In Good Hands
American actor Dennis Haysbert is well known for his Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of David Palmer in the Kiefer Sutherland-starring series “24” (2001-2006). Also, he was applauded after giving first class performances in the series “Now and Again” (1999, as Dr. Theodore Morris) and the drama Far from Heaven (2002, played gardener Raymond Deagan).
Apart from acting, Haysbert is the official spokesman for Allstate Insurance and made famous the company’s slogan: “Are you in good hands?” In August 2005, he became the Grand Marshal of the “Allstate 400 at the Brickyard” auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The actor is also the voice behind the commercials for the Military Channel.
As a humanitarian, Haysbert is an activist for the fight against AIDS. He was the spokesperson for the 2000 Harlem Health Expo “Break the Silence” and is now the spokesperson for the National Leadership Commission on AIDS, as well as The Western Center on Law and Poverty. Haysbert has been married twice and is a divorced father of two children.
Say No to Sports
Childhood and Family:
A native San Mateo, California, Dennis Dexter Haysbert was born on June 2, 1954. Dennis attended San Mateo High School and instead of accepting sports scholarships offered to him, he studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Later, he made his earliest appearances in some TV classics.
Dennis had been married (divorced in 1984) before having a relationship with Lynn Griffith, whom he married in 1989. His second marriage also ended in divorce. Dennis and Lynn share two children: Charles and Katharine.
Far from Heaven
After appearing as a basketball player in the sport drama “The White Shadow” (1979), Dennis Haysbert could be seen with his episodic performances in the classic shows “Laverne & Shirley” (1979), “The Incredible Hulk” (1980), “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” (5 episodes, 1980-1981) and “The A-Team” (1983). In 1984, Haysbert took the supporting role of Dr. Beaumont in the medical TV film The Return of Marcus Welby, M.D. The performance was then followed by guest roles in such series as “Growing Pains” (3 episodes, 1985-1988), “Magnum, P.I.” (1985), “The Fall Guy” (1986), “Valerie” (1987), “Crime Story” (2 episodes, 1988) and “Night Court” (1989).
Taking part in various genres, Haysbert was cast as Chief Billy Graham in the action movie Navy Seals (1990), played Nick Sanrio in the cop thriller K-9000 (1991, TV), acted with Tom Selleck in the comedy Mr. Baseball (1992) and portrayed Cherokee Jack Jackson in the western miniseries “Return to Lonesome Dove” (1993). He also shared the screen with Charlie Sheen in Major League II (1994), appeared as Kenneth Dawkins in Whitney Houston’s vehicle Waiting to Exhale (1995), starred in the little-seen Insomnia (1996), played Tim Collin in the presidential film Absolute Power (1997) and voiced Barlkey James in an episode of “The New Batman Adventures” (1998).
Haysbert received attention for his performance as Dr. Theodore Morris in the series “Now and Again” (1999), which brought him a Saturn award and a Golden Satellite award nomination. Following the comedy drama What’s Cooking (2000), the actor received even wider recognition after accepting the role of Senator (later President) David Palmer in the acclaimed series “24” (2001-2006), starring Kiefer Sutherland. For his fine acting in the now-airing show, Haysbert was nominated for a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild awards, three Image awards and a Golden Satellite award.
Haysbert also delivered a beautiful portrayal of Raymond Deagan, a gardener having an affair with his employer, in the drama Far from Heaven (2002). Soon after, he was handed a Washington DC Area Film Critics Association award, a Black Reel award and a Golden Satellite award for Best Supporting Actor. Later, the actor’s voice could be heard in such projects as the cartoon Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003), the video game Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (2004, voiced Irving Lambert), an episode of “Stories of the Innocence Project” (2005, as the narrator) and the video game 24: The Game (2006).
Haysbert is currently filming the series “The Unit” (began in 2006), where he stars as Jonas ‘Snake Doctor’ Blane. He will also be seen as Dan Plesac in the upcoming ensemble thriller Breach (2007) and is set to portray Nelson Mandela in the adaptation of the book by Bob Graham and James Gregory, Goodbye Bafana (2007).