Philip Akin
Born (1950-04-18) April 18, 1950 (age 73)
Alma materRyerson Polytechnical Institute (now Toronto Metropolitan University)
Years active1975–present

Philip Akin (born April 18, 1950) is a Canadian actor.[1]

Akin has had roles in major American films such as The Sum of All Fears,[1] S.W.A.T., and Get Rich or Die Tryin'.[1] He has also done much voice work, including voicing the character of Bishop for the X-Men animated series and Tripp Hansen in Monster Force.[2]

Life and career

Akin was born in Kingston, Jamaica, as a middle brother of five sons. His parents moved to Oshawa, Ontario in 1953, and he and his brothers followed suit the next year. He has lived in Ontario ever since. Shortly after attending high school, Akin attended Toronto's Ryerson Theatre School. In 1975, he became the school's first acting graduate, landing a role just a few days later in a Shaw Festival production of Caesar and Cleopatra.[2]

In 1983, Akin began studying Yoshinkan aikido and is presently a 5th degree black belt in that art.[3] He has also trained in Jing Mo kung fu and tai chi.

Akin first came to prominence in the early 1980s when he performed on the zany comedy series Bizarre. Other noteworthy roles include boxer Kid Cornelius in the "Shadow Boxer" episode of Friday the 13th: The Series (1987) and his regular role as the wheelchair-using computer expert Norton Drake in the first season of War of the Worlds, a Canadian/American television series (1988–90). His recurring role as Charlie DeSalvo in Highlander: The Series has also brought him much recognition. In Shake Hands with the Devil, he portrays Kofi Annan, then United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. In 2007, Akin performed at the Stratford Festival of Canada, a prestigious summer-long celebration of theatre held each year in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. He was cast in the title role of William Shakespeare's Othello,[4] and also in the role of Crooks in the Festival's rendition of John Steinbeck's novella Of Mice and Men.[5] Philip Akin can also be seen in a long list of guest appearances on television series for example: F/X: The Series, Mutant X, Flashpoint (2008) and most recently, The Expanse (2015).

Akin is a founding member and was the artistic director (2006-2020) of the Obsidian Theatre Company, a Canadian theatre company comprising seasoned actors of African descent, devoted to the work of Black artists and creators. He won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play/Musical in 2012 for his production of Suzan-Lori Parks' Topdog/Underdog, which starred Kevin Hanchard and Nigel Shawn Williams. In his role he helped foster mentorship programs aimed at Black theatre directors.[6]

In the final year of his tenure as artistic director of Obsidian, Akin was awarded the biennial Herbert Whittaker Award for Distinguished Contribution to Canadian Theatre[7] - and was named one of the Canadian artists of 2019 by The Globe and Mail.[8] Upon his departure from Obsidian, the theatre established The Black Shoulders Award in Aikin's honour, to be awarded to Black artists to pursue their craft.[2]

Akin was the director for the Shaw Festival's 2020 production of Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress.[9][10]





  1. ^ a b c "Philip Akin". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-03-08.
  2. ^ a b c Fricker, Karen; Maga, Carly (2020-09-10). "Over a storied acting and directing career, Philip Akin has made sure Black theatre lives matter — a new award". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  3. ^ "'Roc' star's hat a tribute to a friend". Austin American-Statesman. 1994-03-27. p. 223. Retrieved 2023-02-05.
  4. ^ 2013 Playbill Archived 2013-01-15 at
  5. ^ Of Mice and Men Archived 2006-11-13 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Wheeler, Brad (2018-01-23). "Obsidian Theatre's Philip Akin helping young black directors hone their skills". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2022-02-15.
  7. ^ "PHILIP AKIN presented the Herbert Whittaker Award For Distinguished Contribution to Canadian Theatre". Aisle Say, February 18, 2020.
  8. ^ "The Globe’s runners-up for Canadian artist of 2019". The Globe and Mail, December 22, 2019.
  9. ^ "Philip Akin". Tapestry Opera. Retrieved 2023-02-05.
  10. ^ Weche, Meres J. "Who are you writing this play for?". AfroToronto. Retrieved 2023-02-05.