Blair Underwood

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Blair Underwood
BlairUnderwoodApr09.jpg
Underwood at the premiere for Earth in April 2009
BornBlair Erwin Underwood
(1964-08-25) August 25, 1964 (age 50)
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Occupationactor, director
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Desiree DaCosta (1994–present; three children)
Website
www.blairunderwood.com
 
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Blair Underwood
BlairUnderwoodApr09.jpg
Underwood at the premiere for Earth in April 2009
BornBlair Erwin Underwood
(1964-08-25) August 25, 1964 (age 50)
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Occupationactor, director
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Desiree DaCosta (1994–present; three children)
Website
www.blairunderwood.com

Blair Erwin Underwood[1] (born August 25, 1964) is an American television, film, and stage actor and director. He played headstrong attorney Jonathan Rollins on the NBC legal drama L.A. Law for seven years. He has received two Golden Globe Award nominations, three NAACP Image Awards and one Grammy Award. In recent years, he has appeared on The New Adventures of Old Christine, Dirty Sexy Money and In Treatment and was in NBC's The Event.[2]

Early life[edit]

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] Because of his father's military career, Underwood lived on bases and Army Posts in the United States and Stuttgart, Germany, during his childhood.[6] Blair attended Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Virginia. 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[edit]

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 on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live as Bobby Blue, which eventually led to his performance on the TV series L.A. Law, where he appeared from 1987 to 1994. In 1996 he was featured in the July issue of Playgirl.

Underwood's film career began with roles in Just Cause (1995), Set It Off (1996) and Deep Impact (1998). He also had a supporting role as a geneticist in Gattaca. In 2000, he played the lead role in the short-lived television series City of Angels. 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's LAX.[7] He gained acclaim as the sexy grade school teacher in the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus for two years. In 2007, he guest starred in an episode of the NBC series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.[8] He played the character Alex in the first season of the HBO series In Treatment, for which he was nominated for best supporting actor at the 2009 Golden Globes.[9]

Underwood has received three NAACP Image Awards, for his film work in Rules of Engagement, and his television work in L.A. Law, City of Angels, Murder in Mississippi and Mama Flora's Family. Underwood was voted one of People 's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2000, and one of TV Guide 's "Most Influential Faces of the 90s".[10] In 2007, Underwood co-authored the novel Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel with husband-and-wife team Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due.

In 2010–2011, Underwood portrayed United States President Elias Martinez in the NBC drama series The Event, which premiered in Fall 2010.[11][12] 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.[13] In 2013, Underwood played the role of Robert Ironside in the remake of the successful 1960's television series, Ironside, made famous by the late Raymond Burr.[14] The show was NBC’s lowest-rated fall drama debut ever in the key demographic and was cancelled after three episodes.[15][16]

Personal life[edit]

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.[17]

Underwood also appeared in a 2004 public service announcement for The Fulfillment Fund.[18] 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.[19]

Underwood's DNA test showed that he is a descendant of the Babungo people of Cameroon.[20] Additional DNA testing and genealogical research revealed that his African ancestry comes from the Bamum, Brong and lgbo ethnic groups of Western Africa.[21] The DNA test also connected Blair to a distant cousin in Babungo, Cameroon.[21]

On September 17, 1994, he married Desiree DaCosta, with whom he has three children, Paris, Brielle, and Blake.[10]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

YearFilmRoleNotes
1985Krush GrooveRussell Walker
1988Mickey's 60th BirthdayJonathan RollinsTelevision film
1989The Cover Girl and the CopHorace BouchetTelevision film
1990Murder in MississippiJames ChaneyTelevision film
1990Heat WaveRobert RichardsonTelevision film
1992The Second ComingJesus
1993PosseCarver
1993Father & Son: Dangerous RelationsJared WilliamsTelevision film
1995Just CauseBobby Earl
1996Soul of the GameJackie RobinsonTelevision film
1996MistrialLieutenant C. HodgesTelevision film
1996Set It OffKeith WestonNominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
1997GattacaGeneticist
1998AsunderChance Williams
1998Deep ImpactMark Simon
1998Mama Flora's FamilyWillieTelevision film
1999Wishing Tree, TheThe Wishing TreeMagic Man
2000Rules of EngagementCapt. LeeNAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
2002Truth Be ToldDet. Harris
2002GChip Hightower
2002Full FrontalNicholas/Calvin
2003Malibu's Most WantedTom Gibbons
2004Fronterz(unknown role)
2004Do Geese See God?Man
2005Straight Out of Compton 2HenAlso producer
2005Golden Blaze, TheThe Golden BlazeGregory Fletcher/The Golden BlazeAnimated
2006Something NewMark Harper
2006Madea's Family ReunionCarlos
2006Covert One: The Hades FactorPalmer AddisonTelevision film
2007Operation HomecomingVoice role
2007The HitHen
2009The Bridge to NowhereDirector
2011Art of Getting By, TheThe Art of Getting ByPrincipal Bill Martinson
2011I Will FollowUnknown
2012Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th DayDavid Ames
2012The True Friendship or Not?..Principal Bramble
2014The Trip to BountifulLudie WattsTelevision film
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/Miniseries

Television[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1985Knight RiderPottsEpisode: "Knight of the Juggernaut: Part 1"
1985Cosby Show, TheThe Cosby ShowRobert (Denise's Friend)Episode: "Jitterbug Break"
1985Cosby Show, TheThe Cosby ShowMarkEpisode: "Theo and the Other Woman"
1985–1986One Life to LiveBobby BlueUnknown episodes
1986–1987DowntownTerry Corsaro14 episodes
1987Scarecrow and Mrs. KingStillmanEpisode: "All That Glitters"
198721 Jump StreetReginald BrooksEpisode: "Gotta Finish the Riff"
1987–1994L.A. LawJonathan Rollins149 episodes
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
1991Different World, AA Different WorldZelmer CollierEpisode: "War and Peace"
1996–1997High IncidentOfficer Michael Rhoades22 episodes
2000City of AngelsDr. Ben Turner24 episodes
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
2003–2004Sex and the CityDr. Robert Leeds5 episodes
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2004–05)
2004–2005FatherhoodDr. Arthur Bindlebeep24 episodes
2004–2005LAXRoger De Souza11 episodes
2006–2010New Adventures of Old Christine, TheThe New Adventures of Old ChristineMr. Harris9 episodes
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (2008–09)
2007Law & Order: Special Victims UnitMiles SennettEpisode: "Burned"
2007–2009Dirty Sexy MoneySimon Elder20 episodes
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2008–09)
2008In TreatmentAlex9 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
2010–2011Event, TheThe EventPresident Elias Martinez22 episodes
2012Superman of TokyoSuperman of Tokyo2 episodes
2013Thunder and LightningBlack Lightning2 episodes
2013IronsideRobert Ironside9 episodes

Video games[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Awards/nominations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The second coming. Artist: Jerry LaCroix, sound recording by Phonogram, Inc, The grains of paradise. Faqs.org. Retrieved on August 25, 2013.
  2. ^ "Blair Underwood for President! NBC The Event Series Trailer and Jet Magazine Cover!". UrbLife.com. August 30, 2010. 
  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. ^ "Yahoo Movies". Blair Underwood Biography. Retrieved January 7, 2007. 
  8. ^ "MovieWeb". NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit January Guest Star Appearances. Retrieved January 7, 2007. 
  9. ^ http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/2008/12/11/TVs_Treatment_up_for_5_Golden_Globes/UPI-34601229009900
  10. ^ a b "imdb.com". Biography for Blair Underwood. Retrieved January 7, 2007. 
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ Hibberd, James (May 16, 2010). "NBC's fall schedule, upfront revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2010. 
  13. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "A Streetcar Named Desire, With Blair Underwood and Nicole Ari Parker, Extends Broadway Run". Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  14. ^ Harnick, Chris (May 13, 2013). "'Ironside': Blair Underwood Says Don't Call It A Remake". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  15. ^ http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/10/03/ironside-nbc-ratings/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Levin, Gary (October 18, 2013). "NBC yanks 'Ironside,' sets 'Community' return". USA Today. 
  17. ^ "AIDS Healthcare Foundation". aidshealth.org. 
  18. ^ "blairunderwood.com". Difference. Retrieved January 7, 2007. 
  19. ^ Kantor, Jodi (January 28, 2007). "In Law School, Obama Found Political Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2008. 
  20. ^ Underwood, Blair. "Testimonials:A welcome surprise that my people are from Nigeria & Ibo people". Africanancestry.com. Retrieved November 23, 2008. 
  21. ^ a b Preview Blair Underwood. nbc.com
  22. ^ ''Casanegra''. Bookvideos.tv. August 2007.

External links[edit]