Happy Birthday Blair Underwood

Happy Birthday Blair Underwood

Blair Erwin Underwood[2] (born August 25, 1964) is an American actor. He made his debut in the 1985 musical film Krush Groove and from 1987 to 1994 starred as attorney Jonathan Rollins in the NBC legal drama series L.A. Law.

Underwood has appeared in a number of films during his career, including Just Cause (1995), Set It Off (1996), Deep Impact (1998), Rules of Engagement (2000), Something New (2006), Madea’s Family Reunion (2006) ), and Juanita (2019). On television, he played a leading role in the 2000 medical drama City of Angels, and also had regular roles in High Incident (1996-97), LAX (2004–05), Dirty Sexy Money (2007–09), In Treatment ( 2008), The Event (2010–11), Ironside (2013) and Quantico (2016–18). Underwood has received two Golden Globe Award nominations, five NAACP Image Awards, one Daytime Emmy Award, and one Grammy Award.

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] Underwood lived on bases and Army Posts in the United States and Stuttgart, Germany throughout his childhood due to his father’s military career.[6] Blair attended Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Virginia.[citation needed] 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

After his film debut, Krush Groove, Underwood’s 1985 appearance on The Cosby Show landed him a short stint for three months on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live as Bobby Blue.[7] He later co-starred in the short-lived CBS crime drama series Downtown from 1986 to 1987, and guest-starred on Scarecrow and Mrs. King and 21 Jump Street.

In 1987, Underwood, at the age of 23, was cast as attorney Jonathan Rollins in the NBC legal drama series L.A. Law.[8] He received Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film in 1991. The series ended in 1994. In 1990, he played James Chaney in the NBC television film Murder in Mississippi. In 1993, he co-starred in the western film Posse starring Mario Van Peebles. After L.A. Law, he starred in a number of movies, In 1995 he appeared in the legal thriller Just Cause, and the following year played Jada Pinkett’s love interest in the heist film Set It Off. He also had a supporting role as a geneticist in the science fiction film Gattaca (1997) and in the disaster film Deep Impact (1998). In 1996, he was featured in the July issue of erotic magazine Playgirl.[9]

In 1996, Underwood returned to series television with ABC police drama series, High Incident. He co-starred opposite Cicely Tyson in the 1998 miniseries Mama Flora’s Family. In 2000, he played the lead role in the short-lived CBS medical drama series City of Angels. Underwood was voted one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” in 2000, and one of TV Guide magazine’s “Most Influential Faces of the 90s”.[10] 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 short-lived drama LAX.[11] In 2006, he appeared in the Tyler Perry’s second film, Madea’s Family Reunion. He had a recurring role as the sexy grade school teacher in the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine Julia Louis-Dreyfus from 2006 to 2008. In 2007, he guest starred in an episode of the NBC series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.[12] In 2007, Underwood portrayed Jesus Christ in Inspired By… The Bible Experience, an 89-hour, celebrity-voiced, fully dramatized audio Bible based on Today’s New International Version. Also in 2007, Underwood co-authored the novel Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel with husband-and-wife team Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due.

Personal life

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 suit for YouthAIDS. In addition, he is involved with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Blair Underwood Clinic in Washington, DC.[24]

Underwood also appeared in a 2004 public service announcement for The Fulfillment Fund.[25] He is a Trustee for the Robey Theater Company in Los Angeles, a non-profit theater 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 inquire his L.A. Law role at Harvard Law School, while Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review.[26]

Underwood’s DNA test showed that he is a descendant of the Babungo people of Cameroon.[27] Additional DNA testing and genealogical research revealed that his African ancestry comes from the Bamum, Brong and lgbo ethnic groups of Western Africa.[28] The DNA test also connected Blair to a distant cousin in Babungo, Cameroon.[28]