Glynn Turman

Active - 1970 - 2020  |   Born - Jan 31, 1946 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Drama

Share on

Biography by Hal Erickson

African American character actor Glynn R. Turman was first introduced to the general public as Lew Miles, teen-aged son of Dr. Harry Miles (Percy Rodrigues) and his wife, Alma (Ruby Dee), during the 1968-1969 season of the prime-time TV soap opera Peyton Place. Turman went on to star as Chicago high schooler Leroy "Preach" Jackson in the 1975 film sleeper Cooley High. Settling into character roles in the 1980s, Turman was most often seen as judges, military officers, police detectives, and well-to-do patriarches. A departure from these "establishment" assignments was Turman's star turn in the 1981 TV-movie Thornwell, in which he portrayed real-life soldier James Thornwell, who accused the U.S. Army of subjecting him to illegal mind-controlling drugs. Turman's weekly series roles have included Secretary of State LaRue Hawkes in 1985's Hail to the Chief, and Colonel Bradford Taylor (aka "Dr. War") in the popular Cosby Show spin-off A Different World (1988-1993); he also appeared in the 1983 pilot episode of Manimal as Ty Earl, a role essayed by Michael D. Roberts in the series proper. In the 2000s, Turman played the memorable role of fictional Baltimore mayor Clarence V. Royce on the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire. Also on HBO, he appeared in a few episodes of the psychotherapy drama In Treatment, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as the tough, strict father of Blair Underwood's troubled fighter pilot. In the years to come, Turman would remain active on screen, appearing on shows like The Defenders and House of Lies.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Began acting on Broadway at the age of 12 as Travis Younger in A Raisin in the Sun, alongside Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee. 
  • Runs a one-week rodeo-cowboy camp for inner-city kids outside Los Angeles with his wife, Jo-An, every August since 1992.
  • Performs a one-man show nationally called Movin' Man.
  • Taught theater for 15 years in Los Angeles.