Blair Underwood

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Blair Underwood

Underwood at the premiere for Earth in April 2009
BornBlair Erwin Underwood
(1964-08-25) August 25, 1964 (age 48)
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Desiree DaCosta (1994–present; three children)
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Blair Underwood

Underwood at the premiere for Earth in April 2009
BornBlair Erwin Underwood
(1964-08-25) August 25, 1964 (age 48)
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Desiree DaCosta (1994–present; three children)

Blair Erwin Underwood[1] (born August 25, 1964) is an American television, film, and stage actor and director. He played headstrong attorney Jonathan Rollins from the NBC legal drama L.A. Law, a role he portrayed for seven years. He has gained critical acclaim throughout his career, receiving numerous Golden Globe Award nominations, three NAACP Image Awards and 1 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

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.


Underwood at the 41st Emmy Awards, September 1989

Underwood's feature film debut was the 1985 movie Krush Groove. His 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 Underwood was featured in the July issue of Playgirl.

Underwood broke into film 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] His latest role is as the recurring character Alex in the HBO series In Treatment.

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".[9]

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.[10][11]

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.

He is currently playing the lead role of Stanley in the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Personal life

In 1989, Underwood co-founded Artists for a New South Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to democracy and equality in South Africa.

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.[12]

Underwood also appeared in a 2004 public service announcement for The Fulfillment Fund.[13] 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.[14]

Underwood's DNA test showed that he is a descendant of the Babungo people of Cameroon.[15] Additional DNA testing and genealogical research revealed that his African ancestry comes from the Bamum, Brong, Yoruba, and lgbo ethnic groups of Western Africa.[16] The DNA test also connected Blair to a distant cousin in Babungo, Cameroon.[16] The test also revealed that he is of 26% European and 74% Sub-Saharan African ancestry. These and other facts were made known about Blair Underwood's family history when the story of his family's lineage was featured on the third season of NBC's Who do You Think You Are?, on February 24, 2012.

On September 17, 1994, he married Desiree DaCosta, with whom he has three children, Paris, Brielle, and Blake.[9]



1985Krush GrooveRussell Walker
1992Second Coming, TheThe Second ComingJesusAlso director
1995Just CauseBobby Earl
1996MistrialLieutenant C. Hodges
1996Set It OffKeith Weston
1998AsunderChance Williams
1998Deep ImpactMark Simon
1999Wishing Tree, TheThe Wishing TreeMagic Man
2000Rules of EngagementCapt. Lee
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
2007Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime ExperienceVoice role
2007Hit, TheThe 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
2012True Friendship Or Not?.., TheThe True Friendship Or Not?..Principal BrambleSoon Releasing


1985Knight RiderPotts
1985Cosby Show, TheThe Cosby ShowRobert (Denise's Friend)Uncredited
1985Cosby Show, TheThe Cosby ShowMark
1985–86One Life to LiveBobby Blue
1986–87DowntownTerry Corsaro
1987Scarecrow and Mrs. KingStillman
198721 Jump StreetReginald Brooks
1987–94L.A. LawJonathan Rollins
1988Mickey's 60th BirthdayJonathan RollinsTelevision special
1989Cover Girl and the Cop, TheThe Cover Girl and the CopHorace BouchetTelevision film
1990Murder in MississippiJames ChaneyTelevision film
1990Heat WaveRobert RichardsonTelevision film
1991Different World, AA Different WorldZelmer Collier
1993Story of a PeopleHostMiniseries
1993Father & Son: Dangerous RelationsJared WilliamsTelevision film; also associate producer
1996Soul of the GameJackie RobinsonTelevision film
1996–97High IncidentMichael Rhoades
1998Mama Flora's FamilyWillieMiniseries
2000City of AngelsDr. Ben Turner
2003–04Sex and the CityDr. Robert Leeds
2004–05FatherhoodDr. Arthur BindlebeepAnimated
2004–05LAXRoger De Souza
2006Covert One: The Hades FactorPalmer AddisonMiniseries
2006–08New Adventures of Old Christine, TheThe New Adventures of Old ChristineMr. Harris
2007Law & Order: Special Victims UnitMiles Sennett
2007Dirty Sexy MoneySimon Elder
2008In TreatmentAlexHBO series
2010–11Event, TheThe EventPresident Elias MartinezMain cast

Video games

He voiced Hunter in The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon.




  1. ^
  2. ^ "Blair Underwood for President! NBC The Event Series Trailer and Jet Magazine Cover!". August 30, 2010.
  3. ^ Blair Underwood Biography (1964–)
  4. ^ Brennan, Patricia (August 6, 1989). "Blair Underwood; 'Common Sense' Career Moves".'+Career+Moves&pqatl=google.
  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. ^ a b "". Biography for Blair Underwood. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ Hibberd, James (May 16, 2010). "NBC's fall schedule, upfront revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  12. ^ "AIDS Healthcare Foundation".
  13. ^ "". Difference. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  14. ^ Kantor, Jodi (January 28, 2007). "In Law School, Obama Found Political Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2008.
  15. ^ Underwood, Blair. "Testimonials". Retrieved 2008-11-23.
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^ Casanegra

External links