A former dancer, actor Harold Perrineau began his professional acting career in both Broadway and off-Broadway productions, performing in such hit musicals as “Dream Girls,” “Godspell” and “Fame.” He subsequently became popular on television while playing wheelchair-bound prisoner/narrator Augustus Hill (1997-2003) on HBO critically acclaimed one-hour dramatic series "Oz" and as Michael Dawson (2004-2006), a construction worker who had only just reclaimed custody of his young son on ABC’s award-winning adventure drama "Lost." On the big screen, he was best remembered as Mercutio, Romeo’s free spirited friend in Baz Luhrmann's acclaimed adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996), and as Link in the Matrix films (2003).
Next, the 5' 10½" actor will star in the upcoming films Your Name Here, Gardens of the Night, and 28 Weeks Later...
Childhood and Family:
In Brooklyn, New York, Harold Williams was born on August 7, 1968. He studied music and theater at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Winchester, Virginia and received a dance scholarship to the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York. He also studied Kung Fu Wu-Su for five years.
On August 27, 2002, Harold married model/actress Brittany Perrineau and they have one daughter together, Aurora Robinson Perrineau.
Augustus Hill of Oz
A former dancer with the Alvin Ailey Company for a year and a half, Harold Perrineau shifted to acting and began his professional career in both Broadway and off-Broadway productions, performing in such hit musicals as “Dream Girls,” “Godspell” and “Fame,” in which he originated the stage role of Tyrone Jackson, the hip-hop dancer who finds love in Iris, a classically trained ballet dancer. During that time, he also began appearing on TV, guest starring in an episode of NBC long-running sitcom "The Cosby Show" and in two episodes of NBC police procedural and legal drama "Law & Order."
Harold’s first major television break arrived in 1990 when he was cast in a recurring role of Robert Evans (1991-1993) on the NBC series “I’ll Fly Away.” Afterward, he made his feature debut in Wayne Wang and Paul Auster's critically acclaimed independent drama/comedy Smoke (1995), alongside Harvey Keitel and William Hurt. Playing Thomas 'Rashid' Cole, a young man searching for his long-absent father (played by Forest Whitaker), Harold was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male.
The next year, Harold joined Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in Baz Luhrmann's Academy Award-nominated, BAFTA-winning film adaptation of William Shakespeare's famous play, Romeo + Juliet (1996), playing Mercutio, Romeo’s free spirited friend who was stabbed when Romeo attempts to stop his swordfight with Tybalt. He also returned to the small screen to play the regular role of the wheelchair-bound prisoner/narrator Augustus Hill (1997-2003), a former drug dealer and ex-junkie on HBO critically acclaimed one-hour dramatic series "Oz."
During hid “Oz” stint, Harold continued acting in feature film. He reunited with writer-director Paul Auster in his romantic mystery drama film Lulu on the Bridge (1998; with Harvey Keitel and Mira Sorvino) and appeared in Malcolm D. Lee's first film, the romantic comedy/drama The Best Man (1999; starring Taye Diggs and Nia Long). He also played Penelope Cruz’s drag queen best friend in Fina Torres' fantasy romantic comedy film Woman on Top (2000) and played Link in the Wachowski brothers' summer blockbuster The Matrix Reloaded (2003; starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne), a role which he reprised in its sequel, The Matrix Revolutions (also in 2003).
In 2004, Harold returned to series TV when he was cast as Michael Dawson (2004-2006), a construction worker who had only just reclaimed custody of his young son (played by Malcolm David Kelley) when the two are among the 48 plane crash survivors on ABC’s Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning adventure drama created by J.J. Abrams, "Lost."
As for his upcoming projects, Harold will soon wrap writer-director Matthew Wilder's biographical drama Your Name Here (with Bill Pullman and Taryn Manning), Damian Harris' drama Gardens of the Night, and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's sci-fi horror/thriller 28 Weeks Later...
Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, "Lost," 2006