Courtney B. Vance
Courtney B. Vance
Courtney Bernard Vance
March 12, 1960
Courtney Bernard Vance (born March 12, 1960) is an American actor. Vance started his career on the Broadway stage in the original productions of August Wilson's Fences in 1985, John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation in 1990 and Nora Ephron's Lucky Guy in 2013 for which he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. He is known for his roles in films such as Hamburger Hill (1987), The Hunt for Red October (1990), The Preacher's Wife (1996), Cookie's Fortune (1999), Terminator Genisys (2015), and Isle of Dogs (2018).
Vance is also known for work on television on shows such as Law & Order: Criminal Intent, where he portrayed Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver. He also guest-starred on Law & Order, Picket Fences, The Closer, Revenge, Scandal, and Masters of Sex. He won acclaim for his portrayal of Johnnie Cochran in the FX limited series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story (2016) for which he received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. He recently appeared in the HBO television film, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017), National Geographic's limited series Genius: Aretha (2020), and the HBO drama series Lovecraft Country (2020) the latter of which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
He has been married to actress Angela Bassett since 1997. Vance is on the Board of Directors for The Actors Center in New York City, and is an active supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In 2019, Vance was appointed as the President of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation.
Vance was born on March 12, 1960, in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Leslie Anita (née Daniels), a librarian, and Conroy Vance, a grocery store manager and benefits administrator. He attended Detroit Country Day School and later graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While attending Harvard, Vance was already working as an actor at the Boston Shakespeare Company. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree later at Yale School of Drama where he met fellow student and future wife Angela Bassett.
1980s: Early work
In 1985, Vance started his acting career on the stage as Cory in the Yale Repertory Theatre production of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award for Best Play-winning play Fences. From 1987 to 1988, Vance continued the role on Broadway opposite James Earl Jones where he won a Clarence Derwent Award for his performance. He was also nominated for Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role.
1990s: Broadway and film roles
In 1991, Vance returned to Broadway playing Paul in John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation. He acted alongside John Cunningham and Stockard Channing. He was nominated for Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance at the 45th Tony Awards.
Throughout the 1990s, Vance continued acting in a variety of feature films such as The Hunt for Red October (1990), and The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993). In 1995, Vance played Black Panther Bobby Seale in the Melvin and Mario Van Peebles docudrama Panther. That same year, he also appeared in The Last Supper and Dangerous Minds. He also worked with acclaimed directors such as Robert Altman in Cookie's Fortune, Penny Marshall in The Preacher's Wife, and Clint Eastwood in Space Cowboys.
During the 1990s, Vance guest-starred in numerous television shows including Law & Order, Picket Fences, and Thirtysomething. He also starred in made-for-television films such as Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men, in which he played the Foreman and acted alongside Ossie Davis, George C. Scott, Jack Lemmon, Hume Cronyn, and James Gandolfini. In 1999, Vance also starred in and co-produced the romantic comedy Love and Action in Chicago.
2000s: Television roles
From 2001 to 2006, Vance starred in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, in which he played A.D.A. Ron Carver. He was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his performance. In 2008 and 2009, he guest-starred in the final season of ER alongside his wife Angela Bassett. He was also in Hurricane Season.
On December 2, 2008, TV Guide reported that Vance had been cast as the Los Angeles bureau chief of the FBI in the ABC pilot FlashForward, based on a Robert J. Sawyer novel and slated to be a possible "companion show" to Lost. In 2011, he starred in the American horror film Final Destination 5. Vance was tapped for the lead in the German-American apocalypse thriller The Divide.
He appeared in the Disney Channel Original Movie Let It Shine, where he played the pastor Jacob Debarge, the main character's father, and co-starred with Tyler James Williams, Trevor Jackson, Coco Jones, Brandon Mychal Smith, and Dawnn Lewis. It was the third time Vance portrayed a pastor in a motion picture, after The Preacher's Wife and Joyful Noise).
2010s: The People v. O.J. Simpson
He appeared as Chief Tommy Delk on the TNT series, The Closer, from 2010 to 2011 (Season 6–7). Vance also played the role of Attorney Benjamin Brooks on four episodes of ABC's Revenge. In 2015, he portrayed Miles Dyson in Terminator Genisys opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and Emilia Clarke.
In 2016, he took on the role of Johnnie Cochran in FX's American Crime Story, which tells the story of the O. J. Simpson murder case. The series premiered on February 2, 2016, and his performance was critically acclaimed, winning Vance a Primetime Emmy Award.
In 2017, he narrated Wes Anderson's stop motion animated comedy Isle of Dogs. That same year he also starred in the HBO television film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, where he played Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield opposite Oprah Winfrey's Deborah Lacks.
In 2018, he appeared as Neil Beeby in the Peter Hedges film Ben Is Back, opposite Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges. He was cast opposite Niecy Nash in Prentice Penny's feature film directorial debut, the Netflix original movie Uncorked, released in 2020.
In 2020, Vance was seen in HBO's drama series Lovecraft Country for which he earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series nomination. In 2021, he appeared in National Geographic's Genius: Aretha as C. L. Franklin.
Vance is married to Angela Bassett, whom he first met in 1980. Together, they have twins, a son and a daughter, born on January 27, 2006. He and Bassett have authored a book, Friends: A Love Story, with Hilary Beard. The two also participate in the annual Christmas celebration, Candlelight Processional, at Epcot. The family lives in Los Angeles.
Vance is on the Board of Directors for The Actors Center in New York City, and is an active supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He is an alumnus of the Detroit Boys & Girls Club, and was recently inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
|1985||Fences||Cory||Yale Repertory Theatre|
|1987–88||46th Street Theatre, Broadway|
|1989–90||My Children! My Africa!||Thami Mbikwarna||New York Theatre Workshop|
|1990–92||Six Degrees of Separation||Paul||Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Broadway|
|2013||Lucky Guy||Hap Hairston||Broadhurst Theatre, Broadway|
|1987||Hamburger Hill||Spc. Abraham 'Doc' Johnson|
|1990||The Hunt for Red October||Sonar Technician (Petty Officer 2nd Class) Jones|
|1993||The Adventures of Huck Finn||Jim|
|Beyond the Law||Conroy Price|
|Dangerous Minds||George Grandey|
|The Tuskegee Airmen||2nd Lt. Glenn|
|The Last Supper||Luke|
|1996||The Preacher's Wife||Reverend Henry Biggs|
|1998||Blind Faith||John Williams|
|1999||Cookie's Fortune||Otis Tucker|
|Love and Action in Chicago||Eddie Jones||Co-producer|
|2000||Space Cowboys||Roger Hines|
|2002||D-Tox||Reverend Jones||Also known as Eye See You|
|2008||Nothing but the Truth||Agent O'Hara|
|2009||Hurricane Season||Mr. Randolph|
|2010||Extraordinary Measures||Marcus Temple|
|Final Destination 5||Agent Jim Block|
|2012||Joyful Noise||Pastor Dale|
|2015||Terminator Genisys||Miles Dyson|
|2016||Office Christmas Party||Walter Davis|
|2017||The Mummy||Army Colonel Greenway|
|2018||Isle of Dogs||Narrator (voice)|
|Ben Is Back||Neal Burns|
|2020||The Photograph||Louis Morton|
|Project Power||Captain Crane|
|1983||First Affair||Male student||Television film|
|1989||Thirtysomething||Curtis||Episode: "Trust Me"|
|1990||Law & Order||Mayor's Assistant||Episode: "By Hooker, by Crook"|
|1991||The Emperor's New Clothes||Scribe (voice)||Television film|
|1992||In the Line of Duty: Street War||Justice Butler||Television film|
|1993||Percy & Thunder||Thunder||Television film|
|1994||Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad||Thomas||Television film|
|1995||Law & Order||Benjamin 'Bud' Greer||Episode: "Rage"|
|The Piano Lesson||Lymon||Television film|
|Picket Fences||Warren Grier||2 episodes|
|The Tuskegee Airmen||Lt. Glenn||Television film|
|The Affair||Travis Holloway||Television film|
|1996||The Boys Next Door||Lucien P. Singer||Television film|
|1997||12 Angry Men||Foreman||Television film|
|1998||Any Day Now||Mr. James Jackson||Episode: "Unfinished Symphony"|
|Naked City: Justice with a Bullet||Officer James Halloran||Television film|
|The Wild Thornberrys||Makai (voice)||Episode: "Naimina Enkiyio"|
|Naked City: A Killer Christmas||Officer James Halloran||Television film|
|2000||Boston Public||Walter Harrelson||2 episodes|
|2001–06||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||A.D.A. Ron Carver||111 episodes|
|2002||American Experience||Dr. Vivien Thomas (voice)||Episode: "Partners of the Heart"|
|Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story||Clarence Brandley||Television film|
|2004||American Experience||Narrator (voice)||Episode: "The Fight"|
|2007||State of Mind||William Banks||3 episodes|
|2008–09||ER||Russell Banfield||8 episodes|
|2009||The Spectacular Spider-Man||Roderick Kingsley (voice)||Episode: "Accomplices"|
|2009–10||FlashForward||Stanford Wedeck||22 episodes|
|2010–11||The Closer||Chief Tommy Delk||3 episodes|
|2012||Revenge||Benjamin Brooks||4 episodes|
|Let It Shine||Pastor Jacob DeBarge||Television film|
|2013||Graceland||Sam Campbell||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2014–15||State of Affairs||Marshall Payton||7 episodes|
|2014||Masters of Sex||Dr. Charles Hendricks||3 episodes|
|2015||Scandal||Clarence Parker||Episode: "The Lawn Chair"|
|2016||The People v. O. J. Simpson:
American Crime Story
|Johnnie Cochran||10 episodes|
|2017||The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks||Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield||Television film|
|2020||Lovecraft Country||George Freeman||3 episodes|
|2021||Genius||C. L. Franklin||Miniseries|
|2022||61st Street||Franklin Roberts|
Awards and nominations
- Semuels, Alana (June 9, 2013). "Tony Awards 2013: Courtney B. Vance glad he took a chance on 'Lucky Guy'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
- Gates Jr., Henry Louis (January 28, 2016). Finding Your Roots, Season 2: The Official Companion to the PBS Series. UNC Press Books. ISBN 9781469626192.
- "Alumni E-Bee". Detroit Country Day School. 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
- Penn, Charli (October 12, 2011). "Black Love: Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance". Essence. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- Who's on board for ABC's new sci-fi thriller?" TV Guide. December 2, 2008. Retrieved on December 3, 2008.
- "For N.F.L., Split Seconds Become 30-Second Spots". The New York Times. August 6, 2009. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
- "Preview: Here's a T-800 From 'Terminator Genisys'". Bloody Disgusting. January 6, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
- Purcell, Carey (September 6, 2013). "Kinky Boots, Vanya and Sonia, Pippin and Virginia Woolf? Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards". Playbill. Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- Goldberg, Lesley (February 5, 2015). "Courtney B. Vance Set as Johnnie Cochran in FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
- Sepinwall, Alan (February 1, 2016). "Review: FX's compelling 'The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story'". HitFix. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
- Fienberg, Dan (January 19, 2016). "'The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- Bernstein, Jonathan (February 3, 2016). "The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, review: 'expertly executed entertainment'". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved February 3, 2016.
- "Niecy Nash, Courtney B. Vance to Star in 'Uncorked' for Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Courtney B. Vance appointed SAG-AFTRA President". sagaftra.foundation. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
- "Bassett and Vance Tell Their 'Love Story'", NPR, February 16, 2007; with Farai Chideya interview (43 min.) and excerpts/readings by authors. Retrieved 2016-08-17.
- Smith, Thomas (December 14, 2009). "Unique Perspective – 'Candlelight' at Disney's Epcot". Disney Parks. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
- "Home >> About Us >> Alumni Hall of Fame >> Courtney B. Vance". Boys and Girls Club of America. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
- "Courtney B. Vance", pbs.org, September 23 (2014?). Retrieved 2016-08-17.