A stage-trained British actor who got his start as a dancer, Eamonn Walker is popular among American audience as imprisoned Muslim leader Kareem Said on the HBO television series “Oz” (1997-2003), in which he was handed a CableACE Award and a Golden Satellite nomination. Before gaining his American breakthrough, he amazed British public with his performances in the sitcom “In Sickness and in Health” (1985-1987), the crime series “The Bill” (1988), and movies Young Soul Rebels (1991) and Shopping (1994).
Thanks to his successful TV role, Walker has since gone on to star in many films like Homicide: The Movie (2000, TV), Laurence Fishburne’s Once in the Life (2000), Othello (2001, TV), Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story (2002, TV), Bruce Willis’ vehicle Tears of the Sun (2003), Duma (2005) and Nicolas Cage’s action Lord of War (2005). He also appeared in three episodes of “ER” (2006) and currently stars in Fox’s legal drama “Justice” (2006-?), playing Luther Graves.
The award-winning actor will star in the upcoming crime movie Clubbed, which for 2007 release.
Childhood and Family:
In London, England, Eamonn Walker was born on January 1, 1970 to Grenadian parents. He stepped into the entertainment business as a dancer with the Explosive Dance Theatre Company, but a leg operation forced him to quit. He then turned his attention to acting.
Starting out as a dancer with the Explosive Dance Theatre Company, Eamonn Walker had to discard his promising career following a leg operation. As a result, he made a switch to acting and in 1983, landed his first job as an East End London punk in the musical “Labelled With Love,” a British stage production based on the seminal Squeeze album East Side Story. Two years later, Walker came to the attention of British public with his role as Winston, the gay, black prickle in Alf Garnett’s side, in the BBC sitcom “In Sickness and in Health,” a role he played until 1987. A string of guest spots followed before he took on a recurring role on the long-running crime/drama series “The Bill” in 1988, playing P.C. Haynes. It was not until 1991, however, that Walker finally made his movie bow in the 1977-set British drama Young Soul Rebels.
Following appearances in episodes of the long running BBC detective drama “Bergerac” (1991), “Love Hurts” (1992), “Birds of a Feather” (1993) and “One Foot in the Grave” (1993), Walker had his sophomore effort in the Paul W.S. Anderson-directed fast-moving drama Shopping (1994), starring Sadie Frost and Jude Law as a couple of criminals who hurtle stolen cars into shop windows for excitement. He revisited series TV the next year by portraying crook Snoopy Oswald on “The Governor,” an ITV penitentiary show helmed and produced by Lynda LaPlante and starring Janet McTeer. He again worked with LaPlante in ITV’s police drama Supply & Demand (1997), in which he was cast in the starring role of a veteran investigator who goes undercover in the drug trade.
Walker’s big breakthrough arrived when he won the role of enslaved American Muslim leader Kareem Said on the courageous HBO prison series “OZ,” a gig that brought the British player to America. During his tenure in the show (from 1997 to 2003), he created a totally realized character who demonstrated his human infirmities and spiritual genuineness even while engaging in self-satisfied grandstanding. For his brilliant efforts, Walker picked up a 1997 CableACE for Actor in a Dramatic Series, as well as earned a Golden Satellite nomination in 2000 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Drama.
Between the third and fourth season of “OZ,” Walker rejoined with “OZ” producer Tom Fontana for the TV-movie reunion of Fontana’s applauded NBC series, Homicide: The Movie (2000), where the actor impressively played a news cameraman named Eric Thomas James. Later that same year, he portrayed Tony in Once in the Life, a drug-theme drama film produced, penned and directed by as well as starring Laurence Fishburne. Walker starred as John Othello on a revisionist British TV adaptation, Othello (2001), which won a Banff Rockie for Best Made-For-TV Movie at the 2002 Banff Television Festival. He continued to star with Courtney B. Vance in the made-for-TV film Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story (2002), which received an Image nod for Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special, and was featured along side Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci and Cole Hauser in the action/drama film Tears of the Sun (2003).
Two years after “Oz” departed airwaves, Walker could be seen in films Hate (2005, TV), Carroll Ballard’s adventure Duma (2005) and the Nicolas Cage vehicle Lord of War (2005, as Andre Baptiste). He returned to series TV in 2006, with a recurring role in the popular medical drama “ER” (2006), as Dr. Steven Dakarai. He now plays Luther Graves on the Fox legal drama “Justice” (2006-?), opposite Victor Garber, Kerr Smith and Rebecca Mader.
The 36-year-old actor is scheduled to star in the crime film Clubbed (2007), directed by Neil Thompson and written by Geoff Thompson. Among his costars in the forthcoming venture are Ronnie Fox, Shaun Parkes and Maxine Peake.
- CableACE: Actor in a Dramatic Series, “OZ,” 1997