Blair Underwood has distinguished himself as an award-winning actor who is currently showcasing his multitude of talents in film, television, theatre, and audiobooks. He is also an author of both fiction and non-fiction books.
In 2008, Underwood received an abundance of accolades that included a Golden Globe nomination for his powerful characterization on HBO’s In Treatment and a pair of Image Award nominations for Dirty Sexy Money and The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Additionally, Underwood received a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word for former Vice-President Al Gore’s album An Inconvenient Truth by Beau Bridges, Cynthia Nixon and Blair Underwood. Previously, Underwood portrayed Jesus in the audiobook The Bible Experience, which features more than 200 notable personalities, including Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett. Since its release in 2006, it has become the No. 1 selling audio Bible in history.
This past fall he returned to the literary world, co-authoring the detective novel In the Night of the Heat with Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes. The team is currently working on the third installment of the series entitled, From Cape Town With Love. The Atria fiction book was named the Essence Book of the Month pick and got rave reviews from both readers and critics. The second book in the series In the Night of the Heat was released September 16, 2008. In 2005, Underwood published a non-fiction book called Before I Got Here (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, Inc.). The book is a collection of stories and anecdotes from parents that speak to the existence of a child’s soul prior to birth.
In February 2006, Underwood starred in two films, Something New (Focus Features,) a romantic comedy costarring Sanaa Lathan and Madea’s Family Reunion (Lion’s Gate), the sequel to Tyler Perry’s smash Diary of a Mad Black Woman are now both available on DVD.
Underwood also voiced the lead character, Dr. Bindlebeep, in Bill Cosby’s hit animated series for Nick at Nite: Fatherhood. In five episodes of the final season of HBO’s hit series Sex & the City, Underwood played Robert Leeds, the NY Knicks team doctor who romanced his neighbor Miranda. His portrayal earned him two NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor.
Underwood tarred in and produced the independent drama How Did It Feel? The film is a character-driven drama based on the award-winning play of the same name. Underwood plays a working-class intellectual whose life is rocked when his wife’s younger sister comes to live with them. He also starred in the independent films G and Truth Be Told. Additionally, Underwood is in development on My Soul To Keep, a supernatural thriller based on the novel by Tananarive Due (Fox Searchlight), that he will star in and produce. He also starred in Amazon.com’s short film Do Geese See God.
Underwood also has toured in his one-man show IM4: From the Mountaintop to Hip Hop. The play, created and conceived by Underwood and written by his brother, is the story of a rap mogul who gets gunned down. During his heavenly journey, the mogul meets the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Underwood plays eight characters in all.
He co-starred in the Warner Bros. comedy Malibu’s Most Wanted and was the male lead opposite Julia Roberts in Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal. Underwood starred as a Marine captain in William Friedkin’s Rules of Engagement, for which he won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Film. That same year he won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his starring role in Steven Bochco’s City of Angels. In 2000, People magazine named him one of its “50 Most Beautiful People” and in 2004 named him one of the “Sexiest Men Alive.”
Underwood’s other film credits include his portrayals of a space shuttle flight navigator in the Paramount/DreamWorks hit Deep Impact, a death row inmate in Warner Bros.’ Just Cause, a geneticist in Columbia’s Gattaca, a sheriff in Posse, and a corporate banker in New Line’s Set It Off. He received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a motion picture for the latter role.
As director, executive producer, writer and star of the dramatic short The Second Coming, Underwood played Jesus Christ returning to earth. In addition, he produced and starred in the independent thriller Asunder and the short film Sister, I’m Sorry. He also has five music videos to his directing credit.
Underwood grew up an “Army brat,” living in cities all over the world, but he calls Virginia his home. He burst into the national spotlight with his confident and passionate portrayal of lawyer Jonathan Rollins in the NBC hit series L.A. Law. The role also earned him a Golden Globe nomination. Additionally, TV Guide singled him out as one of “The Top Stars of the 90s.”
Underwood starred in CBS’ top-rated 1998 dramatic miniseries, Mama Flora’s Family, which was based on Alex Haley’s last book. The performance earned him an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Television Movie/Miniseries. Underwood won the NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a Television Movie for NBC’s Murder in Mississippi and starred as Jackie Robinson in HBO’s Soul of the Game, for which he received another NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie/Miniseries. Underwood also starred in Showtime’s The Wishing Tree and TNT’s award-winning Heat Wave. He most recently starred opposite Heather Locklear in the NBC drama LAX.
His theater credits include the recent New York revival of the award-winning musical, Purlie, Measure for Measure, at the 1993 New York Shakespeare Festival, El Negro en Peru, The Game of Love and Chance, and Love Letters opposite Alfre Woodard.
Underwood is involved in numerous charitable organizations. He is a Co-Founder and Board Member of Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA), which he established in 1989 with Alfre Woodard, Danny Glover, Mary Steenburgen, CCH Pounder, Robert Guillaume and other friends in the arts and entertainment community,
He is currently a spokesperson for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. In 2003 Underwood, along with Ashley Judd, served as the spokesperson for YouthAIDS and in 2004 he appeared in a public service announcement for The Fulfillment Fund.
His dedicated support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association won him the 1993 Humanitarian Award, presented by the Los Angeles Chapter of MDA.