991. The series ended in 1994. In 1990, he played James Chaney in the NBC television film Murder in Mississippi. In 1993, he co-starred in the western film Posse starring Mario Van Peebles. After L.A. Law, he starred in a number of movies, In 1995 he appeared in the legal thriller Just Cause, and the following year played Jada Pinkett's love interest in the heist film Set It Off. He also had a supporting role as a geneticist in the science fiction film Gattaca (1997) and in the disaster film Deep Impact (1998). In 1996, he was featured in the July issue of erotic magazine Playgirl.[9]

In 1996, Underwood returned to series television with ABC police drama series, High Incident. He co-starred opposite Cicely Tyson in the 1998 miniseries Mama Flora's Family. In 2000, he played the lead role in the short-lived CBS medical drama series City of Angels. Underwood was voted one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2000, and one of TV Guide magazine's "Most Influential Faces of the 90s".[10] In 2003, he guest starred in four episodes[6] on the HBO series Sex and the City playing Cynthia Nixon's love interest. In 2004, he played the role of Roger De Souza opposite Heather Locklear in NBC short-lived drama LAX.[11] In 2006, he appeared in the Tyler Perry's second film, Madea's Family Reunion. He had a recurring role as the sexy grade school teacher in the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus from 2006 to 2008. In 2007, he guest starred in an episode of the NBC series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.[12] In 2007, Underwood portrayed Jesus Christ in Inspired By... The Bible Experience, an 89-hour, celebrity-voiced, fully dramatized audio Bible based on Today's New International Version. Also in 2007, Underwood co-authored the novel Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel with husband-and-wife team Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due.

Underwood at the premiere for Earth in April 2009
Underwood at the premiere for Earth in April 2009

In 2008, Underwood starred in the first season of the HBO drama series In Treatment, for which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film at the 2009 Golden Globes.[13] From 2007 to 2009, he was regular cast member in the ABC prime time soap opera, Dirty Sexy Money.

In 2010–2011, Underwood portrayed United States President Elias Martinez in the NBC drama series The Event.[14][15] In 2010, Underwood portrayed the role of Saint Mark in The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio New Testament Bible, a 22-hour, celebrity-voiced, fully dramatized audio New Testament, based on the RSV-CE translation. In 2012, he played the lead role of Stanley in the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.[16]

In 2013, Underwood played the role of Robert Ironside in the remake of the successful 1960s television series, Ironside, made famous by the late Raymond Burr.[17] The show was cancelled after three episodes.[18][19] The following year, he appeared in The Trip to Bountiful opposite Cicely Tyson. From 2015 to 2016, he had a recurring role in the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. In 2016, Underwood was cast in the ABC thriller series Quantico for the series regular role of CIA Deputy Director, Owen Hall.[20] The series was canceled after three seasons in 2018.

In 2019, Underwood played attorney Bobby Burns in the Netflix miniseries When They See Us.[21] The following year, he co-starred opposite Octavia Spencer in the Netflix miniseries Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.[22]

In January 2020, Underwood appeared on stage as Captain Richard Davenport in the Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway revival of Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama A Soldier's Play.[23]

Personal life

Underwood is a part of several charitable organizations. He won the 1993 Humanitarian Award for his work with the Los Angeles chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 2003, along with Ashley Judd, he served as the spokesperson for YouthAIDS. In addition, he is involved with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Blair Underwood Clinic in Washington, DC.[24]

Underwood also appeared in a 2004 public service announcement for The Fulfillment Fund.[25] He is a Trustee for the Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles, a non-profit theatre group founded by Danny Glover, focusing on plays about the Black experience.

He supported President Barack Obama's candidacy and spoke at campaign rallies for Obama. Underwood got to know Obama while researching his L.A. Law role at Harvard Law School, while Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review.[26]

Underwood's DNA test showed that he is a descendant of the Babungo people of Cameroon.[27] Additional DNA testing and genealogical research revealed that his African ancestry comes from the Bamum, Brong and lgbo ethnic groups of Western Africa.[28] The DNA test also connected Blair to a distant cousin in Babungo, Cameroon.[28]

Filmography

Film

Year Film Role Notes
1985 Krush Groove Russell Walker
1988 Mickey's 60th Birthday Johnathon Rollins TV Movie
1989 The Cover Girl and the Cop Horace Bouchet TV Movie
1990 Murder in Mississippi James Chaney TV Movie
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1990 Heat Wave Robert Richardson TV Movie
1992 The Second Coming Jesus Short film
1993 Father & Son: Dangerous Relations Jared Williams TV Movie
1993 Posse Carver
1995 Just Cause Bobby Earl Ferguson
1996 Set It Off Keith Weston Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
1996 Soul of the Game Jackie Robinson TV Movie
Nominated-NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1996 Mistrial Lt. C. Hodges TV Movie
1997 Gattaca Geneticist
1998 Asunder Chance Williams
1998 Deep Impact Mark Simon
1998 Mama Flora's Family Willie TV Movie
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1999 The Wishing Tree 'Magic Man'
2000 Rules of Engagement Captain Lee, USMC NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
2002 Truth Be Told Detective Harris
2002 G Chip Hightower
2002 Full Frontal Nicholas / Calvin
2003 Malibu's Most Wanted Tom Gibbons
2004 Fronterz Unknown
2004 Do Geese See God? Man
2005 Straight Out of Compton 2 Hen Also producer
2005 The Golden Blaze Gregory Fletcher / The Golden Blaze Animated
2006 Something New Mark Harper
2006 Madea's Family Reunion Carlos
2006 Covert One: The Hades Factor Palmer Addison TV Movie
2007 Operation Homecoming Voice role
2007 The Hit Hen
2009 The Bridge to Nowhere Director
2010 I Will Follow Evan
2011 The Art of Getting By Principal Bill Martinson
2012 Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day David Ames
2012 The True Friendship or Not?.. Principal Bramble
2014 The Trip to Bountiful Ludie Watts TV Movie
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated-Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries
2018 The After Party Sergeant Ellison
2019 Juanita Himself
2020 Bad Hair Amos Bludso
2020 Really Love Jerome

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1985 Knight Rider Potts Episode: "Knight of the Juggernaut: Part 1"
1985 The Cosby Show Robert, Denise's Friend Episode: "Jitterbug Break"
1985 The Cosby Show Mark Episode: "Theo and the Other Woman"
1985–1986 One Life to Live Bobby Blue Regular Cast
1986–1987 Downtown Terry Corsaro Main Cast
1987 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Stillman Episode: "All That Glitters"
1987 21 Jump Street Reginald Brooks Episode: "Gotta Finish the Riff"
1987–94 L.A. Law Jonathan Rollins Main Cast
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1991 A Different World Zelmer Collier Episode: "War and Peace"
1996 Duckman Blair Underwood (voice) Episode: "Pig Amok"
1996–97 High Incident Officer Michael Rhoades Main Cast
2000 City of Angels Dr. Ben Turner Main Cast
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
2003–04 I Love the '90s Himself Commentator
2004 Sex and the City Dr. Robert Leeds Recurring Cast
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2004–05)
2004–05 Fatherhood Dr. Arthur Bindlebeep Main Cast
2004–05 LAX Roger De Souza Main Cast
2006–10 The New Adventures of Old Christine Mr. Harris Recurring Cast
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2008–09)
2007 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Miles Sennett Episode: "Burned"
2007–2009 Dirty Sexy Money Simon Elder Main Cast
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2008–09)
2008 In Treatment Alex Main Cast
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
2010–11 The Event President Elias Martinez Main Cast
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
2012 Superman of Tokyo Superman of Tokyo 2 episodes
2013 Thunder and Lightning Black Lightning 2 episodes
2013 Ironside Robert Ironside Main Cast
2015–2016 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Andrew Garner Recurring Cast
2016–2019 The Lion Guard Makuu (voice) Recurring Cast
2016 The Good Wife Harry Dargis Episode: "Shoot"
2016 Sofia the First Sir Jaxon (voice) Episode: "The Secret Library: The Tale of the Noble Knight"
2016–2018 Quantico Owen Hall Main Cast
2019 When They See Us Bobby Burns Miniseries
2019 Dear White People Professor Moses Brown Recurring Cast
2020 Self Made Charles James Walker Miniseries
2020 Your Honor Roland Carter Episode: "Part One"
2021 Impeachment: American Crime Story Vernon Jordan
TBA Three Women Richard Upcoming series

Video games

Bibliography

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1991 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film L.A. Law Nominated
1992 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Murder in Mississippi Won
1995 Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series L.A. Law Won
1997 Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Soul of the Game Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Set It Off Nominated
1999 Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Mama Flora's Family Won
2001 Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series City of Angels Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Rules of Engagement Won
2004 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Sex and the City Nominated
2005 Nominated
2008 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series The New Adventures of Old Christine Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Dirty Sexy Money Nominated
2009 Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film In Treatment Nominated
Grammy Awards Best Spoken Word Album An Inconvenient Truth Won
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series In Treatment Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series The New Adventures of Old Christine Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Dirty Sexy Money Nominated
2011 Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series The Event Nominated
2014 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries The Trip to Bountiful Nominated
2015 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special Won
2020 Tony Awards Best Actor in a Play A Soldier's Play Nominated

References

  1. ^ Willis, Kim (May 31, 2021). "'A beautiful journey': Blair Underwood, Desiree DaCosta reveal split after 27 years of marriage". USA Today. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  2. ^ The second coming. Artist: Jerry LaCroix, sound recording by Phonogram, Inc, The grains of paradise. Faqs.org. Retrieved on August 25, 2013.
  3. ^ Blair Underwood Biography (1964–). Filmreference.com. Retrieved on August 25, 2013.
  4. ^ Brennan, Patricia (August 6, 1989). "Blair Underwood; 'Common Sense' Career Moves".
  5. ^ Stated on Who Do You Think You Are?, February 24, 2012
  6. ^ a b "NPR". A Conversation with Blair Underwood. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  7. ^ "Blair Underwood thanks OLTL's Erika Slezak for his primetime career". soapcentral.com.
  8. ^ Roots, Kimberly (January 19, 2017). "Blair Underwood Recalls L.A. Law EP's Prediction on His First Day on the Job".
  9. ^ Pelley, Rich (October 15, 2010). "One last thing... Blair Underwood" – via www.theguardian.com.
  10. ^ "imdb.com". Biography for Blair Underwood. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  11. ^ "Yahoo Movies". Blair Underwood Biography. Archived from the original on May 16, 2006. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  12. ^ "MovieWeb". NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit January Guest Star Appearances. Archived from the original on January 9, 2007. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  13. ^ "TV's 'Treatment' up for 5 Golden Globes". Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  14. ^ "NBC Picks Up Three New Series for 2010–11 Season with 'The Event', 'Outsourced' and 'Love Bites'". The Futon Critic. May 7, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  15. ^ Hibberd, James (May 16, 2010). "NBC's fall schedule, upfront revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. The Live Feed. Archived from the original on May 18, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  16. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "A Streetcar Named Desire, With Blair Underwood and Nicole Ari Parker, Extends Broadway Run". Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  17. ^ Harnick, Chris (May 13, 2013). "'Ironside': Blair Underwood Says Don't Call It A Remake". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  18. ^ http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/10/03/ironside-nbc-ratings/. ((cite news)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ Levin, Gary (October 18, 2013). "NBC yanks 'Ironside,' sets 'Community' return". USA Today.
  20. ^ Ausiello, Michael (July 5, 2016). "Quantico: Blair Underwood Joins Season 2 Cast as Series Regular". Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  21. ^ Grant, Andre (May 31, 2019). "Cassius Chats: Blair Underwood believes there is hope for us yet". Cassius Life. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  22. ^ "The Real Story Of Madam C.J. Walker's Marriage Is So Much Juicier Than In 'Self Made'". Bustle.
  23. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (January 22, 2020). "'A Soldier's Play': Theater Review". Variety. Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  24. ^ "AIDS Healthcare Foundation". aidshealth.org. Archived from the original on February 23, 2013.
  25. ^ "blairunderwood.com". Difference. Archived from the original on March 19, 2006. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  26. ^ Kantor, Jodi (January 28, 2007). "In Law School, Obama Found Political Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  27. ^ Underwood, Blair. "Testimonials:A welcome surprise that my people are from Nigeria & Ibo people". Africanancestry.com. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
  28. ^ a b Preview Blair Underwood. nbc.com
  29. ^ Casanegra Archived February 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Bookvideos.tv. August 2007.