Blair Erwin Underwood is an American television, film and stage actor and director possibly best known as headstrong attorney Jonathan Rollins on the TV series "L.A. Law."
Underwood was born August 25, 1964 in Tacoma, Washington, the son of Frank Eugene Underwood, Sr., a United States Army colonel and Marilyn Ann Scales, an interior decorator. Because of his father's military career, he lived on bases and Army Posts in the United States and Stuttgart, Germany, during his childhood. He eventually attended Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Virginia and went on to attend the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an honorary member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
As an actor, he made his film debut, "Krush Groove," later appearing in an episode of "The Cosby Show" which landed him a role in the soap opera "One Life to Live." He later got a starring role in "L. A. Law" which ran from 1987 to 1994. His TV career also features roles in "21 Jump Street," "Knight Rider," "Scarecrow and Mrs. King," "The Facts of Life," "A Different World" and "Sex In The City."
Underwood has also been a member of several charitable organizations. He won the 1993 Humanitarian Award for his work with the Los Angeles chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and in 2003, along with Ashley Judd, he served as the spokesperson for YouthAIDS. He was also involved with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's Blair Underwood Clinic in Washington, DC.
Underwood also appeared in the movies "Just Cause," "Set It Off" and "Gattaca." He gained acclaim as the sexy grade school teacher in the CBS sitcom "The New Adventures of Old Christine" opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus for two years. He went on to appear in "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "In Treatment," for which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2009 Golden Globes. He has also won three NAACP Image Awards and one Grammy Award. He was voted one of People 's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2000 and one of TV Guide 's "Most Influential Faces of the 90s". In 2007, Underwood co-authored the novel Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel with husband-and-wife team Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due.
In 2004, Underwood appeared in a public service announcement for The Fulfillment Fund. He is also a Trustee for the Robey Theatre Company in Los Angeles, a non-profit theatre group founded by Danny Glover, focusing on plays about the Black experience. He also supported Barack Obama's run for President in 2008, speaking for him in campaihn rallies.
In addition to TV and film, Underwood played the lead role of Stanley in the Broadway revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire" in 2012. He starred in a short-lived "Ironsides" reboot in 2013, later appearring as a regular in the series, "Quantico."
Underwood has been married since 1994. He has four children, Paris, Brielle, Blake and Lexi Underwood, with his wife, Desiree DaCosta.