Dennis Haysbert

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Dennis Haysbert
Dennis Haysbert 3 March 2015.jpg
Haysbert in March 2015
Born Dennis Dexter Haysbert
(1954-06-02) June 2, 1954 (age 61)
San Mateo, California, United States
Occupation Actor
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Elena Simms (1980–1984)
Lynn Griffith (1989–2001)

Dennis Dexter Haysbert (born June 2, 1954) is an American film and television actor. He is known for portraying baseball player Pedro Cerrano in the Major League film trilogy, Secret Service Agent Tim Collin in the 1997 political thriller film Absolute Power, David Palmer on the American television series 24, Sergeant Major Jonas Blane on the drama series The Unit and Detective John Almond in Backstrom. He also appears in commercials for Allstate Insurance and has appeared in the films Love Field and Far from Heaven.

Personal life[edit]

Haysbert was born in San Mateo, California, the son of Gladys (née Minor), a homemaker and house cleaner, and Charles Whitney Haysbert, Sr., a deputy sheriff and airline security guard.[1][2] He is the eighth of nine children, having two sisters and six brothers. His parents were from Louisiana.[3] Haysbert was raised Baptist.[3]

He graduated from San Mateo High School in 1972.[4] After high school, being 6 ft 5 in tall, he was offered athletic scholarships but instead chose to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Haysbert is a divorced father of two. He announced in April 2009 that he was starting a TV, film, and documentary production company.[5] His first project was to be a documentary for HBO about an up-and-coming boxer.[6] During the 2010 California elections, Haysbert supported Democratic Senatorial incumbent Barbara Boxer by appearing with her at campaign events, as well as recording radio commercials.[7][8]



Haysbert has been acting in film and television since 1979, starting with a guest role in The White Shadow. His television guest starring roles include Lou Grant, Growing Pains, Laverne & Shirley, The A-Team, Night Court, Dallas, The Incredible Hulk, Magnum, P.I., Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Duckman. In 1993, he had a featured role in Return to Lonesome Dove as outlaw Cherokee Jack Jackson. In 1999, Haysbert starred with Eric Close in Now and Again, which was cancelled after its first season.

In 2001, Haysbert became better known when he was cast in 24 as U.S. Senator David Palmer, who served as America's first African American President (in the context of the show) during the second and third seasons. He also returned as a guest star in the last six episodes of season 4 and the first episode of season 5. He was nominated for a Golden Globe and for a Golden Satellite Award in 2002 for this role. Haysbert stated in an interview for the show that the three men he admires most—Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Colin Powell—collectively embody his idea of what a President should be.[9] Haysbert believes that his playing of David Palmer on 24 helped Barack Obama—whom Haysbert supported—to win the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.[10][11]

Haysbert was the first actor to portray DC Comics character Kilowog, a member of the Green Lantern Corps, in a medium outside of comics. He provided the voice of Kilowog on various episodes of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. On March 4, 2006, Haysbert guest starred on the Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Natalie Portman as the host of a live action/animated TV Funhouse cartoon called "Belated Black History Moment". In his role, Haysbert paid homage to fictional short-lived Saturday morning cartoons featuring black characters, such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo in Outer Space. He also portrayed Nelson Mandela in Goodbye Bafana (also released under the name The Color of Freedom). Haysbert portrayed the lead character Jonas Blane in the CBS action-drama The Unit, which ended after its fourth season on May 10, 2009. He hosted and narrated the Military History Channel presentation of Secrets of Pearl Harbor, which documented his scuba dives with a film team on World War II era Japanese and American warships in the Pacific Theater of action. In March 2013, Haysbert narrated the documentary "The World According to Dick Cheney" on the Showtime television channel. In 2015, Haysbert played Detective John Almond in Backstrom.


In 1989, Haysbert made his first major role as Pedro Cerrano, a voodoo-practicing Cuban refugee baseball player, in Major League. In it, he uttered the memorable line: "Is very bad to steal Jobu's rum; is very bad". Haysbert followed that up with a role in 1990's Navy SEALs, which also starred Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn, before moving on to another baseball movie, Mr. Baseball with Tom Selleck. In 1991, he also starred in K-9000, where he played a police officer named Nick Sanrio. In 1992, he co-starred with Michelle Pfeiffer in Love Field, a film about a series of events occurring contemporaneously with the assassination and funeral of President John F. Kennedy.[12] In 1994, Haysbert reprised his role as Cerrano in Major League II. This was followed by low key appearances in Waiting to Exhale, Heat, and Absolute Power. In 1998, Haysbert made another appearance as Cerrano in Major League: Back to the Minors. In 1999, Haysbert played a police detective in three different films: The Minus Man, The Thirteenth Floor, and Random Hearts. In 2000, Haysbert played the role of Zeke McCall in Love & Basketball.

In 2002, Haysbert played the role of gardener Raymond Deagan in Far From Heaven. He won three awards (Satellite Award, Black Reel Award, and Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award) for Best Supporting Actor for that role. In 2005, he had a supporting role in Sam Mendes's film, Jarhead. In 2007, Haysbert returned to the big screen to portray Nelson Mandela in Goodbye Bafana and an FBI agent in Breach. In 2012, he voiced General Hologram in Wreck-It Ralph[13] and served as an official judge for the Noor Iranian Film Festival. He replaced the deceased Michael Clark Duncan as Manute in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014).[14] In 2014, Haysbert played the role of Dean Fairbanks in Dear White People and Dead Rising: Watchtower.[15]


Haysbert is the official spokesman for the Allstate Insurance Company. His commercials typically end with one of the two Allstate Corporation official slogans, either Are you in good hands? or That's Allstate's stand. More recently however his commercials have combined the two with "That's Allstate's stand. Are you in good hands?". He has also appeared in Spanish language commercials with the line "Con Allstate, Estás En Buenas Manos." (You're in good hands with Allstate.) In 2009–2010 Allstate used the Neil Sedaka song "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" in television commercials to promote Allstate's car insurance. Breaking up is hard to do, the ads averred, unless one has an Allstate agent to undertake the deed for the customer (switching from another insurer to Allstate). The viewer learned that "breaking up is easy to do" as reassured on the screen by Haysbert. In his role as spokesman for Allstate, Haysbert officiated the coin toss prior to the 2007 Sugar Bowl between LSU and Notre Dame.[16]

In 2008, Haysbert was featured in national television ads to raise public awareness about lending discrimination. The ads were commissioned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.[17] In one of these ads, Haysbert warns consumers about lenders' targeting minorities for inferior loan products.[18]

For the 2006 college football season, Haysbert did voice work for ticket sales promotions for Brigham Young University. He did it as a favor to his younger brother Adam, who played wide receiver at BYU in the early 1980s.[19]

Haysbert also voices the Military Channel's commercials with their official slogan: "The Military Channel—Go Behind the Lines."

Video games[edit]

Haysbert has also done voice work for various video games, such as Irving Lambert in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, the narrator in Call of Duty: Finest Hour and David Palmer in 24: The Game.


In June 2010, Haysbert joined the cast of David Mamet's Race on Broadway as character Henry Brown, performing alongside actors Eddie Izzard, Richard Thomas and Afton Williamson. The play ran until August 21, 2010.



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Scoring Lt. Harrigan
1989 Major League Pedro Cerrano
1990 Navy Seals Graham
1992 Mr. Baseball Max "Hammer" Dubois
1992 Love Field Paul Cater
1993 Suture Clay Arlington
1993 Alex Haley's Queen Davis
1994 Major League II Pedro Cerrano
1995 Heat Donald Breedan
1995 Waiting to Exhale Kenneth Dawkins
1996 Amanda Seven/Sir Jordan
1997 Absolute Power Tim Collin
1998 How to Make the Cruelest Month Manhattan Parks
1998 Major League: Back to the Minors Pedro Cerrano
1998 Standoff Ty 'Bama' Jones
1999 The Minus Man Graves
1999 The Thirteenth Floor Detective Larry McBain
1999 Random Hearts Detective George Beaufort
2000 What's Cooking? Ronald Williams
2000 Love & Basketball Zeke McCall
2002 Far from Heaven Raymond Deagan Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
2003 Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Kale Voice
2005 Jarhead Major Lincoln
2007 Goodbye Bafana Nelson Mandela
2007 Breach Dean Plesac
2011 The Details Lincoln
2011 Kung Fu Panda 2 Master Storming Ox Voice
2012 LUV Mr. Fish
2012 Wreck-It Ralph General Hologram Voice
2013 Welcome to the Jungle Mr. Crawford
2013 Battledogs Lt. General Christopher Monning
2014 Mr. Peabody & Sherman Judge Voice
2014 Think Like a Man Too Uncle Eddie
2014 Life of a King Searcy
2014 Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Manute
2014 Men, Women & Children Secretluvur
2014 Sniper: Legacy The Colonel
2014 Dear White People The Dean
2014 How Murray Saved Christmas Narrator
2015 Experimenter Ossie Davis
2015 Dead Rising: Watchtower Digital film
2015 Ted 2 Fertility Doctor
2016 Fist Fight Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Lou Grant Victor Episode: "Schools"
1979 The White Shadow Basketball Player Episode: "Wanna Bet?"
1979 Laverne & Shirley Navy Shore Patrolman Episode: "What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor?"
1980 Quincy M.E. Fred Episode: "New Blood"
1980 The Incredible Hulk Guard Episode: "Nine Hours"
1980 Galactica 1980 Imperious Leader Episode: "Space Croppers"
1980–1981 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Various 5 episodes
1981 Quincy M.E. Driver Episode: "Headhunter"
1981 Grambling's White Tiger James "Shack" Harris Television movie
1981–1982 Code Red Stuff Wade 8 episodes
1983 The A-Team Psych Ward Staff Episode: "One More Time"
1984 Dallas Dr. Forbes Episode: "Killer at Large"
1984 Riptide Odell Episode: "Father's Day"
1984 Gimme a Break! Rev. Winfield Episode: "Baby of the Family"
1984–1985 Off the Rack Cletus Maxwell 7 episodes
1985 Magnum P.I. Lieutenant Jameson, USN Episode: "Blood and Honor"
1985 What's Happening Now!! Policeman Episode: "I'll Be Homeless for Christmas"
1985 Growing Pains Police Officer Episode: "Weekend Fantasy"
1986 The Fall Guy Jeremy Wolf Episode: "Trial by Fire"
1986 227 Sgt. Banks Episode: "Redecorating Blues"
1986 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Kimambo Episode: "Billy's Lost Weekend"
1986 The Young and the Restless Ron Clark 8 episodes
1987 Growing Pains Officer Wright Episode: "Gone But Not Forgottten"
1987 Knots Landing Police Officer Episode: "The Unraveling"
1987 Easy Street Chip Episode: "The Country Club"
1987 Valerie Dr. Ervin Episode: "Oedipus Wrecks"
1987 Our House Unknown Episode: "Sounds from a Silent Clock: Part 2"
1987 The Facts of Life Sgt. Evans Episode: "Before the Fall"
1988 Growing Pains Frank Episode: "State of the Union"
1988 Crime Story Franklin Himes 2 episodes
1988–1989 Just the Ten of Us Coach Duane Johnson 9 episodes
1989 Night Court James Morgan Episode: "Pen Pal"
1989 The Robert Guillaume Show Mr. Peterson Episode: "Guaranteed Not to Shrink"
1991 K-9000 Nick Sanrio Television movie
1993 Queen Davis Television movie
1993 Return to Lonesome Dove Jack Jackson 3 episodes
1993 American Playhouse Rev. Oliver Crawford Episode: "Hallelujah"
1998 The New Batman Adventures Barkley James Episode: "Mean Seasons"
1998–1999 Superman: The Animated Series Agent #1/Doctor #1 2 episodes: "Where There's Smoke" and "Unity"
1999–2000 Now and Again Dr. Theodore Morris 22 episodes
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
2001 Soul Food Rick Grant 2 episodes
2001 The Outer Limits Joshua Finch Episode: "Rule of Law"
2001–2006 24 David Palmer 81 episodes
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Television Series
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2003, 2004)
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2003, 2005)
2001–2002 Static Shock Chief Barnsdale 4 episodes
2001–2004 Justice League Kilowog 4 episodes
2006–2009 The Unit Jonas Blane 69 episodes
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2007-2009)
2013 Newsreaders Det. Fenster Landau Episode: "CCSI: Boston"
2013 Trophy Wife Russ Bradley Morrison 2 episodes
2014 The Boondocks Sturdy Harris Episode: "Freedom Ride or Die"
2015 Blue Bloods Deputy Chief Donald Kent Episode: "New Rules"
2015 Backstrom Detective Almond Recurring


  1. ^ Dennis Haysbert Biography. Author unknown (date unknown).
  2. ^ Author unknown (date unknown). Deaths: Haysbert, Charles Whitney. NewsLibrary Search Result; access to original article restricted to subscribers.
  3. ^ a b Avery, Laura (2007). Excerpt from Newsmakers 2007 Cumulation.
  4. ^ "San Mateo High School Alumni". San Mateo High School. Retrieved January 15, 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Retrieved from[dead link].
  8. ^ Video on YouTube
  9. ^ '24' Exposed (Part 1) featurette. '24' season 2 bonus DVD. 
  10. ^ "Haysbert Says '24' Role Paved the Way for Presidential Hopeful Barack". ]
  11. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  12. ^ "Dennis Haysbert". Noted Guys. 
  13. ^ "Watch the "Dead Rising: Watchtower" Movie Right Here, Right NOW! -". 
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (5 December 2012). "Dennis Haysbert Replaces Michael Clarke Duncan in 'Sin City 2' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  15. ^ "Dead Rising: Watchtower". DC. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  16. ^ "Allstate ads to remain in Haysbert's 'good hands' for three more years". World News. 
  18. ^ Video on YouTube
  19. ^ Scott Taylor (15 September 2006). "BYU connection yields strong voice". 

External links[edit]