Dorian Harewood is a name you might not recognise but if you do not recognise his face then you will definitely recognise his voice. With a packed CV of forty plus years in entertainment the man has worked with nearly everyone across every genre. He is as hard working as he is versatile and with a body of work like his he has probably impacted upon you without you even realising! Born on August 6th 1950 in Dayton, Ohio, USA as Willie Dorian Harewood; he was the son of Emerson Macaulay and Estelle Harewood. Harewood grew up with two brothers and three sisters. As he grew up he attended the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati where he graduated in 1972.
Harewood made his Broadway debut with the legendary actress Arlene Francis, in what was to be her final stage appearance: Don’t Call Back. Unfortunately, it closed on its first performance after previews.
In 1974 he appeared opposite Bette Davis in a stage musical version of The Corn is Green, with the locale switched to the American South from Wales in the original. Although bound for Broadway the show closed in Philadelphia when Davis had to drop out, reportedly due to back problems. Harewood has credited Davis with encouraging him to pursue a career in acting.
In 1975, Harewood made his TV debut as Jama is two episodes of Island of Adventure. He followed this up with roles in Sparkle and Foster and Laurie. Then in 1977 he played the role of Jake Riley in the Kojak episode The Condemned brought Harewood to a mainstream audience. This led to more success in Panic in Echo Park, Columbo, and Family.
In 1979, Harewood attracted national attention for his portrayal of Simon Haley (father of author Alex Haley) in Roots: The Next Generations. The led to roles in High Ice, An American Christmas Carol, Looker, Beulah Land, and The Ambush Murders.
In 1981, Harewood portrayed Sergeant Paul Strobber in the television series Strike Force. In the series Captain Frank Murphy (Robert Stack) is in charge of a division that only handles the most difficult cases of the Los Angeles police department. Murphy assembles a diverse team to take on the craftiest criminals with Strobber as his Sergeant.
In 1983 the role of Dr. Nate ‘Skate’ Baylor in Trauma Centre provided Harewood with another series regular role unfortunately the show only ran for one season of thirteen episodes. Harewood though bounced back with roles in Against All Odds and Tank. Then in 1984 Harewood received critical acclaim for his role as Jesse Owens in The Jesse Owens Story.
Roles in The Falcon and the Snowman, Dirty Work and Hotel followed before bagging another series regular role in Glitter as Earl Tobin alongside Melinda Culea. Other roles in the mid-eighties including Murder She Wrote, Greatest Adventure Stories from the Bible, Guilty of Innocence: The Lenell Geter Story, and Amerika. He also provided additional voices to the 1986 Jonny Quest cartoon series.
In 1987 came Full Metal Jacket where Harewood as Eightball he was a member of the Lusthog Squad, insensitive about his ethnicity he declares they have “put a nigga behind the trigger”. Eightball suffers a tragic ending when a sniper shoots him repeatedly in attempt to lure the Lusthog Squad into the open. They watch on helpless as the incident occurs.
More roles (including voice roles) including Sky Commanders, The Hope Division, Beauty and the Beast, A Pup named Scooby-Doo, Matlock, The Easter Story, Kiss Shot, The California Raisin Show, Fantastic Max, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, China Beach, Raisins Sold Out: The California Raisins II, Sugar and Spice, Solar Crisis, Kid ‘n’ Play, Pacific Heights, Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone, New Kids on the Block, Zazoo U, The Pirates of Dark Water, ProStars, and Darkwing Duck, followed for Harewood.
In 1994, Harewood was awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, Mini-Series or Television Movie, for his recurring role as jazz/blues saxophonist Clarence “Cool Papa” Charleston I’ll Fly Away.
As the 1990’s rolled on Harewood remained as busy as ever with roles in Batman: the Animated Series, Goof Troop, Time Trax, The Legend of Prince Valiant, Animaniacs, Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa, Bonkers, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, Shattered Image, and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
In 1994 Harewood starred as Julian Wilkes in the TV series Viper; where in the near future, an organized crime group known as the “Outfit” has become a major force in America. Engineer Julian Wilkes develops a high-tech crime-fighting vehicle called the Viper, which is intended to be a “flagship” in a new crackdown on crime. The Viper needs a driver, so when Outfit driver Michael Payton (James McCaffrey) is injured and captured, his memory is erased, and he is given a new identity as Joe Astor, MetroPol employee. The Outfit discredits the Viper project, but when it is cancelled, Joe and Julian steal the Viper and strike out on their own private war against crime.
Harewood soon became even busier than before with roles in The Page Master, Mighty Max, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, Sudden Death, Capitol Critters, What A Mess, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Iron Man, Gargoyles, Biker Mice From Mars, Superman: the Last Son of Krypton, The Incredible Hulk, Space Jam, Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles, The Tick, Spider-man, Quack Pack, Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm, Wing Commander Academy, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Freakazoid!, Superman, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The New Batman Adventures, the revival of Viper, Godzilla: The Series, Batman of the Future, and The Hoop Life.
As the new millennium arrived it was safe to say that Harewood showed no signs of slowing down with his work rate. He opened with Hendrix, and continued through it with roles in Earth: Final Conflict, Framed, Stargate SG:1, 7th Heaven, Astro Boy, Boom Town, and Static Shock.
Video games also became part of the portfolio in 2004 when Harewood took on the role of The Spirit of Onimusha in Onimusha 3: Demon Siege this led a long history of video game voice work in ShellShock: Nam ’67, X-Men Legends, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, Lost Planet: Colonies, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, and Heroes of the Storm.
This did not mean that film and tv had escaped Harewood. He still racked up roles in The Right Girl, Handy Manny, Outlaw, The Spectacular Spider-Man, House of Payne, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The Batman, The Land Before Time, Legion of Super-Heroes, Biker Mice From Mars, Sleeper Cell, Kyle XY, W.I.T.C.H., Little House on the Prairie, and the 2005 remake of Assault on Precinct 13.