Blair Erwin Underwood is an American actor and director, known for his roles in the TV series ‘L.A. Law’ and ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Born in Tacoma, Washington, the actor spent his early years travelling across the country due to his father’s transferrable military job. He developed an early interest in the performing arts and began his career with the 1985 film ‘Krush Groove’. He later appeared in TV films such as ‘The Cover Girl and the Cop’ and ‘Murder in Mississippi’. His role in the legal drama series ‘L.A. Law’ helped him cement his place in the entertainment industry. The series reflected on the social and cultural ideologies of the 1980s and 1990s, such as the attitudes towards abortion, racism, LGBTQA+ rights and AIDS. Underwood won the NAACP Image Award for his performance in the ‘Best Actor in a Drama Series’ category for his outstanding performance in the series. A much-respected actor, he has been honored several times over the course of his career, and is the recipient of a Grammy Award as well.
Childhood & Early Life
Blair Underwood was born in Tacoma, Washington, US, on August 25, 1964. His father, Frank Eugene Underwood Sr, was a colonel in the US Army. His mother was Marilyn Ann Scales, an interior decorator. He spent the major part of his early life living in bases and army posts across US and Germany because of his father’s military career.
He studied at Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Virginia, and later attended the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He also became an honorary member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
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Blair Underwood began his acting career with an important role in the 1985 film ‘Krush Groove’. He next appeared in films, such as ‘Murder in Mississippi’ (1990), ‘Heat Wave’ (1990), ‘Posse’, (1993) and ‘Just Cause’ (1995).
He also appeared in several TV shows in the 1980s and 1990s, his most popular one being the legal drama ‘L.A. Law’, for which he won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series.
He played a role in the series ‘City of Angels’ in 2000. For his performance, he won his second NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series. Meanwhile, he continued to act on the big screen in the late 1990s, appearing in films like ‘Soul of the Game’ (1996), ‘Deep Impact’ (1998), and ‘Mama Flora’s Family’ (1998).
He won his third NAACP Image Award for his work in the movie ‘Rules of Engagement’ in 2000. The film was a mild success financially, earning more than $70 million on a $60 million budget. Reviews were mostly negative.
Between 2003 and 2004, he was seen in the popular sitcom ‘Sex and the City’, where he portrayed Dr Robert. Though he appeared in only five episodes, his performance earned him a nomination for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor.
In the mid-2000s, he appeared in TV shows like ‘Fatherhood’ and ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine’. He also earned popularity for his work in movies, such as ‘Full Frontal’ (2002) and ‘Operation Homecoming’ (2007).
Between 2007 and 2009, he was seen in the series ‘Dirty Sexy Money,’ for which he was nominated for another NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
In 2008, he was seen in the series ‘In Treatment’, for which he earned a nomination for the Golden Globe Award, and also was nominated for another NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series.
His recent TV works include the series ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ (2015-16), ‘The Lion Guard’ (2016-present), and ‘Quantico’ (2016-18). His latest works on the big screen are ‘The After Party’ (2018) and ‘Juanita’ (2019).
’L.A. Law’, a legal drama series, is undoubtedly one of Blair Underwood’s most important works. It aired from 1986 to 1994, covering eight seasons. The series also featured actors such as Richard Dysart, Alan Rachins, and Harry Hamlin. For his portrayal of Jonathan Rollins, Underwood won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a nomination for the Golden Globe Award.
One of his more recent works is the TV series ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, which was based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D., a fictional peacekeeping and spy agency, in Marvel’s world of superheroes. Other actors in the series were Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, and Nick Blood. The series received mostly positive reviews.
Family & Personal Life
Blair Underwood got married to Desiree DaCosta on 17th September 1994. The couple has four children, Paris, Brielle, Blake and Lexi Underwood.
Underwood is associated with several charitable organizations. He won the 1993 Humanitarian Award for his work with the Los Angeles chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.