David Harewood

Harewood in 2015
Born (1965-12-08) 8 December 1965 (age 58)
Occupation(s)Actor, presenter
Years active1990–present
Kirsty Handy
(m. 2014)

David Harewood OBE (born 8 December 1965) is a British actor. He is best known for his roles as CIA Counterterrorism Director David Estes in Homeland (2011–2012), and as J'onn J'onzz / Martian Manhunter and Hank Henshaw / Cyborg Superman in Supergirl (2015–2021).[1]

Early life

Harewood was born on 8 December 1965 in the Small Heath area of Birmingham, the son of a couple from Barbados who had moved to England in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His father was a lorry driver, while his mother was a caterer. He has a sister, Sandra, and two brothers, Rodger and Paul. He attended St Benedict's Junior School and Washwood Heath Academy.[2][3] He was a member of the National Youth Theatre. In his youth, he worked at a wine bar in Birmingham city centre.[4][5] At the age of 18, he gained a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[4][6]


Harewood began acting in 1990 and has appeared in The Hawk, Great Moments in Aviation, Harnessing Peacocks, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Blood Diamond, The Merchant of Venice and Strings. He is known for his television appearances on Ballykissangel, The Vice and Fat Friends. He played Don Coleman in Hustle (Series 7 The Fall of Railton FC (2011)).[7] In 1997, he was the first black actor to play Othello at the National Theatre in London.[8][6]

In 2008, he played Major Simon Brooks in The Palace; he also appeared (that December) on Celebrity Mastermind, with specialist subject Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. He appeared in the BBC film adaptation of the Philip Pullman novels The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, both of which are titles from the Sally Lockhart Mysteries.[7]

In 2009, Harewood appeared in the BBC single drama Mrs Mandela, playing Nelson Mandela.[9] He played Brother Tuck in the third series of Robin Hood. He appeared in the Doctor Who story "The End of Time". He played Martin Luther King Jr. in the premiere of The Mountaintop, written by American playwright Katori Hall, directed by James Dacre, which opened at Theatre503 in London on 9 June 2009.[10][11][12]

Harewood next appeared in two episodes of Chris Ryan's Strike Back as Colonel Tshuma. From June to September 2010, he played Theseus in the premiere of Moira Buffini's play Welcome to Thebes at the National Theatre in London.[13] He played Martin Viner in an episode of New Tricks.[14] He narrated Welcome to Lagos, a BBC documentary about Lagos, Nigeria. He also starred in British independent film The Hot Potato,[15] the film also starred Ray Winstone, Colm Meaney and Jack Huston.[citation needed] He played Frankenstein's monster in the TV live event Frankenstein's Wedding.[7]

From 2011, Harewood starred as David Estes, the director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, in the Showtime series Homeland. After appearing in 24 episodes, his character was killed off in a bomb explosion at the end of season 2.[1] Also in 2011, he voiced Captain Quinton Cole in the video game Battlefield 3.

In June 2014, he appeared in Tulip Fever.[16] In October 2015, he appeared as a core cast member on the CBS television series Supergirl as Hank Henshaw. Since his character was revealed (in the episode Human for a Day) to be J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter posing as Henshaw, he portrays J'onn J'onzz with Henshaw's likeness as his human form and has a dual recurring role as the real Hank Henshaw / Cyborg Superman.

In 2017, Harewood was in London to attend the BT British Urban Film Festival at BT Tower. The following year, for his performance in "Free in Deed", Harewood won Best Actor at the 2018 British Urban Film Festival awards. Harewood was included in the 2019 edition of the Powerlist, ranking the 100 most influential Black Britons.[17] Also in 2019, he played the position of goalkeeper for England in Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019. Psychosis and Me, a documentary hosted and produced by Harewood received a BAFTA Television Award nominated for Single Documentary.[18]

In October 2021, it was revealed that Harewood will make his feature directorial debut with For Whom The Bell Tolls, a boxing film about the rivalry between Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn.[19]

In November 2021, The Guardian published an article focusing on Harewood and actor Ricardo P Lloyd comparing both of their lives and careers and the struggles black British actors face in the UK. This was part of Black British culture matters, curated by Lenny Henry & Marcus Ryder for The Guardian Saturday Culture Issue No7.[6][20]

Harewood was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to drama[21][22][23] and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to drama and charity.[24] Harewood delivered the 2023 Richard Dimbleby Lecture.[25]

Other interests and activities

Slavery reparations

See also: Reparations for slavery

Harewood is an advocate of the British government apologising for Britain's participation in the slave trade.[26] His great-great-great-great grandparents had been slaves on a plantation in Barbados owned by Henry Lascelles, 2nd Earl of Harewood.[27] Slaves were given surnames derived from those of their owners, hence Harewood's ancestors had to take their name from the Lascelles' title. Harewood has engaged with David Lascelles, the 8th and current Earl of Harewood and a descendant of the 2nd Earl, who also believes the government should apologise for the slave trade.[26] As part of a BBC Look North programme in 2007, David Harewood visited Lascelles' ancestral home, Harewood House, which was built with the profits of slavery, and interviewed Lascelles on the subject.[28] He did so again for a Channel 5 documentary in 2021.[29]

In September 2023, a portrait of Harewood, commissioned by Lascelles, was put on display at Harewood House as an acknowledgement of their families' connected history.[26] It will become part of the stately home's permanent collection.[29] The portrait's unveiling was accompanied by a temporary exhibition at the house focussing on Harewood's life and career.[30] Harewood described the hanging of the portrait as "well overdue for me and my ancestors"[31] and commented that he hoped visitors to the house would

see a picture of a black person that they may recognise from the television, they will enquire as to why his picture is there, and then they'll understand… all of the unpaid work that my ancestors did, and the brutality of what they suffered… helped build this house.[26]


In May 2012, Harewood presented a Party Election Broadcast for the British Labour Party.[32] In the 2019 European Parliament election, Harewood pledged his support for Change UK.[33]

Health and charitable interests

In 2007, Harewood donated his bone marrow and as a result saved the life of a patient.[34] In October 2013, Harewood voiced an interactive video campaign for the British Lung Foundation aiming to ban smoking in cars with children on board in the United Kingdom.[35]

Harewood is a mental health ambassador and has been open about his own struggles, confessing that he used to self-medicate with alcohol to deal with his bipolar-like symptoms, discarding the medication given to him by doctors. He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act,[36] spent time on the Whittington Hospital psychiatric ward, and was prescribed the antipsychotic drug chlorpromazine.[37] He subsequently expanded on his experiences, hosting a 2019 BBC documentary titled David Harewood: My Psychosis and Me.[38] [39]

Harewood is an avid supporter of Birmingham City Football Club.[1][40] Harewood appeared in Soccer Aid 2018 as England's celebrity goalkeeper. He saved two penalties during the penalty shootout, helping England to win the charity match. The event raised more than £5 million for UNICEF, a charity that Harewood supports.

Personal life

Harewood married his long-term girlfriend Kirsty Handy in February 2013 in Saint James, Barbados. They have two daughters and the family resides in Streatham, London.[41]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Hawk Sergeant Streete
1995 Mad Dogs and Englishmen Jessop
1999 I Wonder Who's Kissing You Now Moses
1999 Between Dreams Orderly Short film
2004 Strings Erito (voice) English dub
The Merchant of Venice Prince of Morocco
2005 Separate Lies Inspector Marshall
2006 Blood Diamond Captain 'Poison'
2010 Second Chance Rob Jenkins Short film
2011 The Hot Potato Harrison
Victim Mr Ansah
2012 The Man Inside Eugene Murdoch
The Last Bite Rook Short film
2013 Third Person Jake
2015 Free in Deed Abe Wilkins
Spooks: The Greater Good Warrender
2016 Grimsby Black Gareth
2017 Tulip Fever Prater
2018 Parallel Mr Parkes
2022 Wendell & Wild Lane Klaxon (voice) [42]


Year(s) Title Role Notes
1990 Casualty Paul Grant Episode 5.9: "A Will to Die"
1990–1997 The Bill Williams / Malcolm Jackson / Ed Parrish / Robbie Coker Four episodes
1991 For the Greater Good David West TV film
Minder Vinny's Minder Episode 8.10: "Too Many Crooks"
Murder Most Horrid Jonathan Episode 1.5: "Murder at Tea Time"
Pirate Prince Jean-Baptiste TV film
1991–1993 Spatz Derek Puley Three episodes
1993 Anna Lee: Headcase Stevie Johnson TV film
Press Gang Doctor Episode 5.2: "Friendly Fire"
Medics Nick Episode 3.6
Harnessing Peacocks Terry TV film
1994 Great Moments in Aviation Steward TV film
Bermuda Grace Trevor Watkins TV film
Capital Lives Unknown Episode 1.5: "Fall"
1995 Hearts and Minds Trevor
Game On Paul Johnson Episode 1.5: "Big Wednesday"
Agony Again Daniel Seven episodes
1997 Macbeth on the Estate Macduff TV film
Kavanagh QC David Adams Episode 3.1: "Mute of Malice"
Comedy Premieres: Cold Feet Police Sergeant
1998 Ballykissangel Henry Episode 4.9: "As Stars Look Down"
1999–2001 Always and Everyone Mike Gregson Main cast
1999–2003 The Vice Sergeant / D.I. Joe Robinson Main cast
2001 An Unsuitable Job for a Woman D.I. Peterson Episode 1.4: "Playing God"
The Fear Storyteller
2001–2002 Babyfather Augustus 'Gus' Pottinger Main cast
2004 Silent Witness Angus Stuart Episodes 8.3 and 8.4: "Death by Water"
2004–2005 Fat Friends Max Robertson 11 episodes
2006 New Street Law D.I. Branston Two episodes
The Ruby in the Smoke Matthew Bedwell / Reverend Nicholas Bedwell TV film
2007 New Tricks Martin Viner Episode 4.3: "Ducking and Diving"
The Shadow in the North Nicholas Bedwell TV film
2008 The Palace Major Simon Brooks Main cast; eight episodes
The Last Enemy Patrick Nye TV mini-series; five episodes
Criminal Justice Freddie Graham TV mini-series; three episodes
2009 Gunrush Robbie TV film
Robin Hood Tuck 12 episodes
The Fixer Richard Millar Episode 2.4
2009–2010 Doctor Who Joshua Naismith "The End of Time"
2010 Mrs Mandela Nelson Mandela TV film
Strike Back Colonel Tshuma Episodes 1.3 and 1.4
2011 Hustle Don Coleman Episode 7.5: "The Fall of Railton FC"
Frankenstein's Wedding The Creature Live-televised stage performance
The Body Farm Wilkes Episode 1.3
2011–2012 Homeland David Estes 24 episodes
2012 Treasure Island Billy Bones TV mini-series
Horizon – Global Weirding Narrator TV documentary series
2013 The Wrong Mans Surgeon TV series
By Any Means Napier TV series
2014 Selfie Sam Saperstein 8 episodes
2015–2021 Supergirl J'onn J'onzz / Martian Manhunter / Hank Henshaw / Cyborg Superman Main role; directed 4 episodes
Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television (2019)
2016 Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands Scorann TV series
The Night Manager Joel Steadman TV series
Will Britain ever have a Black Prime Minister? Presenter TV documentary
2017 Madiba Walter Sisulu Miniseries
2017–2019 The Flash J'onn J'onzz / Martian Manhunter Episodes: "Duet", “Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3
2017 Have I Got News For You Himself Guest host
2018 David Harewood: My Psychosis and Me Presenter TV documentary
2019 The Man in the High Castle Equiano Hampton Episodes 4.2 and 4.5
2020 Earth's Tropical Islands Himself / narrator TV documentary
Arrow J'onn J'onzz / Martian Manhunter Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 4"
Legends of Tomorrow Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 5"
2021 Terry Pratchett's The Abominable Snow Baby Narrator Animated short story[43]
2022 Ten Percent Himself Episode 8
2022 Hitler: The Lost Tapes Narrator 4 Episodes
2023 Get On Up: The Triumph of Black America Presenter / narrator Two-part documentary[44]
David Harewood on Blackface Presenter / narrator Documentary[45]
Dickens in Italy with David Harewood Presenter / narrator Two-part documentary[46]

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2011 Battlefield 3 Captain Quinton Cole
2013 Killzone: Shadow Fall Sinclair / Vektan Security Agency Director
2016 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Staff Sergeant Usef Omar
2023 Alan Wake II Warlin Door


David Harewood voiced the character of the American character Thurman Berkley in series one of the BBC radio series Chambers on the 4th May 1996.

Harewood played Patroclus in the 1998 BBC radio trilogy Troy. He also played Henry Tilney in the Northanger Abbey radio adaptation (2005). On 4 May 2012, he hosted a special BBC Radio 2 Friday Night is Music Night celebrating the life of Ray Charles,[47] broadcast live from Cheltenham Jazz Festival. The show featured the Guy Barker orchestra, with leader Cynthia Fleming and guest artists Madeline Bell, Gregory Porter, and James Tormé.[citation needed]

Harewood played the Marquis de Carabas in the BBC Radio 4 Radio Play of Neverwhere (2013).[48]

In 2022, Harewood voiced Destruction of the Endless in Act III of Audible's full-cast audiobook adaptation of Neil Gaiman's comic, The Sandman.

Awards and nominations



  1. ^ a b c "Birmingham actor David Harewood hits out at being killed off in Homeland". Birmingham Mail. 6 January 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  2. ^ Hurst, Ben (1 September 2010). "Hollywood star David Harewood goes back to Washwood Heath School". birminghammail. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Pupils get Shakespeare experience". BBC News. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b "David Harewood: Will Britain ever have a black prime minister?". BBC News. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  5. ^ Laws, Roz (13 November 2016). "Who is actor David Harewood?". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "David Harewood: 'We're still dealing with perceptions of what Black can be' | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  7. ^ a b c David Harewood at IMDb
  8. ^ "Interview: 'Othello' comes into his own at National". The Independent. 16 September 1997. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  9. ^ Dowell, Ben (11 March 2009). "BBC commissions Winnie Mandela drama". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
  10. ^ "The Mountaintop". Theatre503. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  11. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (22 June 2009). "The Mountaintop at Theatre503". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  12. ^ "David Harewood: 'It's taken me 30 years to make a living – it's been tough but the making of me'". The Stage. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  13. ^ Royal National Theatre production of Welcome to Thebes, OfficialLondonTheatre.com. Retrieved 30 Oct 2017.
  14. ^ New Tricks profile, Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Hotpotatomovie.com". Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Anna Kendrick To Voice Lead In 'Trolls'; David Harewood Joins 'Tulip Fever' Cast". deadline.com. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  17. ^ Hicks, Amber (23 October 2018). "List of 100 most influential black people includes Meghan Markle for first time". mirror. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  18. ^ "BAFTA TV 2020: Winners of the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Television Craft Awards". BAFTA. 3 June 2020.
  19. ^ "David Harewood To Make Directing Debut With Boxing Rivalry Drama 'For Whom The Bell Tolls'".
  20. ^ "The Guardian - Saturday Magazine Issue No.7". The Guardian - Saturday Magazine. 6 November 2021.
  21. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 16.
  22. ^ "New Year Honours 2012" (PDF). BBC News.
  23. ^ David Harewood appointed MBE, Google hostednews. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  24. ^ "No. 63918". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2022. p. N13.
  25. ^ "The Richard Dimbleby Lecture - David Harewood". Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  26. ^ a b c d Razzall, Katie (5 September 2023). "David Harewood: Actor says the government should apologise for slavery". BBC News. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  27. ^ Kolirin, Lianne (6 March 2023). "David Harewood's portrait will hang in stately home owned by family that enslaved his ancestors". CNN. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  28. ^ "Actor quizzes Viscount on slavery". BBC News. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  29. ^ a b Mohdin, Aamna (5 March 2023). "'Complex emotions': Harewood House commissions portrait of David Harewood". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  30. ^ Mohdin, Aamna (5 September 2023). "David Harewood says portrait stands for 'resilience of my people' after Leeds unveiling". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  31. ^ Frodsham, Isobel (6 March 2023). "David Harewood portrait highlights stately home slavery links". The Times. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  32. ^ David Harewood makes British Labour Party broadcast[permanent dead link], labour.org.uk, 30 April 2012.
  33. ^ "Chuka Umunna on Instagram: "Great catching up with my constituent @davidharewood at the BBC this afternoon, and glad to hear he'll be voting Change UK!…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on 26 December 2021. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  34. ^ Elliott, Jane (16 March 2008). "An act that could save a stranger". BBC News. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  35. ^ David Harewood profile Archived 11 October 2013 at archive.today, British Lung Foundation. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  36. ^ Harewood, David (13 October 2017). "I feel no shame about my mental breakdown: it helped make me who I am | David Harewood". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  37. ^ McGrath, Nick (12 June 2018). "Homeland star David Harewood reveals mental health battle before finding fame". mirror. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  38. ^ "BBC - David Harewood: Psychosis And Me - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  39. ^ "BBC iPlayer - David Harewood: Psychosis and Me". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  40. ^ Hurt, Ben (16 December 2009). "Hollywood star David Harewood goes back to Washwood Heath School". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  41. ^ Carole Cadwallader (9 December 2012). "David Harewood". The Observer. London. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  42. ^ King, Jack (14 March 2022). "'Wendell & Wild' Teaser Announces Ving Rhames, David Harewood, and More Joining Voice Cast". Collider. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  43. ^ "Terry Pratchett's The Abominable Snow Baby". channel4.com. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  44. ^ "Get On Up: The Triumph of Black America". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  45. ^ "David Harewood on Blackface". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  46. ^ "What to watch this December". sky.com. Retrieved 16 December 2023.
  47. ^ "BBC Radio 2 Friday Night is Music Night".
  48. ^ Neverwhere, BBC. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  49. ^ a b c "David Harewood". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  50. ^ Youngblood, Tony (22 April 2016). "Magallanes, Transpecos and Josephine Top This Year's Nashville Film Fest Awards". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  51. ^ Girl, Not A. Gossip (29 July 2019). "Saturn Awards Nominations Announced honoring genres in the science fiction, fantasy, horror, action TV and Film #SaturnAwards #NomineeList". RCR News Media. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  52. ^ Bros, Riker (4 November 2020). "David Harewood to Receive Variety Outstanding Achievement Award With Edinburgh TV Festival". Variety. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  53. ^ Nick (18 November 2020). "David Harewood Receives Outstanding Achievement Award – Edinburgh TV Festival – Diversify TV". Archived from the original on 26 January 2022. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  54. ^ "Maybe I Don't Belong Here" at Pan Macmillan.