Widely recognized by television viewers for his role as Agent Marcus Dixon on the popular sci-fi action television series Alias, actor Carl Lumbly has been appearing on both the big and small screens since the late '70s. With early appearances on Cagney and Lacey and L.A. Law, as well as roles in such high-profile releases as Pacific Heights (1990) and How Stella Got her Groove Back (1998), chances are you'd recognize Lumbly's face even if his name doesn't immediately ring a bell. A native of Jamaica who attended Minnesota's Macalester College, his career in journalism eventually led to acting when he was assigned to write a story about a local workshop theater. Subsequently immersing himself in the improvisational company for the next two years, it wasn't long before Lumbly made his film debut in Escape from Alcatraz (1979). Gaining an impressive list of small-screen credits with appearances in such popular sitcoms as The Jeffersons and Taxi, the 1980s proved both busy and fruitful as offers continued to roll in. Cast in the lead of the series M.A.N.T.I.S. in 1994, Lumbly essayed the role of a paralyzed scientist who dons a specially designed exoskeleton in the name of fighting crime. Though the show had a small devoted fan base, it was soon taken off the air, and Lumbly rounded out the decade with roles in such made-for-television films as Nightjohn (1996), Buffalo Soldiers (1997), and Border Line (1999). After returning to series work in Alias, Lumbly provided voice work for the animated television series the Justice League, and took the lead in longtime friend Danny Glover's family-friendly drama Just a Dream. The following year found the popular Lumbly remaining family-friendly with a featured role in the made-for-television remake Sounder.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- Worked as a freelance journalist and in public relations for the company 3M before turning to acting.
- While doing a story on the Brave New Workshop Theatre for the Associated Press, wound up auditioning for a part; he joined the company and remained with them for two years.
- Early theater work includes a 1976 San Francisco production of Athol Fugard's Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, which also starred Danny Glover.
- In 1979, made his TV-film debut in Undercover with the KKK, and his feature debut in the Clint Eastwood film Escape from Alcatraz.
- Met his future wife, Vonetta McGee, in 1984 when she was cast as the wife of his Cagney & Lacey character; they were married from 1986 until McGee's death in 2010.