Dennis Haysbert

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Dennis Haysbert
Dennis Haysbert 3 March 2015.jpg
Haysbert in March 2015
Dennis Dexter Haysbert

(1954-06-02) June 2, 1954 (age 66)
OccupationActor, voice actor
Years active1978–present
Known forAllstate commercials, 24, The Unit
Elena Simms
(m. 1980; div. 1984)

Lynn Griffith
(m. 1989; div. 2001)

Dennis Dexter Haysbert (born June 2, 1954) is an American actor and voice actor. In the U.S. he is known for his lead roles in many screen films and television shows. More recently he has served as a spokesman for Allstate Insurance. He portrayed baseball player Pedro Cerrano in the Major League film trilogy, Secret Service Agent Tim Collin in the 1997 political thriller film Absolute Power, and Sergeant Major Jonas Blane on the drama series The Unit. He is also known for playing U.S. Senator (later President) David Palmer on the first 5 seasons of 24 and has appeared in the films Love Field, Heat, Waiting to Exhale, Far from Heaven, and the science fiction series Incorporated.

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]

Haysbert 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 twice 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 1978, 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 one season.

In 2001, Haysbert became best known when he was cast in 24 as U.S. Senator David Palmer, who served as the first black U.S. 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. 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. In March 2013, Haysbert narrated the documentary The World According to Dick Cheney on the Showtime television channel. May 19, 2014, Haysbert also featured in the fifth episode of the fourth season of Boondocks as Reverend Sturdy Harris. In 2015, Haysbert played Detective John Almond in Backstrom.

Since September 6, 2015, Haysbert has been the opening voice introducing NBC's Meet The Press.

In November 2016, Haysbert began his co-starring role in Incorporated. Set in a dystopian future run by corporations, Haysbert plays Julian, a ruthless security head working for one of the larger corporations. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are co-executive producers on the series, which was shot in British Columbia, Canada, and airs on Showcase in Canada and Syfy in the U.S.


In 1989, Haysbert made his first major role as Pedro Cerrano, a voodoo-practicing Cuban refugee baseball player, in Major League. 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 minor 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 General Lyons Dead Rising: Watchtower.[15]

In December 2018, it was announced that Haysbert will star in the Netflix psychological thriller Secret Obsession.[16] The film was released on July 18, 2019.[17]


Since 2003, Haysbert has appeared as 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." 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." (With Allstate, you're in good hands.) 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.[18]

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.[19] In one of these ads, Haysbert warns consumers about lenders' targeting minorities for inferior loan products.[20]

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.[21]

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
1985 A Summer to Remember Sheriff Pierce
1989 Major League Pedro Cerrano
1990 Navy Seals Chief Special Warfare Operator Billy Graham
1992 Mr. Baseball Max "Hammer" Dubois
Love Field Paul Cater
1993 Suture Clay Arlington
Alex Haley's Queen Davis
1994 Major League II Pedro Cerrano
1995 Heat Donald Breedan
Waiting to Exhale Kenneth Dawkins
1996 Amanda Seven/Sir Jordan
1997 Absolute Power Tim Collin
1998 How to Make the Cruelest Month Manhattan Parks
Major League: Back to the Minors Pedro Cerrano
Standoff Ty 'Bama' Jones
1999 The Minus Man Graves
The Thirteenth Floor Detective Larry McBain
Random Hearts Detective George Beaufort
2000 What's Cooking? Ronald Williams
Love & Basketball Zeke McCall
2002 Ticker FBI agent Segment from the BMW short film series The Hire
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
Breach Dean Plesac
2011 The Details Lincoln
Kung Fu Panda 2 Master Storming Ox Voice
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Masters Master Storming Ox Voice
2012 LUV Mr. Fish
Wreck-It Ralph General Hologram Voice
2013 Welcome to the Jungle Mr. Crawford
Battledogs Lt. General Christopher Monning
2014 Mr. Peabody & Sherman Judge Voice
Think Like a Man Too Uncle Eddie
Life of a King Searcy
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Manute
Men, Women & Children Secretluvur
Sniper: Legacy The Colonel
Dear White People The Dean
How Murray Saved Christmas Narrator
2015 Experimenter Ossie Davis
Dead Rising: Watchtower General Lyons Digital film
Ted 2 Fertility Doctor
2016 Jarhead 3: The Siege Major Lincoln Direct to video
Dead Rising: Endgame General Lyons Digital film
Sniper: Ghost Shooter The Colonel Direct to video
2017 Fist Fight Superintendent Johnson
The Dark Tower Steven Deschain
Naked Reginald Swope
Kodachrome Larry
2019 Breakthrough Dr. Garrett
Secret Obsession Detective Frank Page
Playing with Fire Commander Richards


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Lou Grant Victor Episode: "Schools"
1979 The White Shadow Basketball Player Episode: "Wanna Bet?"
Laverne & Shirley Navy Shore Patrolman Episode: "What Do You Do with a Drunken Sailor?"
1980 Quincy M.E. Fred Episode: "New Blood"
The Incredible Hulk Guard Episode: "Nine Hours"
Galactica 1980 Colonial Warrior Episode: "Space Croppers" (Miscredited as "The Creature")
1980–81 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Various 5 episodes
1981 Quincy M.E. Driver Episode: "Headhunter"
Grambling's White Tiger James "Shack" Harris Television movie
1981–82 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"
Riptide Odell Episode: "Father's Day"
Gimme a Break! Rev. Winfield Episode: "Baby of the Family"
1984–85 Off the Rack Cletus Maxwell 7 episodes
1985 Magnum P.I. Lieutenant Jameson, USN Episode: "Blood and Honor"
What's Happening Now!! Policeman Episode: "I'll Be Homeless for Christmas"
Growing Pains Police Officer Episode: "Weekend Fantasy"
1986 The Fall Guy Jeremy Wolf Episode: "Trial by Fire"
227 Sgt. Banks Episode: "Redecorating Blues"
Scarecrow and Mrs. King Kimambo Episode: "Billy's Lost Weekend"
The Young and the Restless Ron Clark 8 episodes
1987 Growing Pains Officer Wright Episode: "Gone But Not Forgottten"
Knots Landing Police Officer Episode: "The Unraveling"
Easy Street Chip Episode: "The Country Club"
Valerie Dr. Ervin Episode: "Oedipus Wrecks"
Our House Unknown Episode: "Sounds from a Silent Clock: Part 2"
The Facts of Life Sgt. Evans Episode: "Before the Fall"
1988 Growing Pains Frank Episode: "State of the Union"
Out of This World (TV series) Rev. Williams Episode: "a.k.a. Dad"
Crime Story Franklin Himes 2 episodes
1988–89 Just the Ten of Us Coach Duane Johnson 9 episodes
1989 Night Court James Morgan Episode: "Pen Pal"
The Robert Guillaume Show Mr. Peterson Episode: "Guaranteed Not to Shrink"
1991 K-9000 Nick Sanrio Television movie
1993 Alex Haley's Queen Davis Television movie
Return to Lonesome Dove Jack Jackson 3 episodes
American Playhouse Rev. Oliver Crawford Episode: "Hallelujah"
1998 The New Batman Adventures Barkley James Episode: "Mean Seasons"
1998–99 Superman: The Animated Series Agent #1/Doctor #1 2 episodes: "Where There's Smoke" and "Unity"
1999 Godzilla: The Series General Ekwensi Episode: Monster Wars Part 1
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
The Outer Limits Joshua Finch Episode: "Rule of Law"
2001–06 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)
2001–03 Static Shock Chief Barnsdale 4 episodes
2001–04 Justice League Kilowog 4 episodes
2006–09 The Unit Sergeant Major 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"
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"[22]
Backstrom Detective Almond Recurring
2016 Undercover[23] Rudy Jones 5 episodes
2016 Brooklyn Nine-Nine Bob Andersonn Episodes: "Bureau", "Greg and Larry"
2016–17 Incorporated Julian Recurring
2018 Reverie Charlie Ventana Recurring
2019 Surveillance Barry Wilkinson
2020 Lucifer God
2020 Home Movie: The Princess Bride[24]


  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. ^ 0. "'24' prez rejects torture, urges tolerance". Retrieved 18 March 2018.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ 0. "[TRANSCRIPT] Dennis Haysbert's interview with". Retrieved 18 March 2018.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  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 Obama". Archived from the original on 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  11. ^ "Haysbert: '24' role may have helped Obama". Archived from the original on October 31, 2008.
  12. ^ "Dennis Haysbert". Noted Guys. Archived from the original on 2009-10-06.
  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. ^ "Brenda Song, Mike Vogel & Dennis Haysbert Star in Netflix's Secret Obsession". Broadway World. December 11, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  17. ^ Nolfi, Joey (July 8, 2019). "Brenda Song battles creepy stalker in Secret Obsession trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  18. ^ "Allstate ads to remain in Haysbert's 'good hands' for three more years". World News.
  20. ^ Video on YouTube
  21. ^ Scott Taylor (15 September 2006). "BYU connection yields strong voice".
  22. ^ "New Rules". 24 April 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2018 – via
  23. ^ "Undercover: Episode 1: Credits". BBC Online. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  24. ^ Breznican, Anthony (June 26, 2020). "Watch the Celebrity-Filled Fan-Film Version of The Princess Bride". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 26, 2020.

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