Wendell Pierce

Active - 1986 - 2020  |   Born - Dec 8, 1963 in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Crime

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Actor Wendell Pierce spent the first 20 years or so of his career predominantly essaying character roles as authority figures, with many bit parts as cops, attorneys, government agents, and ministers to his credit. Pierce devoted the majority of his first decade to big-screen work (including such projects as The Money Pit, Family Business, and Get on the Bus); by 1995, he began to accept occasional bit parts on television, and indeed, this venue ultimately brought Pierce higher billing, when he was tapped to play two roles: Conrad "Candyman" Jones on Third Watch and Detective William "Bunk" Moreland on HBO's police drama The Wire. Pierce remained most active on-stage, however, where his powerhouse presence illuminated an impressive array of classical dramas, among them Cymbeline (1989), Antigone (1993), and Tartuffe (1999). Over the coming years, Pierce would find additional success on a series about his hometown, Treme.

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  • Grew up in New Orleans and was very active in rebuilding the Ninth Ward following its destruction by Hurricane Katrina.
  • Lived with Wynton and Branford Marsalis while attending the Juilliard School in New York.
  • Wesley Snipes was the DJ for his 22nd birthday party.
  • Successful actor since 1985, but his big break came when cast in The Wire as Det. William "Bunk" Moreland in 2002.
  • Became the host of the nationally syndicated radio program Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2009.
  • Learned to play the trombone for his role on Treme.
  • Launched, with two business partners, the grocery-store chain Sterling Farms, which is designed to serve low-income areas of New Orleans.