Impressive lead actor of movies, stage and TV, Danny Glover gained worldwide fame as Sergeant Roger Murtaugh, the partner of hot-blooded Mel Gibson, in the well-liked Lethal Weapon series of movies (1987, 1989, 1992 and 1998), where he netted a 1989 NAACP Award, a 1993 MTV Movie Award, and received another MTV nomination in 1998. African-American Glover was handed a NAACP Image Award for his costarring role, opposite Whoopi Goldberg, in the unsatisfactory Beloved (1998) and received praise as Harry in Charles Burnett’s To Sleep With Anger (1990), in which Glover nabbed an Independent Spirit Award.
One of Hollywood’s most renown and respected leading men, Glover is well-remembered for his roles in such films as Places in the Heart (1984), the thriller Witness (1985), Silverado (1985) and Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple (1985). More recently, he was widely praised for portraying Henry Sherman, the second husband of Anjelica Huston, in Wes Anderson’s triumphant ensemble comedy The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). Recently playing roles in Manderlay (2005), Missing in America (2005) and The Exonerated (2005, TV), Glover will soon be seen in the upcoming Duplicity (2006), The Shaggy Dog (2006), Nujoma: Where Others Wavered (2006) and Dreamgirls (2006). He is also set to lend his voice to the animated Barnyard (2006).
On the small screen, Glover is also well-established as a star with his critically-acclaimed performances in a number of shows like the 1987 biopic “Mandela,” the blockbuster Western “Lonesome Dove” (1989), the CBS miniseries “Queen” (1993), America’s Dream (1996), Buffalo Soldiers (1997) and Freedom Song (2000). Due to his stupendous work, he picked up several awards like three NAACP Image Awards and two Cable ACE Awards, as well as Emmy nominations.
“Leadership has to be focused on some very radical ideas that only we as 21st Century people can talk about: making sure people have a livelihood, making sure people receive a living wage, making sure the environment, the Mother Earth, is embraced and cherished and not destroyed. Making sure people are healthy in what they eat, making sure we hold people and corporations accountable for the damage they do not only to our environment but to our institutions.” Danny Glover
In addition to his screen projects, Glover spends a great deal of his time in activism. The actor was recently seen in Toronto campaigning with hotel employees in a bid to improve wages, give self-respect to thousands of ‘unvalued” workers and ensure that hotel jobs are good jobs. He is also a great advocate for literacy and has spoken to grammar and high school students around the nation about the joys of reading and education. A first Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Development Programme, Glover received the first annual William Kunstler Racial Justice Award for his work on a variety of social issues and was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Amnesty International. He also received an Essence Award.
Danny the Researcher
Childhood and Family:
In San Francisco, California, Danny Lebern Glover was born on July 22, 1947. His father is James Glover, a postal worker and union organizer who was active in NAACP, and his mother is Carrie Glover, a 1942 graduate of small college in Augusts, Georgia. Danny also has four younger siblings, one of whom is Martin Glover.
Danny was dyslexic as a child, but overcame the problem. He was educated and graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in economics. Upon graduation, Danny took several jobs, including working for a planning agency in Berkeley, California, as a researcher for the Mayor’s office in San Francisco (1971) and was an evaluator for the San Francisco Model Cities program. In the mid 1970s, he left the jobs to study at the Black Actors’ Workshop American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. After being involved in some theater work, he headed to Hollywood to give acting a try.
In 1975, Danny married Asake Bomani, an art gallery owner whom he met while they were students at what is now San Francisco State University. The couple become the parents of a daughter named Mandisa Glover (born in 1976), a film producer assistant. Danny had to deal with separation, however, when his wife filed for divorce.
The Color Purple
A former researcher for the Mayor’s office in San Francisco, Danny Glover began to take a notice of acting in his late twenties. After completing his acting studies at the Black Actors’ Workshop American Conservatory Theatre, Glove managed to get a few roles in local theater and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career. A relative late-comer to acting, 32-year-old Glover first appeared in the film Escape from Alcatraz (1979), and it was followed by the forgettable Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981), Out (1982) and Iceman (1984). He also had several TV projects like “Palmerstown, U.S.A.”(1980), Keeping On (1981), The Face of Rage (1983, “Chiefs” (1983) and Memorial Day (1983). While waiting for an onscreen breakthrough, Glover enjoyed successes on stage. He debuted on off-Broadway with Athol Fugard’s “The Blood Knot” (1980), and subsequently made his Broadway debut in Fugard’s “’Master Harold... and the boys” two years later. His fine performances in the Fugard plays won Glover praise. Moreover, his role in the latter handed him a 1982 Theater World Award.
Glover’s Broadway role caught the attentions of director Robert Benton who soon handed the actor a role in his drama film Places in the Heart (1984). Portraying the sympathetic character of Moze, a sweet-tempered cotton grower who associates himself with Sally Field’s character, Glover began to make an impression on audiences. His raising status was further established in the following year when Glover signed to play roles in three high-profile movies. He was first cast in the supporting role of the crooked detective who commits a murder seen by Lukas Haas in the thriller Witness (1985, directed by Peter Weir), before being seen as cowboy Malachi ‘Mal’ Johnson in Lawrence Kasdan’s Western Silverado (1985, starring Kevin Klein and Scott Glenn). Glover next starred as Whoopi Goldberg’s wicked husband Mister in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple (1985). By the year 1987, Glover had made a reputation for himself as an international leading man and action star as he began collaborating with costar Mel Gibson and director Richard Donner for the action flick Lethal Weapon (1987, played Sergeant Roger Murtaugh).
The same year, Glover also began making a name for himself on the small screen when he successfully played the title role of Nelson Mandela in the HBO biopic Mandela (1987), opposite Alfre Woodard as Winnie Mandela. His bright performance in the TV movie netted a NAACP Image, and a Cable ACE for Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries. In 1989, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Emmys for his good portrayal of Joshua Deets in the made-for-TV blockbuster Western “Lonesome Dove,” starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.
After Dead Man Out (1989, TV), Glover reprised his film role of Sergeant Roger Murtaugh and rejoined Gibson and Donner for the second outing Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). Not only did the film catapult his name, but it also won him a 1989 NAACP. Glover made his debut as an executive producer with Charles Burnett’s To Sleep with Anger (1990), wherein he was also seen as Harry. His bright acting again received notice as he took home an Independent Spirit for Best Actor.
The following years, he offered a memorable cameo as an eccentric uptown numbers runner in A Rage in Harlem (1991), rejoined Alfre Woodard in Lawrence Kasdan’s Grand Canyon (1991), was back to the popular Lethal Weapon franchise for Lethal Weapon 3 (1992, won a MTV movie for Best On-Screen Duo with Gibson), adopted his South African accent for Bopha (1993, again with Alfre Woodard), played baseball manager George Knox in Angels in the Outfield (1994), was a Green Beret in Operation Dumbo Drop (1995), teamed with Lethal Weapon 2 costar Joe Pesci in the lackluster comedy Gone Fishin’ (1997), worked with Dennis Quaid in the action thriller SwitchBack (1997) and had an unaccredited part in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rainmaker (1997), a movie based on the John Grisham bestselling novel. In 1998, Glover earned a nomination at the MTV Movie Awards for Best Action Sequence (with Gibson) when he reprised his signature role of Roger Murtaugh for Lethal Weapon 4. He also provided his voice for the animated films Antz (1998) and The Prince of Egypt (1998). He then costarred with Oprah Winfrey in the highly anticipated, but disappointing Beloved (1998), where Glover picked up a NAACP Image for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture.
During his busy schedule on movie projects in the 1990s, Glover also had outstanding body of works on the small screen. In 1993, he starred as Alec Haley in the CBS miniseries “Queen,” which won him a 1995 NAACP Image for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Television Movie or Mini-Series. In the mid 1990s, Glover produced and starred in the made for-TV-movie America’s Dream (1996), a trilogy of stories about African Americans. As a producer, Glover nabbed a Cable ACE for Best Dramatic or Theatrical Special. Glover had another success on his hands when he acted and executive produced the superior TV film Buffalo Soldiers (1997).
Glover continued his victory in the new millennium when he played the lead of Will Walker, opposite Vicellous Reon Shannon and Vondie Curtis-Hall, in the made-for-television film Freedom Song (2000), which explored issues of race and oppression. Delivering a brilliant turn as a traditional father troubled by his son’s connection to a reconciliation group in 1961, Glover was handed a NAACP Image for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special, as well as received nominations at the Emmys and Screen Actors Guild.
After the Toronto International Film Festival-film Bàttu (2000), where he appeared as a corrupt African president, Glover played the title character, opposite Angela Bassett, in the movie adaptation of Fugard’s play, Boesman & Lena (2000). The film was screened at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. Next, he starred in a Showtime crime drama produced by Spike Lee titled 3 A.M. (2001) and then gave one of his charming performances as the second husband of Anjelica Huston, Henry Sherman, in Wes Anderson’s successful ensemble comedy The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). Glover reemerged on TV in 2003 when he costarred with Whoopi Goldberg for the less triumphant film Good Fences (2003) and starred in the title role in “The Henry Lee Project” (2003). Glover went back to the big screen as a detective in director James Wan horror Saw (2004) and as a judge in the Queen Latifah-produced urban comedy The Cookout (2004).
Recently, the 58-year-old actor played Wilhelm in writer/director Lars von Trier's drama Manderlay (2005), starred with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton in the Gabrielle Savage Dockterman-directed Missing in America (2005) and played David in the made for TV movie The Exonerated (2005). In 2006, Glover can add Robert Foreman’s Duplicity (2006), The Shaggy Dog (2006), Nujoma: Where Others Wavered (2006), the animated Barnyard (2006) and the musical film Dreamgirls (2006) to his impressive resume.
Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival: Lifetime Achievement, 2003
Jamerican International Film Festival: Lifetime Achievement, 2002
NAACP Image: Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special, Freedom Songs, 2001
NAACP Image: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture, Beloved, 1999
Cable ACE: Best Dramatic or Theatrical Special, America’s Dream: Long Black Song, shared award (Glover was co-executive producer), 1996
NAACP Image: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Television Movie or Mini-Series, Queen, 1995
Women in Film Crystal: Humanitarian Award, 1994
MTV Movie: Best On-Screen Duo, Lethal Weapon 3, shared with Mel Gibson, 1993
Independent Spirit: Best Actor, To Sleep with Anger, 1990
NAACP Image: Lethal Weapon 2, 1989
Cable ACE: Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries, Mandela, 1987
NAACP Image: Mandela, 1986
Theatre World: “Master Harold...and the Boys,” 1982