Blair Underwood

Active - 1985 - 2020  |   Born - Aug 25, 1964 in Tacoma, Washington, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Thriller

Share on

Biography by Andrea LeVasseur

Handsome actor Blair Underwood was born into a military family and studied at Carnegie-Mellon University before moving to New York to pursue his career. Guest-starring work on The Cosby Show earned him a part on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live, followed by a reoccurring role on the short-lived series Downtown. In 1985 he made his film debut as a record producer in the rap comedy Krush Groove. This was followed by the successful TV docudramas Heat Wave and Murder in Mississippi. His breakthrough finally came about on L.A. Law, playing attorney Jonathan Rollins from 1987 to 1994. Supporting roles followed, as an accused rapist in Just Cause, a well-to-do love interest in Set It Off, and baseball legend Jackie Robinson in the HBO original movie Soul of the Game. Also during the '90s, he tried his hand at screenwriting and producing with the short film Second Coming, a contemporary take on Christ's second coming starring himself as a dread-locked Jesus accused of insanity. In 2000, he starred in the CBS medical drama City of Angels, followed by supporting roles in the military courtroom drama Rules of Engagement, as well as Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal, and the teen movie Malibu's Most Wanted. He consistently found work on the small screen in a variety of TV shows including LAX, the short-lived Dirty Sexy Money, and as a haunted military pilot in the first season of HBO's In Treatment. On the big-screen he could be seen in Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion, Something New, and The Art of Getting By. He and wife Desiree DaCosta (two-time executive assistant to Eddie Murphy) have three children.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Moved frequently throughout his childhood---including stints in Michigan, Colorado, Virginia and Germany---due to his colonel father's job with the U.S. Army. Wanted to be a cowboy before he wanted to be an actor; in addition to horseback riding, he took part in rodeos. Voted one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2000. Created and starred in IM4: From the Mountaintop to Hip Hop, a one-man show in which he played eight characters. Coauthored the Tennyson Hardwick series of novels about an actor-turned-detective. Has won multiple NAACP Image Awards. Is a champion for civil rights and has been involved in numerous charitable organizations. Notably, he received the 1993 Humanitarian Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, was a spokesperson for YouthAIDS in 2003 and cofounded Artists for a New South Africa.