“It is my really sincere desire that we get an opportunity to play long enough for people to really grab on and become fans, because I think it's a great project.” Ron Glass (to the “Firefly” fans)
Veteran TV actor Ron Glass got his first big break in the 1970s and early 1980s when he played the Emmy nominated role of Detective Ron Harris on the ABC popular sitcom "Barney Miller" (1975-1982). He went on to star in the next years' TV series "The New Odd Couple" (as Felix Unger; 1982-1983), "Teen Angel" (as God's cousin Rod; 1997-1998), and most recently "Firefly" (as Shepherd Book; 2002-2003).
Meanwhile, moviegoers could catch the 5' 11" actor in the films "Deep Space" (1988), "Houseguest" (1995), "It's My Party" (1996), "Back in Business" (1997), "Deal of a Lifetime" (1999), "Unbowed" (1999), "Recess: School's Out" (2001; voice), "Serenity" (2005) and "Lakeview Terrace" (2008).
Childhood and Family:
Son of parents Lethia and Crump Glass, Ronald E. Glass was born on July 10, 1945, in Evansville, Indiana. He attended High School at St. Francis Seminary, where he received the nickname "Big G." Ron, who was good at sports when in school, was a member of his high school glee club.
After graduating from high school in 1964, Ron enrolled at the University of Evansville with a double major and received a BA degree in Drama and Literature. He is a member of the Alpha Psi Omega Fraternity Inc. He would later receive a Medal of Honor from the University of Evansville for his career accomplishments.
Ron is a Chairman of the Board at the AL Wooten Jr. Heritage Center. Ron is a Buddhist.
After honing in on his craft at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis and at many regional theaters in the U.S. and Canada, Ron Glass decided to test the waters in Hollywood. In 1972, he made his TV debut in an October episode of the NBC sitcom "Sanford and Son." He would later return to guest star in the show in 1974 playing another role.
In 1973, Glass appeared in his first two TV-movies, the dramatic "Beg, Borrow, or Steal," the basketball comedy "Shirts/Skins," and then the comedic "Change at 125th Street" in 1974. He was also spotted as a guest in such TV shows as CBS’ sitcoms "All in the Family," "The Bob Newhart Show," "Good Times," and "Maude," as well as the dramas "Hawaii Five-O" and "The New Perry Mason." He also appeared in his first film, "The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder" (1974), which was directed by Arthur Hiller and starred Timothy Bottoms and Barbara Hershey.
From 1975 to 1982, Glass became a regular cast member of the ABC Emmy and Golden Globe winning sitcom "Barney Miller," portraying Detective Ron Harris. His performance in the show earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series in 1982.
During his "Barney Miller" stint, Glass starred in several made-for-television movies, including ABC’s "Let's Switch" (1975; with Barbara Eden), the drama based on Al Silverman's book, "Foster and Laurie" (1975; alongside Talia Shire), and the true story based drama "Crash" (1978). He also appeared as a guest on ABC’s sitcom "When Things Were Rotten," ABC’s successful police drama "The Streets of San Francisco," and ABC’s mystery "Hart to Hart."
Following the demise of "Barney Miller," Glass starred as Felix Unger in the short lived ABC sitcom "The New Odd Couple" (1982-1983). Afterward, he narrated the Oscar nominated animated short film "Sound of Sunshine - Sound of Rain" (1983), and acted in the TV movies "Gus Brown and Midnight Brewster" (1985) and "Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star" (1986), starring Raymond Burr. He also guest-starred in the anthology series "The Twilight Zone," the sitcom "Family Matters," and the Golden Globe nominated comedy "227." Additionally, he co-starred in the direct-to-video release "Deep Space" (1988), alongside Charles Napier, Ann Turkel, and Bo Svenson.
Glass had a recurring role as Jason Lockwood on the NBC sitcom "Amen" from 1989 to 1991 and a regular role on the short lived sitcom "Rhythm & Blues" (1992). He was also spotted as a guest in the NBC police procedural drama series "Adam 12," CBS’ popular, long-running television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury, "Murder, She Wrote," CBS’ sitcom "The Royal Family," CBS’ sitcom "Designing Women," and the animated series "Aladdin." He then voiced Randy Carmichael (1992-2004) on Nickelodeon’s Emmy award winning American animated television series "Rugrats."
On the big screen, Glass could be seen in Randall Miller's comedy feature film starring Sinbad and Phil Hartman, "Houseguest" (1995), Randal Kleiser's dramatic film "It's My Party" (1996; starring Eric Roberts and Gregory Harrison ), and Philippe Mora's action thriller film "Back in Business" (1997; starring Brian Bosworth and Joe Torry). He was also cast in Paul Levine's romantic comedy movie "Deal of a Lifetime" (1999; starring Shiri Appleby, Michael A. Goorjian, and Kevin Pollak) and Nanci Rossov's period romantic drama film "Unbowed" (1999). TV viewers could catch him as a regular on the NBC sitcom starring comedian Tom Rhodes, "Mr. Rhodes" (1996), and co-starring in the short-lived ABC sitcom starring Corbin Allred, "Teen Angel" (1997). He also had recurring guest spots on the hit NBC sitcom "Friends" in 1999. Additionally, he appeared in the novel-based TV movie "Incognito" (1999; with Allison Dean, Richard T. Jones, Phil Morris, and Vanessa Williams), and in an episode of "Superman" and "Twice in a Lifetime."
Entering the new millennium, Glass played guest roles in The WB comedy "Jack & Jill," The WB sitcom "Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane," UPN’s sci-fi series "Star Trek: Voyager," CBS’ Emmy nominated sitcom "Yes, Dear," CBS’ "The Education of Max Bickford," and Disney Channel’s animated sitcom "The Proud Family." He also lent his voice to the animated Disney film based on the television series "Recess," "Recess: School's Out" (2001).
2002-2003 saw Glass play Shepherd Book in the Joss Whedon space television series "Firefly." He would later reprise the role in the show's feature-length adaptation, “Serenity” (2005).
About his character on “Firefly,” Glass explained, “Book is a spiritual man who has a past that is - let's just say less than spiritual. He's about encouraging other people to get into their spiritual sides. And at the same time, what's really great about him is that he's forceful, but doesn't beat you up with it. He's a cool guy. He wears different hats at different times. He's got a lot of scope.”
Glass also starred in the 2006 TV movies "Secret History of Religion: Doomsday - Book of Revelation" and "Secret History of Religion: Knights Templar," and had the recurring role of Judge Stewart Fenton (2006-2007) on the CBS legal drama starring James Woods, "Shark." On the big screen, he was recently seen with Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, and Patrick Wilson in Neil LaBute's new thriller film, "Lakeview Terrace."