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Clarke Peters

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Clarke Peters
Peters in Edinburgh in August 2010
Peter Clarke

(1952-04-07) April 7, 1952 (age 72)
  • Actor
  • writer
  • director
Years active1970s–present
  • Janine Martyne
  • Penny Ephson
Children5, including Joe Jacobs

Peter Clarke (born April 7, 1952), known professionally as Clarke Peters, is an American actor, writer, and director, who has spent much of his adult life in the United Kingdom.[1] He is best known for his roles as Lester Freamon in the television series The Wire (2002–2008) and Albert Lambreaux in the television series Treme (2010–2013).

Peters is also known for his roles in the films Silver Dream Racer (1980), Endgame (2009), John Wick (2014), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), Harriet (2019), and Da 5 Bloods (2020), the lattermost of which earned him a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Early life[edit]

Peters was born Peter Clarke, the second of four sons, in New York City, and grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. At the age of 12, he had his first theater experience, in a school production of My Fair Lady. He began to have serious ambitions to work in the theater at the age of 14.[2] He graduated from Dwight Morrow High School in 1970.[3][4]


In 1971, Peters' older brother enabled him to work as a costume designer for a production of the musical Hair in Paris, in which Peters later starred.[2] In 1973, Peters moved to London[2] and changed his name to Clarke Peters, because Equity already had a few namesake members.[1] While in London, he formed a soul band, The Majestics, and worked as a backup singer on such hits as "Love and Affection" by Joan Armatrading, "Boogie Nights" by Heatwave, and some David Essex songs. However, music was not Peters' main ambition, and he preferred to work in the theater.[2]

His first West End theatre musical roles, which he received with assistance from his friend Ned Sherrin, were I Gotta Shoe (1976) and Bubbling Brown Sugar (1977).[2] Other West End credits include Blues in the Night, Porgy and Bess, The Witches of Eastwick, Guys and Dolls, Chicago, and Chess. Peters starred in the Sean Connery space Western Outland (1981) as the treacherous Sgt. Ballard, and he played an almost wordless role as Anderson, a vicious pimp in Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa (1986).

After writing several revues with Sherrin, in 1990 Peters wrote the revue Five Guys Named Moe, which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical. He followed this up with Unforgettable, a musical about Nat King Cole, which received scathing reviews.[1] He also starred in the 2010 UK production of Five Guys Named Moe.[1]

As a stage actor, Peters has also appeared on Broadway. His performance in The Iceman Cometh (1999) won him the Theatre World Award, and he portrayed the shady lawyer Billy Flynn in the revival of Chicago in 2000 and 2003. In regional theatre he has appeared in Driving Miss Daisy, The Wiz, Bubbling Brown Sugar, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Carmen Jones, and The Amen Corner. In September 2011, Peters appeared on stage in a Sheffield Crucible Theatre production of Shakespeare's Othello, playing the title role opposite his Wire co-star Dominic West, who played Iago.[5] In the 2014 New York Shakespeare in the Park festival, he played Gloucester in King Lear.[6]

Peters is familiar to television viewers as Detective Lester Freamon in the HBO series The Wire. Peters also starred in the HBO mini-series The Corner, portraying a drug addict named Fat Curt, as well as the FX series Damages, as Dave Pell. Both The Wire and The Corner were created by writer and former The Baltimore Sun journalist David Simon. Peters also stars in Simon's HBO series Treme, in the role of Mardi Gras Indian chief Albert Lambreaux.[7] Peters appeared in two episodes of the U.S. time-travel/detective TV series Life On Mars (2008) as NYPD Captain Fletcher Bellow.[8]

He also appeared in the UK show Holby City, as Derek Newman, the father of nurse Donna Jackson. He voiced a part in the Doctor Who animated episode Dreamland, and in the In Plain Sight episode "Duplicate Bridge" as a man in Witness Protection named Norman Baker/Norman Danzer. In 2010, Peters read Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption for BBC 7.[9] In that year, he also had a guest appearance as Professor Mark Ramsay in the pilot episode of the USA Network TV series Covert Affairs.[10] From 2012 to 2013, Peters had a recurring role as Alonzo D. Quinn in the CBS TV series Person of Interest.

Peters' movie credits include Mona Lisa (1986), Notting Hill (1999), K-PAX (2001), Freedomland (2006), Marley & Me (2008), Endgame (2009; in which he played Nelson Mandela), Nativity! (2009), the Spike Lee film Red Hook Summer (2012; in which he played Bishop Enoch), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).

Peters played Easy Rawlins in a 1997 BBC Radio 4 dramatization of Walter Mosley's Black Betty.[11] He also narrated the BBC radio series Black Music in Europe: A Hidden History,[12] as well as the audiobook version of Michael Chabon's novel Telegraph Avenue, released in September 2012 by HarperAudio.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Peters was politicized by the Vietnam War. Shortly before he left for Paris, he was arrested for obstructing police lines after an anti-Vietnam War demonstration, but was cleared. He later said of this experience: "It made me more angry than anything else, because what I experienced was how impotent you could be as an American citizen."[1] While in Paris, Peters received a letter from the FBI accusing him of draft evasion. He contested the charge, stating: "If the enemy comes to America, I'll be there, but I don't know the Vietnamese. If you put me in the army, I'm not going there."[1]

Peters has had five children from three relationships. He and his first wife, Janine Martyne, who sang with him on recordings, had two children: a daughter, China Clarke, an architect, and a son, Peter Clarke, a tattoo artist. A subsequent relationship with Joanna Jacobs produced two sons: Joe Jacobs, an actor,[2] and Guppy, who died of a kidney tumor in 1992, at the age of four.[1][14] He has a son, Max, with his second wife, Penny Ephson;[15] Max played the young Michael Jackson in the West End production of the musical Thriller – Live.[2]

As of 2012, Peters split his time between a house in the Charles Village section of Baltimore, which he bought in 2006 while working on The Wire, and one in London, where Penny and Max live.[16][17][18]

He is a follower of the Brahma Kumaris.[19]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 The Music Machine Laurie
1980 Silver Dream Racer Cider Jones
1981 Outland Sgt. Ballard
1986 Mona Lisa Anderson
1996 Seasick Radio Reporter Pounds
1999 Notting Hill Helix Lead Actor
2001 K-Pax Homeless Veteran
2003 Head of State Fundraiser Demo-Tape Man
2006 Freedomland Reverend Longway
2008 The Poker House Maurice
Gigantic Roger Stovall
Turnipseed A.B. Turnipseed
Marley & Me Editor
2009 Endgame Nelson Mandela
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men Subject #31
Nativity! Studio Boss
2010 Locked In Frank
2011 Searching for Sonny Narrator
2012 Red Hook Summer Da Good Bishop Enoch Rouse
2014 John Wick Harry
The Best of Me Morgan Dupree
2015 The Benefactor Dr. Romano
The Bad Education Movie Commander Andrews
2017 Division 19 Perelman
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Police Chief Abercrombie
2018 An Acceptable Loss Phillip Lamm
2019 Harriet Ben Ross
The Mandela Effect Dr. Fuchs
2020 Come Away Mad Hatter
Da 5 Bloods Otis
2022 Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody John Houston
TBA Bonhoeffer TBA


Year Title Role Notes
1980–1984 Play for Today Yankee Billy / Stevie 2 episodes
1983 The Professionals President Ojuka Episode: "The Ojuka Situation"
Saigon: Year of the Cat Soldier TV movie
1985 Travelling Man Alan Downing Episode: "A Token Attempt"
1989 Red King, White Knight Jones TV movie
Frederick Forsyth Presents: A Casualty of War Grover T. Fleming TV movie
1991 El C.I.D. Sultan Episode: "Christmas Spirit"
1992 A Masculine Ending Theo Sykes TV movie
1993 Death Train C.W. Whitlock TV movie
Between the Lines Mr. Banthorpe Episode: "Jumping the Lights"
1994 Murder Most Horrid American Episode: "Mangez Merveillac"
1995 Chandler & Co Jasper Episode: "The American Dream"
1996 French and Saunders Lt. Johnny Cochrane Episode: "The Quick and the Dead"
1998 Jonathan Creek Hewie Harper 2 episodes
2000 The Corner Fat Curt Miniseries; 6 episodes
Oz Afsana Episode: "The Bill of Wrongs"
2002 Night and Day Gabriel Huysman 3 episodes
2002–2008 The Wire Det. Lester Freamon Main cast; 55 episodes
2003 Waking the Dead Howard Boorstin 2 episodes: "Multistorey"
2003, 2016 American Masters Narrator 2 episodes: "James Brown: Soul Survivor";
"Fats Domino and The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll"[20]
2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury Rex da Silva Episode: "Pattern of Conduct"
2007 Meadowlands Professor / Samantha's Father Episode #1.6
2008 Life on Mars Captain Bellow 2 episodes
2009 Damages Dave Pell 8 episodes
In Plain Sight Norman Baker / Norman Danzer Episode: "Duplicate Bridge"
Great Performances Walter de Courcy Episode: "Chess in Concert"
Holby City Derek Newman 5 episodes
Dreamland Night Eagle (voice) 4 episodes
2010 Covert Affairs Dr. Mark Ramsay Episode: "Pilot"
2010–2013 Treme Albert Lambreaux Main cast; 35 episodes
2011 Archer Popeye (voice) 2 episodes
Memphis Beat Fred Episode: "The Feud"
2012–2013 Person of Interest Alonzo Quinn 11 episodes
2013 Blue Bloods Nathan Anderson Episode: "Quid Pro Quo"
2014 True Detective Minister Episode: "The Long Bright Dark"
Death in Paradise Marlon Croft Episode: "Political Suicide"
The Divide Isaiah Page 8 episodes
2015 Forever Jerry Charters Episode: "The Wolves of Deep Brooklyn"
Midsomer Murders Frank Wainwright Episode: "The Ballad of Midsomer County"
Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime Julius Hersheimmer 3 episodes
Show Me a Hero Robert Mayhawk 2 episodes
London Spy The American Episode: "Strangers"
Jessica Jones Det. Oscar Clemons 4 episodes
2016 Jericho Ralph Coates 8 episodes
Underground Jay 3 episodes
The Tunnel Sonny Persaud 4 episodes
People of Earth Ronald Episode: "Lost and Found"
2016–2017 Chance Carl Allan 9 episodes
2017 The Blacklist: Redemption Richard Whitehall 2 episodes
The Deuce Melvin "Ace" Episode: "My Name Is Ruby"
2018 Bulletproof Director-General Ronald Pike Sr 6 episodes
Love Is Present-day Yasir 10 episodes
2019 His Dark Materials The Master of Jordan College 3 episodes (series 1)
Christmas Under the Stars Clem Television film (Hallmark)
2020 Bumps Charles Television pilot
2021 The Irregulars The Linen Man 7 episodes
Foundation Abbas 6 episodes
La Fortuna Jonas Pierce 6 episodes
2022 The Man Who Fell to Earth Josiah Falls Main role
2024 Truelove Ken Miniseries, 6 episodes [21]
Testament: The Story of Moses Voice of God Miniseries, 3 episodes
Eric George Miniseries[22]
TBA Towards Zero Filming[23]

Podcast series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2022 Marvel's Wastelanders: Wolverine Charles Xavier / Professor X [24]
Marvel's Wastelanders Charles Xavier / Professor X
2023 The Mantawauk Caves Detective Solomon Smith

Awards and nominations[edit]

Association Year Category Work Result Ref.
AARP Movies for Grownups Awards 2021 Best Supporting Actor Da 5 Bloods Nominated [25]
Best Ensemble Nominated
Awards Circuit Community Awards 2017 Best Cast Ensemble Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Nominated [26]
British Academy Film Awards 2021 Best Actor in a Supporting Role Da 5 Bloods Nominated [27]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 2018 Best Acting Ensemble Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Won [28]
2021 Da 5 Bloods Nominated [29]
Detroit Film Critics Society 2017 Best Ensemble Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Nominated [30]
Georgia Film Critics Association 2018 Best Ensemble Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Won [31]
Indiana Film Journalists Association 2021 Best Ensemble Acting Da 5 Bloods Nominated [32]
Music City Film Critics Association 2021 Best Ensemble Acting Da 5 Bloods Nominated [33]
NAACP Image Awards 2013 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Treme Nominated [34]
2020 Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture Harriet Nominated [35]
2021 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture Da 5 Bloods Nominated [36]
Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
National Board of Review 2021 Best Ensemble Da 5 Bloods Won [37]
Online Film Critics Society 2017 Best Ensemble Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Won [38]
San Diego Film Critics Society 2017 Best Ensemble Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Nominated [39]
Screen Actors Guild Awards 2021 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Da 5 Bloods Nominated [29]
Seattle Film Critics Society 2017 Best Ensemble Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Nominated [40]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association 2017 Best Ensemble Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Won [41]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Hattenstone, Simon (August 8, 2010). "Clarke Peters: Razzle dazzler". The Guardian. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hall, Julian (April 30, 2009). "Clarke Peters: From The Wire to Nelson Mandela". The Independent. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Apter, Kelly (August 3, 2010). "The Wire's Clarke Peters in Fringe run of Five Guys Named Moe". The List. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  4. ^ "Clarke Peters CV... 1970: Graduates from Dwight Morrow High School in New Jersey."
  5. ^ Anthony, Andrew (September 4, 2011). "Dominic West and Clarke Peters: 'We love each other's company'". The Guardian. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  6. ^ Soloski, Alexis (August 7, 2014). "King Lear in the Park review: John Lithgow is not quite every inch the king". The Guardian. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  7. ^ Walker, Dave (June 5, 2011). "For local 'Treme' viewers, Clarke Peters brings Big Chief Albert Lambreaux to life". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved January 7, 2012.
  8. ^ "Life on Mars (TV Series 2008–2009) – Full Cast & Crew". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  9. ^ "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption", BBC Media Centre.
  10. ^ Clarke Peters at IMDb. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  11. ^ "Black Betty: A BBC Radio Full-Cast Crime Drama". BBC Radio 4. March 3, 1997. Retrieved February 23, 2024.
  12. ^ "Black Music in Europe: A Hidden History". BBC Radio 4.
  13. ^ "Audiobook Reviews: Telegraph Avenue". Audiofile. September 15, 2012.
  14. ^ Rich, Frank (April 9, 1992). "From London, a Celebration Of Louis Jordan and His Music". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  15. ^ "Freedomland World Premiere - Outside Arrivals". Getty Images. February 13, 2006. Retrieved December 31, 2023.
  16. ^ "The Wire podcasts: Clarke Peters". The Mark Steiner Show. March 7, 2008. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  17. ^ Egner, Jeremy (July 27, 2012). "Clarke Peters in 'Red Hook Summer,' Directed by Spike Lee". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  18. ^ Lewis, John (November 2012). "Academy Reward". Baltimore. Archived from the original on December 6, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  19. ^ "Did Jesus study yoga in the East? Me and My God, Clarke Peters talks to John Morrish". The Sunday Telegraph. April 20, 1997. He encountered the Brahma Kumaris a couple of years later ... found what [he] was looking for.[dead link]
  20. ^ "Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll ~ About the Film | American Masters | PBS". PBS. January 8, 2016.
  21. ^ Goldbart, Max (February 28, 2023). "Julie Walters Pulls Out Of Channel 4 Drama 'Truelove' Due To Ill Health, Replaced By Lindsay Duncan". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  22. ^ Otterson, Joe (February 3, 2023). "Benedict Cumberbatch-Led Netflix Limited Series 'Eric' Rounds Out Main Cast". Variety. Retrieved April 3, 2023.
  23. ^ Ford, Lily (June 5, 2024). "Anjelica Huston, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Mimi Keene to Star in Agatha Christie Adaptation 'Towards Zero'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 5, 2024.
  24. ^ "The Next Chapter has Arrived: 'Marvel's Wastelanders: Wolverine'". Marvel. June 13, 2022.
  25. ^ Lewis, Hilary (February 8, 2021). "AARP Movies for Grownups Awards: 'Trial of the Chicago 7,' 'Da 5 Bloods' Lead Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  26. ^ "Awards Circuit Community Awards (2017)". IMDb. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  27. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (March 9, 2021). "BAFTA Nominations 2021: 'Nomadland' & 'Rocks' Lead Highly Diverse Field". Deadline. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  28. ^ Kilday, Gregg (December 6, 2017). "Critics' Choice Awards: 'The Shape of Water' Leads With 14 Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  29. ^ a b Davis, Clayton (February 8, 2021). "Critics Choice Awards: 'Mank' Leads With 12 Nominations, Netflix Makes History With Four Best Picture Nominees". Variety. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  30. ^ "The 2017 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards". detroitfilmcritics.com. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  31. ^ "2017 Awards". Georgia Film Critics Association. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  32. ^ Neglia, Matt (December 21, 2020). "The 2020 Indiana Film Journalists Association (IFJA) Winners". Next Best Picture. Retrieved December 12, 2023.
  33. ^ Neglia, Matt (December 21, 2020). "The 2020 Music City Film Critics Association (MCFCA) Nominations". Next Best Picture. Retrieved December 12, 2023.
  34. ^ "The 44th NAACP Image Award complete winners list". Los Angeles Times. February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  35. ^ "NAACP | Nominees Announced for 51st NAACP Image Awards". NAACP. January 9, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  36. ^ Gibbs, Adrienne (February 4, 2021). "Netflix, HBO Lead NAACP Image Awards 2021 Nominations". Forbes. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  37. ^ Davis, Clayton (January 26, 2021). "National Board of Review Names 'Da 5 Bloods' Best Picture, Spike Lee Becomes Second Black Director Winner". Variety. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  38. ^ Hipes, Patrick (December 28, 2017). "'Get Out' Named Best Picture By Online Film Critics Society". Deadline. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  39. ^ Anderson, Erik (December 10, 2017). "San Diego Film Critics Society Nominations: Dunkirk, Shape of Water Lead plus double mentions for Sally Hawkins – AwardsWatch". Archived from the original on December 10, 2017. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  40. ^ "'Blade Runner 2049' Leads the 2017 Seattle Film Critics Society Nominations". Seattle Film Critics Society. December 11, 2017. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  41. ^ "2020 WAFCA Award Winners - The Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA)". dcfilmcritics.com. Retrieved February 23, 2021.

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