Best known for his role as Warrick Brown, the detective with a marked predilection for risk (and an ongoing gambling addiction), on CBS's blockbuster series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the easygoing, congenial, and memorably handsome African-American actor Gary Dourdan has built his life and his public image around uniqueness and originality. Six foot two inches tall, green-eyed, sporting bushy yet sculpted dreadlocks, and straddling the worlds of drama and avant-garde music, Dourdan commented to Ebony magazine, "I've always tried to be unconventional as much as I possibly could...one thing I'm trying to do with my career and with my craft is to blur the lines between what people think African-Americans should play and what I'm doing. I'm not much into fads and fashions and trying to follow things."
Born December 11, 1966, in Philadelphia, PA, as the son of Robert and Sandy Durdin (his actual surname), the adolescent Dourdan attended "Freedom Theater," an inner-city program for aspiring actors, during adolescence. Success in this venue prompted him to travel to Manhattan on a weekly basis for musical training and dramatic auditions. Dourdan landed his "big break" as an actor in the early '90s, seemingly without even trying. While dating fashion model Roshumba Williams around 1991 and vacationing with her in France, Dourdan was spotted by powerhouse Debbie Allen, then the producer and director of A Different World; impressed by his looks and manner, she invited him to audition for the series. He played Shazza Zulu, the resident "con man" of Hillman College -- a role he sustained through the end of 1992 (for less than one season), before moving on to new endeavors. Dourdan debuted onscreen inauspiciously, with a bit part as the Second Cartel Man in Weekend at Bernie's II. Additional roles included that of a copy guy in Ron Howard's The Paper (1994), Christie in Alien Resurrection, and Yates in the Andy Wilson-directed medical thriller Playing God (1997). In 2000, Dourdan landed his biggest break with the CSI role, for executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer -- and (when the program instantly shot up to number one) continued the part as the series progressed. The same year that he signed with Bruckheimer and company, Dourdan played Malcolm X in the telemovie Muhammad Ali: King of the World. As mentioned, Dourdan is also a prolific alternative musician (with solo albums to his credit) and a record producer. He married African-American model Williams in 1992; the couple divorced two years later. He has two children, a son, Lyric, and a daughter, Nyla (the daughter of Jennifer Sutton, whom Dourdan dated from 1995 to 2000). He voiced the character of Detective Crispus Allen in 2008's Batman: Gotham Knight, and took on a supporting role as a chef in Jumping the Broom (2011).