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Blair Erwin Underwood was born on August 25, 1964 in Tacoma, Washington. He is a two-time Golden Globe nominee known for his television roles on series such as Dear White People, Quantico, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Event, The New Adventures of Old Christine, In Treatment, LAX, City of Angels, High Incident, and L.A. Law, among others.
Underwood attended Petersburg High School in Virginia and went on to study at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He began his professional career as an actor in 1985 with guest roles on Knight Rider and The Cosby Show, his feature film debut in Krush Groove, and a short stint on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live as Bobby Blue. Following his role as Terry Corsaro on CBS’s Downtown, he had his big break after being cast as Jonathan Rollins on NBC’s hit legal drama L.A. Law, starring in 149 episodes from 1987 through 1994 and earning his first Golden Globe nomination in 1991.
After L.A. Law, Underwood appeared in several Hollywood films throughout the 1990s, including Just Cause (1995), Set It Off (1996), Gattaca (1997), and Deep Impact (1998), and in the ABC police drama series High Incident as Officer Michael Rhoades (1996-97). In 2000, he starred as Dr. Ben Turner in the CBS medical drama City of Angels and as Captain Lee in Rules of Engagement.
Underwood’s most notable screen credits during the 2000s include a stint on HBO’s smash hit Sex and the City (2003-4), principal roles on Nickelodeon’s Fatherhood and the NBC drama LAX (2004-5), Madea’s Family Reunion (2006), the CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006-10), the ABC drama Dirty Sexy Money (2007-9), and the role of Alex Prince on the HBO drama In Treatment, which led to his second Golden Globe nomination in 2009. He also won a Grammy Award in 2009 for An Inconvenient Truth in the category of Best Spoken Word Album.
In recent years, he starred as President Elias Martinez in The Event on NBC (2010-11), as Robert Ironside in the NBC remake of Ironside (2013), as Andrew Garner in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC (2015-16), as Owen Hall in ABC thriller Quantico (2016-18), and as Moses Brown on Netflix comedy Dear White People (2019). He has also voiced the role of Makuu on Disney’s The Lion Guard since 2016.
On stage, Underwood starred as Claudio in the 1993 Shakespeare in the Park production of Measure for Measure at the Delacorte Theater, and he made his Broadway debut as Stanley Kowalski in the 2012 revival of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire at the Broadhurst Theatre. He later starred as Captain Richard Davenport in Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway premiere of A Soldier’s Play at the American Airlines Theatre from December 27, 2019 through March 11, 2020.