A tall, polished actor adept at a broad array of parts and types, Wood Harris grew up amid the impoverished and crime-ridden ghettos of Chicago's West Side -- and reportedly felt intrigued by the many contradictions of the surrounding environment. The young man also felt drawn to acting, and the two interests converged in his first cinematic assignment: a role in Jeff Pollack's urban-themed sports drama Above the Rim (1994), starring gangsta rap legend Tupac Shakur. Harris only had a bit part in the film, but his work continued, and 2000 marked his breakthrough year: the year that not only brought with it a highly visible role as a footballer in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced inspirational sports drama Remember the Titans (opposite screen heavyweight Denzel Washington) but -- more significantly for Harris -- a lead in the Showtime telemovie Hendrix, a biopic of rock demigod Jimi Hendrix. The drama paved the way for more prominent billings, and Harris continued to realize his potential with a regular role on HBO's The Wire (as Avon Barksdale) and a key supporting part as Dion Warner (aka Dion Element) in Richard Kelly's dystopian black comedy Southland Tales (2006). Meanwhile, at around the same time, Harris recorded his first rap album, K-Town -- its title a reference to the infamous Chicago neighborhood of the same name -- which chronicled his experiences growing up in the Windy City.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Starred in his first major film role, Above the Rim opposite Tupac Shakur, while attending NIU.
- Has performed in many theatrical stage productions of various off-Broadway plays.
- Portrayed legendary rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix in Showtime's 2000 movie, Hendrix.
- First artistic love was drawing and painting.
- Best know for the role of Avon Barksdale on the HBO crime drama The Wire.