Hill Harper

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Hill Harper

Harper signing copies of his book Letters to a Young Brother, 2007
BornFrank E. Harper
(1966-05-17) May 17, 1966 (age 46)
Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.
Other namesF. Hill Harper
Years active1993–present
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Hill Harper

Harper signing copies of his book Letters to a Young Brother, 2007
BornFrank E. Harper
(1966-05-17) May 17, 1966 (age 46)
Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.
Other namesF. Hill Harper
Years active1993–present

Frank Harper[1] (born May 17, 1966), known professionally as Hill Harper, is an American film, television and stage actor, and author. An alumnus of Harvard Law School, he is best known for his portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Hawkes in the CBS drama CSI: NY.


Early life

Harper was born in Iowa City, Iowa, the son of Harry Harper, a psychiatrist, and Marilyn Hill, who was one of the first black practicing anesthesiologists in the United States.[1][2][3] He has been acting since the age of 7. Harper graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and also graduated with a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, and a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[4] During his years at Harvard, he was a full-time member of Boston's Black Folks Theater Company, one of the oldest and most acclaimed black theater troupes in the country.[5] While a student at Harvard, Harper befriended President Barack Obama.[6] Harper and Obama met on the basketball court and became good friends during their first year as law students.

Although Harper obtained a J.D. and M.P.A., he chose to use neither and instead moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2009 by Westfield State College. Born Francis Harper, he adopted the name "Hill" as tribute to both his maternal and paternal ancestors.[citation needed]

Acting career

Harper broke into both film and television in 1993, doing recurring work on the Fox series Married... with Children and making his film debut in the short Confessions of a Dog. He had his first substantial role in a feature in Spike Lee's Get on the Bus (1996), which cast him as a UCLA film student riding a bus to the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. He went on to further demonstrate his versatility in such films as Christopher Scott Cherot's Hav Plenty (1997) and Lee's He Got Game (1998), the former of which featured him as an egotistical pop-soul singer.

His profile subsequently rose on both the mainstream and independent film circuits, thanks to roles in films ranging from Beloved (1998) to the independent romantic comedy Loving Jezebel (1999) to The Skulls (2000), an entry into the teen thriller genre. Harper did some of his most acclaimed work in Jordan Walker-Pearlman's The Visit (2000), an independent drama in which he starred as a prisoner dying of AIDS who tries to put his life back together.[7]

His best-known role to date is that of coroner-turned-crime scene investigator Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on the CBS crime drama CSI: NY. He also portrayed Leshem in the 2010 Syfy original movie Stonehenge Apocalypse.[8]

Writing career and political advocacy

Harper is the author of several books: Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny, published in 2006, Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny, published in 2008 and How Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships, published in 2010. His fourth book, The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place, was published in 2011.

In January 2008, he participated in "Yes We Can", a music video supporting Barack Obama, produced by will.i.am. Harper is a member of the Obama for America National Finance Committee.[9]

As of October 2009, Hill has made several contributions to political candidates, exclusively to Democrats.

Harper endorsed the 10,000 Bookbags[10] back to school backpack campaign to help local disadvantaged children with Urban Change Ministries founder Pastor Jay Cameron of the Life Center and R&B singer Ginuwine.[11]

Harper stated that he is a fiscal conservative when he appeared on the political talk show Hannity on September 10, 2009.

Awards and recognition

In the fall of 2008, Harper was initiated as a brother of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity with his line brothers Dr. Naim Akbar of Florida State University and former NFL player LeMarcus Newman.[12]

Harper won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for three consecutive years (2008–2010) for his portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on CSI: NY. Previously he had been nominated for the award for three consecutive years (2005–2007), for the same character. In 2000, he had also been nominated for the award, for his role in the medical drama City of Angels.

Personal life

While writing his fourth book, Hill was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After treatment, he was given a clean bill of health.[13]


1993–1994Married... with ChildrenAaron Mitchell5 episodes
1994Walker, Texas RangerB.J. MaysEpisode 2.01 "Badge of Honor"
1994Pumpkinhead II: Blood WingsPeterDirect to video
1994The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirDanaEpisode 5.11 "Will Steps Out"
1995Live ShotTommy GreerAll 13 episodes
1996Get on the BusXavierFilm
1997Hav PlentyMichael SimmonsFilm
1998The NephewChad Egan-WashingtonFilm
1998He Got GameColeman 'Booger' SykesFilm
1998Mama Flora's FamilyDonTV movie
1998Park DaySteve JohnsonFilm
1999In Too DeepBreezy T.Film
1999Loving JezebelTheodorousFilm
1999Slaves of HollywoodFisher LovelaceFilm
2000City of AngelsDr. Wesley WilliamsAll 24 episodes
Nominated Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2000)
2000The SkullsWill BeckfordFilm
2000The VisitAlex WatersFilm
Nominated Black Reel Award for Best Actor (2000)
Nominated Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead (2000)
Won Method Fest Award for Best Actor (2000)
2003–2004The HandlerDarnellAll 16 episodes
Nominated Saturn Award for Best Supporting Television Actor (2003)
2003Love, Sex and Eating the BonesMichael JosephFilm
2004CSI: MiamiDr. Sheldon HawkesEpisode 3.23 "MIA/NYC NonStop
2004Soul FoodKelvin ChadwayEpisodes 5.03 "The Son Also Rises" and
5.08 "Angelitos Negros"
2004The SopranosStokley Davenport M.D.Episode 5.05 "Irregular Around the Margins"
2004–presentCSI: NYDr. Sheldon HawkesAll 180 episodes

Won Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2008), (2009), (2010)
Nominated Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2005), (2006), (2007), (2011), (2012)

2005Lackawanna BluesRuben, Jr. (Adult)TV movie
2005The 4400Edwin MayuyaEpisode 2.09 "Rebirth"
2005ConstellationErrol HickmanFilm
2006Max and JoshJoshFilm short (also co-wrote)
2006The BreedNoahFilm
2008This Is Not a TestCarlFilm
2008A Good Man Is Hard to FindDamion MarshallDirect to video
2009The GameHimselfEpisode 3.17 "Hill Street Blues"
2010Stonehenge ApocalypseJoseph LeshamTV movie
2010For Colored GirlsDonaldFilm
2011Mama, I Want to Sing!Jeff AndrewsDirect to video


  1. ^ a b "Hill Harper: Biography, Latest News & Videos". TV Guide. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  2. ^ Huntley, Kristine (January 25, 2006). "Hill Harper". CSI Files. Retrieved May 10, 2007.
  3. ^ Lynn (May 4, 2007). "Hill Harper is Much More Than Meets the Eye". EveryJoe.com. Retrieved May 10, 2007.
  4. ^ "Hill Harper bio". Manifest Your Destiny. Retrieved November 15, 2010.[dead link]
  5. ^ Miller, Kiley (December 15, 2007). "Actor returns to Iowa for Obama". The Hawk Eye. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  6. ^ Dani, Sarika (October 24, 2008). "Actor and Obama pal Hill Harper: 'He gets it right'". msnbc.com. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  7. ^ Scott, A. O. (December 15, 2000). "Overcoming Bitterness On the Way to Redemption". The New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  8. ^ Foywonder (June 9, 2010). "Watch a Preview of the Stonehenge Apocalypse!". DreadCentral. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  9. ^ "Obama for America National Finance Committee". George Washington University. Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  10. ^ "Support Our 10,000 Bookbag Giveaway on 8.8.09". The Life Center – Urban Change. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  11. ^ Pendleton, Tonya (August 12, 2009). "Ginuwine, Hill Harper Lead Back-to-School Effort". BlackAmericaWeb.com. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  12. ^ "Actor Hill Harper Is INDUCTED into the African American Fraternity ALPHA PHI ALPHA". Media Take Out. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  13. ^ Rhone, Nedra (August 22, 2011). "Actor Hill Harper cures his health and America's wealth". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 23, 2011.

External links