Black Stars on Screen and TV!

by willi-beckenlehner | created - 15 Aug 2011 | updated - 01 Oct 2012 | Public

1. Sidney Poitier

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (though born in Miami during a mainland visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to Miami to live with ...

2. Louis Gossett Jr.

Actor | An Officer and a Gentleman

Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. was born on May 27, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York City. He made his professional acting debut at age 17, winning the Donaldson Award as best newcomer to theatre. He went to New York University on a basketball scholarship and was invited to try out for the New York Knicks, yet...

3. Sammy Davis Jr.

Actor | The Cannonball Run

Sammy Davis Jr. was often billed as the "greatest living entertainer in the world".

He was born in Harlem, Manhattan, the son of dancer Elvera Davis (née Sanchez) and vaudeville star Sammy Davis Sr.. His father was African-American and his mother was of Puerto Rican ancestry. Davis Jr. was known as ...

4. Harry Belafonte

Actor | Bobby

Harold George Belafonte was born on March 1, 1927 in New York City. He was educated at the New York Dramatic Workshop. He grew up in Jamaica, British West Indies, and did folk-singing in nightclubs and theaters, and on television and records. His debut was at the Village Vanguard in New York. Also,...

5. Arsenio Hall

Actor | Coming to America

Arsenio Hall was born on February 12, 1956 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. He is a producer and actor, known for Coming to America (1988), Black Dynamite (2009) and Amazon Women on the Moon (1987).

6. Michael Winslow

Actor | Spaceballs

Michael Winslow was born on September 6, 1958 in Spokane, Washington, USA as Michael Leslie Winslow. He is an actor, known for Spaceballs (1987), Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987) and Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994). He has been married to Sharon Larrieu since June 12, 2003. He ...

7. John Amos

Actor | Coming to America

A native of New Jersey and son of a mechanic, African-American John Amos has relied on his imposing build, eruptive nature and strong, forceful looks to obtain acting jobs, and a serious desire for better roles to earn a satisfying place in the annals of film and TV. He has found it a constant ...

8. Reginald VelJohnson

Actor | Die Hard

Reginald VelJohnson was born on August 16, 1952 in Queens, New York, USA. He is an actor and writer, known for Die Hard (1988), Ghostbusters (1984) and Die Hard 2 (1990).

9. Jaleel White

Actor | Family Matters

Jaleel White was born on November 27, 1976 in Pasadena, California, USA as Jaleel Ahmad White. He is an actor and writer, known for Family Matters (1989), Big Fat Liar (2002) and Dreamgirls (2006).

10. Don Franklin

Actor | Seaquest DSV

Don Franklin was born on December 14, 1960 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He is an actor, known for SeaQuest 2032 (1993), Seven Days (1998) and Day Break (2006).

11. Tim Russ

Actor | Spaceballs

Timothy Darrell Russ was born on June 22, 1956, in Washington, D.C., to Air Force officer Walt and his wife Josephine. He and his younger siblings Michael and Angela grew up on several military bases, including Niagara Falls, Elmendorf (Alaska) AFB, Omaha, Taiwan, Philippines and Turkey. During ...

12. James Brown

Actor | The Blues Brothers

James Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina, USA as James Joseph Brown. He was married to Tomirae Brown, Adrienne Rodriguez, Deidre Jenkins and Velma Warren. He died on December 25, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

13. Avery Brooks

Actor | American History X

Avery Franklin Brooks was born on October 2, 1948 in Evansville, Indiana to a musically talented family. His maternal grandfather, Samuel Travis Crawford, was a tenor who graduated from Tougaloo College in Mississippi in 1901. Crawford toured the country singing with the Delta Rhythm Boys in the ...

14. Cirroc Lofton

Actor | Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Cirroc Lofton was born on August 7, 1978 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He is an actor, known for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), Beethoven (1992) and Invasion (2005).

15. Delroy Lindo

Actor | Get Shorty

On the stage and on the big screen, Delroy Lindo projects a powerful presence that is almost impossible to ignore. Alhough it was not his first film role, his portrayal of the bipolar numbers boss West Indian Archie in Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992) is what first attracted attention to Lindo's ...

16. Yaphet Kotto

Actor | Alien

Yaphet Kotto was born on November 15, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Yaphet Frederick Kotto. He is an actor and writer, known for Alien (1979), Midnight Run (1988) and Live and Let Die (1973). He has been married to Tessie Sinahon since July 12, 1998. He was previously married to ...

17. Chiwetel Ejiofor

Actor | 12 Years a Slave

English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is renowned for his portrayal of Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave (2013), for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations, along with the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. He is also known for playing Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things (2002), the ...

18. Hugh Quarshie

Actor | Highlander

Hugh Quarshie was born on December 22, 1954 in Accra, Ghana as Hugh Antony Kobna Quarshie. He is an actor and director, known for Highlander (1986), Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) and Nightbreed (1990). He is married to Annika Sundström.

19. Jamie Foxx

Actor | Django Unchained

Jamie Foxx is an American actor, singer and comedian. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, for his work in the biographical film Ray (2004). The same year, he was nominated for the Academy...

20. Ray Charles

Actor | The Blues Brothers

A tragic fate may have given this visionary a heightened sensitivity, perception, awareness, even expansion to his obvious musical gifts that he may have never touched upon had he not suffered from his physical affliction. Whatever it was, Ray Charles revolutionized American music and was ...

21. Christopher Judge

Actor | Stargate SG-1

Douglas Christopher Judge was born and raised in Los Angeles, and is of African-American and Cherokee ancestry.

Judge always knew that he wanted to be an actor, wanting to invoke feelings in others that he was receiving from the shows. He realized quickly that sports would be the stepping stone to ...

22. Keith Hamilton Cobb

Actor | The Young and the Restless

Keith Hamilton Cobb Graduated Sleepy Hollow High School and Westchester Community College. As well as New York University Tisch School of the Arts. He attended Circle in the Square Theatre School and Playwrights Horizons Theater School. His hobbies are writing, photography & renovating home. He ...

23. Harold Perrineau

Actor | Romeo + Juliet

Harold Perrineau was born on August 7, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Harold Williams. He is an actor and producer, known for Romeo + Juliet (1996), The Edge (1997) and The Matrix Reloaded (2003). He has been married to Brittany Perrineau since August 27, 2002. They have three children.

24. Gary Dourdan

Actor | CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Gary Dourdan was born on December 11, 1966 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Gary Robert Durdin. He is an actor, known for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000), Alien: Resurrection (1997) and Thursday (1998). He was previously married to Roshumba Williams.

25. Hill Harper

Actor | CSI: NY

Hill Harper, an accomplished film, television and stage actor, stars in the hit CBS drama series, CSI: NY (2004). He portrays "Dr. Sheldon Hawkes", a reclusive coroner who walked away from a promising surgical career after the traumatic loss of two patients. This February, he will star in the HBO ...

26. Eriq La Salle

Actor | ER

Born and raised in Hartford, CT, as one of four children. Studied two years at Juilliard and graduated from New York University graduate theater program with a B.F.A. degree in theater. Meanwhile he participated in the first of Joseph Papp's Shakespeare productions at the Park theater company. ...

27. Hari Rhodes

Actor | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

Hari Rhodes was born on April 10, 1932 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA as Harry Rhodes. He was an actor, known for Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Coma (1978) and Shock Corridor (1963). He died on January 15, 1992 in Canoga Park, Los Angeles, California, USA.

28. Yasiin Bey

Actor | The Italian Job

Regarded as one of hip-hop's most introspective and insightful artists, Mos Def has shaped a career that transcends music genres and artistic medium. Taking a cue from the Afrocentric stylings of the Native Tongues crew, which included De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and Andres ...

29. Anthony Montgomery

Actor | Enterprise

Anthony Montgomery was born on June 2, 1971 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. He is an actor, known for Star Trek: Enterprise (2001), I'm Through with White Girls (The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks) (2007) and Chariot (2013).

30. Tyrese Gibson

Actor | Baby Boy

Tyrese Darnell Gibson was born December 30, 1978 in Watts, Los Angeles, California, where he was raised. He is an R&B singer, songwriter, actor, author, television producer and model. He is well known for his actor role as Roman Pearce in the The Fast and Furious movie franchise. Other popular ...

31. Don Cheadle

Actor | Crash

Donald Frank Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 29, 1964. His childhood found him moving from city to city with his family: mother Bettye (North), a teacher, father Donald Frank Cheadle, Sr., a clinical psychologist, sister Dawn, and brother Colin. After graduating high school in...

32. Bumper Robinson

Actor | Enemy Mine

Bumper Robinson was born on June 19, 1974 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA as Larry C. Robinson II. He is an actor, known for Enemy Mine (1985), Justice League: Doom (2012) and Brother Bear (2003).

33. Stan Shaw

Actor | Daylight

Started acting in the Chicago production of the Broadway musical "Hair" as well as the Broadway production of "The Me Nobody Knows". His last Broadway show "Via Galactica" was directed by Sir Peter Hall.

34. Laurence Fishburne

Actor | The Matrix

One of Hollywood's most talented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961, to Hattie Bell (Crawford), a teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer.

His ...

35. Dorian Harewood

Actor | Full Metal Jacket

Dorian Harewood was born on August 6, 1950 in Dayton, Ohio, USA as Willie Dorian Harewood. He is an actor, known for Full Metal Jacket (1987), Space Jam (1996) and Assault on Precinct 13 (2005). He has been married to Nancy Harewood since February 14, 1979. They have two children.

36. LeVar Burton

Actor | Star Trek: First Contact

LeVar Burton was born on February 16, 1957 in Landstuhl, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany as Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr. He is an actor and director, known for Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Generations (1994) and Star Trek: Insurrection (1998). He has been married to Stephanie ...

37. Jaden Smith

Actor | The Karate Kid

Jaden Smith is a movie actor, known for The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), The Karate Kid (2010) and After Earth (2013). In addition to being an actor he is also a dancer, songwriter and rapper who won an MTV award for his performance in The Pursuit of Happyness. He co-starred with his father Will ...

38. Robert Townsend

Soundtrack | Movin' on Up

Robert Townsend is a composer, known for Movin' on Up (2011), Schoolboy Q: Groovy Tony (2016) and Never Mind the Buzzcocks (1996).

39. Richard Pryor

Actor | Superman III

Highly influential, and always controversial, African-American actor/comedian who was equally well known for his colorful language during his live comedy shows, as for his fast paced life, multiple marriages and battles with drug addiction. He has been acknowledged by many modern comic artist's as ...

40. Jeffrey Wright

Actor | Broken Flowers

Quite possibly the most underrated and underexposed actor of his caliber and generation, Jeffrey Wright's undeniable talent and ability to successfully bring to life any role he undertakes is on a par with the most praised and revered A-list actors in the business. Born and raised in Washington DC,...

41. Bernie Casey

Actor | Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Bernie Casey was born on June 8, 1939 in Wyco, West Virginia, USA as Bernard Terry Casey. He was an actor and director, known for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Never Say Never Again (1983) and Spies Like Us (1985). He was married to Paula. He died on September 19, 2017 in Los Angeles...

42. James Earl Jones

Actor | Rogue One

James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi, USA. At an early age, he started to take dramatic lessons to calm himself down. It appeared to work as he has since starred in many films over a 40-year period, beginning with the Stanley Kubrick classic Dr. Strangelove or: ...

43. Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Actor | The Cosby Show

Emmy-nominated actor and director Malcolm-Jamal Warner was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was named after Malcolm X and legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal.

Warner first rose to national prominence by starring on the celebrated and long-running classic television series "The Cosby Show." His ...

44. Tony Todd

Actor | Candyman

Perhaps best known for his chilling performance as "Candyman", the charismatic 6' 5" actor Tony Todd has consistently turned in compelling performances since his debut in the fantasy film Sleepwalk (1986). Born in Washington, D.C., Todd spent two years on a scholarship at the University of ...

45. Philip Michael Thomas

Actor | Miami Vice

Philip Michael Thomas - the multi-talented performer best known as Detective Rico Tubbs in the iconic 1980s TV series Miami Vice (1984) - made his Broadway debut in 1971 in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play No Place to Be Somebody...and hasn't looked back since.

In a remarkable career that spans ...

46. Jim Brown

Actor | Mars Attacks!

Often mentioned as the greatest player in NFL history, this ruggedly handsome African American fullback for the Cleveland Browns first appeared on movie screens in the western Rio Conchos (1964), followed by a strong supporting role as convict commando "Jefferson" in the terrific WW2 action film ...

47. Djimon Hounsou

Actor | Blood Diamond

Djimon Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He moved to Lyon, France, when he was 13. Hounsou has graced the catwalks of Paris and London as a popular male model. He has since left his modeling career and has worked on Gladiator (2000) by Ridley ...

48. Idris Elba

Actor | Beasts of No Nation

An only child, Idrissa Akuna Elba was born and raised in London, England. His father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and worked at Ford Dagenham; his mother, Eve, is from Ghana and had a clerical duty. Idris attended school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting, before he dropped...

49. Peter Mensah

Actor | Jason X

Peter Mensah has been doing martial arts since he was 6 years old, growing up in St. Albans, England, just north of London. A former engineer, Mensah came to Canada 11 years ago. He'd worked for British Gas developing gas fields at Morecambe Bay and had done theatre in school. He comes from an ...

50. Boris Kodjoe

Actor | Resident Evil: Retribution

Boris Frederic Cecil Tay-Natey Ofuatey-Kodjoe, better known as Boris Kodjoe, is a German actor known for his roles as Jason in the 2000 film Love & Basketball (2000), and the sports-courier agent Damon Carter on the Showtime drama series Soul Food (2000).

Kodjoe was born in Vienna, Austria, the ...