Tall African-American actor D.B. Woodside is best known for two recurring series roles: that of Principal Robin Wood on Buffy the Vampire Slayer during the program's seventh and final season, and that of Wayne Palmer on the blockbuster Fox action thriller 24.
Born in New York City, David Bryan Woodside stepped into drama during his teens, almost completely by accident. As a varsity football hero, he suffered from an unexpected injury on the field and happened to be looking for an alternative pursuit. While walking down a school corridor, Woodside overheard a rehearsal for the musical Brigadoon and decided, spontaneously, to check it out. The pieces fell into place, and after graduation, Woodside devoted more of his attention to dramatics -- this time, on a curricular level, first as an undergraduate at the State University of New York at Albany (where he received his B.A.) and later via his studies at the Yale University School of Drama, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts.
Woodside signed with a manager and subsequently landed the role of Melvin Franklin, bassist singer for the Temptations, in the 1998 telemovie biopic of that Motown supergroup; that of Forrest in the low-budget 1998 cop thriller Scarred City; and that of Anthony Hilliard in the BET original telemovie After All. He also portrayed Colin in Andrzej Bartkowiak's big-screen martial arts update of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Romeo Must Die.
The Buffy role purportedly came to Woodside some time before he agreed to accept it; he later recalled his manager phoning him on several occasions and insisting that he audition for the part. In the first two instances, Woodside declined, but with the third offer, he begrudgingly accepted and soon "fell in love with the part." Unfortunately, the series ended with that season (in 2003), but Woodside made a memorable impression. When reflecting on the series' closure in a BBC interview, he later observed, "It was sad to see these guys who had been together for seven years of their lives, who had grown up together. They were a family, and like many families they work hard and love hard. They were fantastic and welcomed me into that family for the final season. So there were quite a few tears, quite a few hugs, but they felt the need to move on."
Woodside continued on to other roles, including playing "stoner" Martin, the best friend of Marguerite Moreau's Jamie Harris, in the quirky, low-budget romantic comedy Easy (2003). However, Woodside's most notable and high-profile role was that of Wayne Palmer -- the brother and Chief of Staff of President David Palmer -- on the aforementioned 24, starting with the hit show's third season (2003-2004). He then returned in season five (2005) for a handful of appearances before his character ascended to the presidency for the show's turbulent sixth season the next year.