Top Ten

Got a call from a student reporter who wanted an interview. I agreed. She stumped me when she asked what were my all time favorite roles as an actor. I’d never thought about it and had to give it some time. I came up with a list of my top ten. Thought I’d share them with you.

1. Three theatre roles share the top spot.

Speak of Me as I Am, One man play, written and performed by yours truly.

Characters: Rev. Bobby Lee White, Emmett, Smitty, Curtis, Coach Billy, Ralph, Tyronne, Malik, Zonnie

“Nine guys, three Saturdays, One barbershop in Birmingham Alabama. It’s 1999.”

Fences, By August Wilson. Character: Troy Maxson, garbage man, powerful, resentful, and conflicted. Would love to play him again.

Ali, a one man play. An honor.

2. In the Heat of the Night, Television. Multiple episodes. Character: Ted Marcus, Attorney, City Councilman – My first real TV gig. Learned a lot. Worked with pros, Carol O’Connor, Howard Rollins, Denise Nicholas, and many, many others. Made great friends.

3. NYPD Blue, Television. Episode: Lost Israel. Character: Israel. Homeless mute accused of sexual assault and murder of a child. Innocent. Tearjerker. Episode won an Emmy. Always an honor when someone mentions it. Five star.

4. Miss Ever’s Boy’s, HBO films. Character: Ben Washington. Story based on real life Tuskegee Syphilis study where the U.S. government allowed black men in Tuskegee, Alabama to die from the natural progression of untreated syphilis rather than treat them with newly discovered penicillin. The study was released while I was a student at Auburn University. Felt the obvious connection. Ben was a great character to inhabit. Worked with wonderful actors and friend, Lawrence Fishburne and Alfree Woodard. Release of film prompted a long overdue presidential pardon to the men of the Tuskegee Study.

5. Fight Club, Film.Character: Detective Stern. Cult piece. Got to work with David Fincher and Ed Norton. Got to meet Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Direction tid-bits from Director Fincher and Casting director Laray Mayfield. Favorite of many twenty- something’s. Young man in a bar told me he’d seen it 52 times. Scary!

6. Jeepers Creepers 2, Film. Character: Coach Charlie Hanna, a favorite. Brings a smile to my face. Enjoyed working with Director Victor Salva. He trusted me with his coach and I think I delivered for him. Worked several weeks from sundown to sun up at Tejon Ranch conservancy eighty miles north of Los Angeles. Cold at night. Another cult favorite. Popular with the younger set.

7. Game of Your Life, NBC film. Character: Billy Taylor Jr.; Great dad! Honest man of substance. Loved playing him. Inspirational film.

8. Miracle in the Woods, TV film. Character: Henry Cooper Jr. Another great character role; Played Della Reese’s long lost son. Had to work with a cat, a first for me. Worked with Meredith Baxter, Patricia Heaton, Sanaa Lathan. Met my good friend Joe Slowensky who wrote the script.

9. Cold Case, TV series. Episode: “Time to Crime”. Character: Mike Odum, Family man willing to take the rap for a killing he didn’t do to save his son. Funny thing, I’m from Birmingham, Alabama. Joyce Guy who I did not know beforehand, played my wife. She’s from Montgomery, Alabama and Reggie Currelley who played our son had gone to college at Alabama State University in Montgomery. Score one for Alabama.

10. Tie for 10th Jack and Bobby, TV series. Character: Joseph Ride. Another great dad. The District, TV Series, Character: Archie Cryer. Ran a government undercover drug operation. Great bureaucrat.

What about you? Are there any favorites of yours that didn’t make my list?

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