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Daniel Sunjata

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Daniel Sunjata
Daniel Sunjata Condon

(1971-12-30) December 30, 1971 (age 52)
EducationUniversity of Louisiana, Lafayette (BA)
New York University (MFA)
Years active1998–present

Daniel Sunjata Condon (born December 30, 1971)[1] is an American actor who performs in film, television and theater. He is known for his role as Franco Rivera in the FX television series Rescue Me.[2]

Early life and education


Sunjata was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago. He is the adopted son of Bill and Catherine Condon, a police dispatcher and a civil rights worker.[3] His adoptive parents are of Irish and Italian-German descent. He is named in honor of the Mandinka king Sundiata Keita, founder of the Mali Empire; the name means "hungry lion."[4] He was told his biological mother was a white teenager who had run away from home[5] and his father was African-American. He graduated from Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, where he played linebacker for two state championship football teams. After attending Florida A&M University, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Master of Fine Arts from the Graduate Acting Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.[6] He is of African, German, and Irish descent.[7][8]



Sunjata played the role of a sailor on shore leave on the first post-9/11 themed episode of Sex and the City.[9] He portrayed poet Langston Hughes in the film Brother to Brother (2004) and James Holt, a fashion designer, in The Devil Wears Prada (2006).[10]

He starred as firefighter Franco Rivera on the television program Rescue Me. During the summer of 2007, he also starred in the ESPN miniseries The Bronx is Burning as Reggie Jackson. He appeared as a Special Forces Operative in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises (2012).[10]

In 2003, he won a Theatre World Award for his breakout Broadway performance as a gay Major League Baseball player who comes out to the public in Take Me Out, the Tony award-winning play, which also earned him nominations for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award.[10]

In 2010-2011, he played "Nurse Eli" on the TV series Grey's Anatomy and had a relationship with Dr. Miranda Bailey.[11][citation needed]

Beginning in 2013, he played FBI agent Paul Briggs on Graceland, which aired on USA Network. The show was canceled in 2015 after 3 seasons.[citation needed]

Views on the September 11 attacks


On April 30, 2009, Sunjata announced his participation as narrator in Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup.[12] This was the last in a series of documentaries, collectively known as Loose Change, that argue that the September 11 attacks were planned by the United States government.[13]

Sunjata has said that he believes "absolutely, 100 percent" in this theory.[14] Producers of Rescue Me, inspired by Sunjata's views, created a subplot of the show that year (the show's fifth season) in which Sunjata's character, Franco Rivera, stirs up controversy in the firehouse when he tells these same views to a journalist.[14]




Year Title Role Notes
1998 Twelfth Night, or What You Will Valentine TV movie
2001 The Feast of All Saints Christophe Mercier TV movie
2002 Bad Company CIA Agent Carew
2004 Brother to Brother Langston Hughes
Noel Marco
Melinda and Melinda Billy Wheeler
2006 The Devil Wears Prada James Holt
2009 Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Brad
Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup The Narrator
2010 At Risk Detective Win Garano TV movie
The Front Detective Win Garano TV movie
Weakness Alejandro
2012 One for the Money Ranger
Gone Powers
Generation Um... Charles
The Dark Knight Rises Captain Jones
2014 Lullaby Officer Ramirez
2017 Small Town Crime Detective Whitman
2021 Christmas...Again?! Mike Clybourne TV movie


Year Title Role Notes
2000 D.C. Lewis Freeman Main Cast
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Bomb Squad Officer Episode: "Remorse"
2001 All My Children Zachary Pell Regular Cast
2002 Sex and the City Louis Leroy, USN Episode: "Anchors Away"
2002–04 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit CSU Technician Burt Trevor Recurring Cast: Seasons 3-5
2003 Ed Danny Martin Episode: "The Case"
2004–11 Rescue Me Franco Rivera Main Cast
2005 Law & Order Kenny Tremont Episode: "Mammon"
2006 Love Monkey Diego Recurring Cast
2007 The Bronx is Burning Reggie Jackson Main Cast
2008 Great Performances Christian de Neuvillette Episode: "Cyrano de Bergerac"
2009 Lie to Me Andrew Jenkins Episode: "Blinded"
2010 30 Rock Chris Episode: "College"
2010–11 Grey's Anatomy Nurse Eli Recurring Cast: Seasons 7-8
2012–13 Smash Peter Gillman Recurring Cast: Season 2
2013–15 Graceland FBI Senior Agent Paul Briggs Main Cast
2016 Notorious Jake Gregorian Main Cast
2017 Animal Kingdom Smurf's Criminal Lawyer Episode: "Betrayal"
2018–20 Manifest Danny Recurring Cast: Season 1, Guest: Season 2
2019 Happy! Simon Recurring Cast: Season 2
2020 Prodigal Son Quinton Vosler Episode: "Internal Affairs"
#FreeRayshawn SWAT Commander Nick Alvarez Main Cast
The Twilight Zone Detective Peter Reece Episode: "The Who of You"
The Stand Cobb Episode: "The End"
2021–24 Power Book II: Ghost Dante "Mecca" Spears Main Cast: Season 2, Guest: Season 4
2022 Echoes Charles "Charlie" Davenport Main Cast
2023 The Company You Keep Robert Renway Episode: "All In"

Video Games

Year Title Role Notes
2002 TOCA Race Driver Nick Landers/James Randall Voice


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Twelfth Night Valentine
2003 Take Me Out Darren Lemming Theatre World Award
Nominated – Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play
2007 Cyrano de Bergerac Christian De Neuvillette
2013 Macbeth Macduff
2014 The Country House Michael Astor
2018 Saint Joan Dunois, Bastard of Orleans

Awards and nominations

Year Awards Category Recipient Outcome
2005 Satellite Award Satellite Award for Best Cast – Television Series "Rescue Me" Won
2008 NAACP Image Awards NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special "The Bronx Is Burning" Nominated


  1. ^ "Daniel Sunjata profile". Filmreference.com. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  2. ^ "Thanks to his darker side, Sunjata shines in 'Rescue Me' | The Spokesman-Review". www.spokesman.com. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "Daniel Sunjata". IMDb. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  4. ^ "Daniel Sunjata". www.skiddnet.com. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  5. ^ Finn, Robin (May 28, 2003). "PUBLIC LIVES; Such a Realistic Portrayal, the Guys Ask Him Out". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  6. ^ "NYU Graduate Acting Alumni". Gradacting.tisch.nyu.edu. 2011. Archived from the original on May 30, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
  7. ^ "Daniel Sunjata: 'My Ambiguous Ethnicity has Helped Me' | EURweb". EURweb. February 14, 2013. Archived from the original on February 19, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "Daniel Sunjata biography and filmography | Daniel Sunjata movies". Tribute.ca. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "31 Famous Actors Who've Guest-Starred on 'Sex and the City'". www.backstage.com. October 6, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Daniel Sunjata at IMDb
  11. ^ "Daniel Sunjata to Join Cast of ABC's Grey's Anatomy | TheaterMania". www.theatermania.com. November 15, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  12. ^ "The Truth About Daniel Sunjata's Truther-ism". The Chicagoist. Archived from the original on November 6, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
  13. ^ Gil, Billy. "Microcinema Gets Rights to 'Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup'" (Archived 2009-08-29 at the Wayback Machine), Home Media Magazine, May 4, 2009.
  14. ^ a b Stelter, Brian. "The Political Suspicions of 9/11", The New York Times, February 1, 2009.