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Hill Harper

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Hill Harper
Harper c. 2013–2016
Frank Eugene Harper[1]

(1966-05-17) May 17, 1966 (age 58)
Other names
  • Frank Harper
  • F. Hill Harper
  • Actor
  • politician
  • author
Years active1993–present
Political partyDemocratic

Frank Eugene "Hill" Harper (born May 17, 1966) is an American actor and political candidate. He is known for his roles as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes in CSI: NY, Agent Spelman Boyle in Limitless, and Dr. Marcus Andrews in The Good Doctor.[2]

A member of the Democratic Party, Harper is running in the 2024 United States Senate election in Michigan to fill the seat of retiring incumbent Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow.[3][4][5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Harper was born in Iowa City, Iowa, the son of two medical doctors, Harry D. Harper, a psychiatrist, and Marilyn Harper (née Hill), who was one of the first black practicing anesthesiologists in the United States and co-authored a book called Wearing Purple.[7][8][9][10] Born Frank Eugene Harper, he adopted the name "Hill" as a tribute to both his maternal and paternal ancestors.[1]

Harper graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1988, with a BA degree in economics and sociology and was valedictorian of his department. In 1992, he graduated with a JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He received an MPA degree with honors from John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University.[11] During his years at Harvard, he was a full-time member of Boston's Black Folks Theater Company, one of the oldest and most acclaimed black theater troupes in the country.[12]

While a student at Harvard, Harper befriended Barack Obama, with whom he played basketball.[13][14] In 2012, Harper was appointed to The President's Cancer Panel, a three-member body assigned to work with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and make recommendations to the White House around cancer policy.[15][16][17]

He subsequently moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He has received eight honorary degrees, including honorary doctorates from both Westfield State College and Howard University.[18]

Acting career[edit]

Harper speaking at the Missouri Theatre in 2014

His profile subsequently rose on both the mainstream and independent film circuits, thanks to roles in films ranging from Beloved (1998) to the independent romantic comedy Loving Jezebel (1999) to The Skulls (2000). Harper did some of his most acclaimed work in Jordan Walker-Pearlman's The Visit (2000), an independent drama in which he starred as a prisoner dying of AIDS who tries to put his life back together.[19] He also portrayed Leshem in the 2010 Syfy original movie Stonehenge Apocalypse.[20]

In February 2013, it was announced that CSI: NY would be ending and Harper would be joining the cast of Covert Affairs as a series regular.[21]

From April 21, 2015, to May 10, 2015, Harper starred as "Hard Rock" in the Off-Broadway play ToasT. The play (produced by Lemon Andersen and co-starred Keith David) is set in the Attica Prison around the time of its 1971 prison riot and tells of the lives of its prisoners using poetic prose.[22]

From May 1, 2018, to June 17, 2018, Harper starred as "Rooftop" in the Off-Broadway play Our Lady of 121st Street. This Dark Comedy (written by Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by Phylicia Rashad) is about former students paying their respects to Sister Rose, only to find that Sister Rose's body has been stolen.[23]

Hill Harper's acting career also includes voice-over work (or voice acting) with CSI:NY the Video Game, Breathe Bible, plus, podcasts called Legal Wars and 5-Factor Authentication.[24][25][26]

Writing career and political advocacy[edit]

Harper at a book signing in St. Louis in 2007

Harper is the author of several books: Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny, published in 2006; Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny, published in 2008; and The Conversation: How (Black) Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships, published in 2010. His books, The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place and The Wiley Boys were both published in 2011. His book, Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones was published in 2013. Both Barack Obama and Michelle Obama contributed to the books.[27]

In January 2008, Harper participated in "Yes We Can", a music video produced by will.i.am supporting presidential candidate Barack Obama. Harper is a member of the Obama for America National Finance Committee.[28]

Harper endorsed the 10,000 Bookbags[29] back-to-school backpack campaign to help local disadvantaged children with Urban Change Ministries founder Pastor Jay Cameron of the Life Center, and R&B singer Ginuwine.[30]

On February 22, 2016, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law announced that Harper would be their national spokesman.[31]

He is also the founder of the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship, scholarship, and grant programs.[32][33]

2024 U.S. Senate candidacy[edit]

On July 10, 2023, Harper announced his candidacy for the 2024 United States Senate election in Michigan, as a Democrat to replace retiring Senator Debbie Stabenow.[6][34] He is running to the left of U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin,[35] describing himself as the "most progressive candidate in the field." Harper has touted his support for universal healthcare and the abolition of the filibuster,[36] and if elected, would be the only U.S. senator who is also a union member, due to his membership in SAG-AFTRA.[37]

Harper gained attention in November 2023, after announcing that he had declined an offer of $20 million in campaign contributions that would have been contingent upon him dropping out of the Senate race and mounting a primary challenge against U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib.[38][39][40][41][42][43] He has called for a "humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza.[38][40][41][42][43]

Other endeavors[edit]

Be The Architect[edit]

After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Harper researched the effects skin care products can have on a person's system. This led to his creating an all-natural personal care line for men and women, called Be The Architect.[44][45][46]

The Black Wall Street[edit]

On May 31, 2021, Hill Harper & his partners launched The Black Wall Street, a web3 digital platform and financial literacy tool aimed at addressing the racial wealth gap.[47]

Annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day[edit]

In 2016, Harper was a keynote at the Annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day.[48]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In the fall of 2008, Harper was initiated as a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity with his Co-Initiates (called "Line Brothers") Dr. Naim Akbar of Florida State University and former NFL player Leo LeMarcus Newman.[49]

He was also a recipient of the 2011 Freedom Award, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions in civil rights and who have laid the foundation for present and future leaders in the battle for human rights. The award was conferred upon Harper from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis for "his nonprofit foundation, [the] Manifest Your Destiny Foundation."[50]

In 2018, the Audience Development Committee, Inc. (AUDELCO) nominated Hill Harper for a Vivian Robinson Award; Lead Actor in a Play, for his role as Walter "Rooftop" Desmond in the Off-Broadway play: Our Lady of 121st Street.[51]

On Sunday, December 5, 2021, the Boston, Massachusetts' Museum of African American History honored Hill Harper with a Living Legends award - The Garrison Silver Cup.[52]

People magazine named Hill Harper as one of the "Sexiest Men Alive" for 2004, and again for 2014.[53][54]

Personal life[edit]

While writing his book The Wealth Cure: Putting Money In Its Place, Harper was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After treatment, he was given a clean bill of health.[55]

In November 2015, Harper received a call to adopt a baby boy. He agreed, and by May 2017, the adoption was finalized.[56]

In 2018, Harper purchased and moved into the historic Charles T. Fisher Mansion in Detroit, Michigan.[57][58]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings Peter
1995 Drifting School Sam
1996 Get on the Bus Xavier
1997 Steel Slats
1997 Hav Plenty Michael Simmons
1997 Hoover Park
1998 The Nephew Chad Egan-Washington
1998 He Got Game Coleman 'Booger' Sykes
1998 Park Day Steve Johnson
1998 Beloved Halle
1999 Slaves of Hollywood Fisher Lovelace Feature Film[59]
1999 Loving Jezebel Theodorous
1999 In Too Deep Breezy T.
2000 The Skulls Will Beckford
2000 The Visit Alex Waters Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
2001 Higher Ed Craig
2002 The Badge Gizmo
2003 Love, Sex and Eating the Bones Michael Joseph
2004 America Brown John Cross
2005 Constellation Errol Hickman
2006 Max and Josh Max Short film[60]
2006 Premium Ed
2006 The Breed Noah
2006 30 Days Donnell
2006 Whitepaddy Marshall Evans
2008 A Good Man Is Hard to Find Damion Marshall
2008 This Is Not a Test Carl
2010 For Colored Girls Donald Watkins
2011 Mama, I Want to Sing! Jeff Andrews
2011 The Shanghai Hotel Carlos
2013 Miss Dial Political Nutcase
2013 The Volunteer Phil
2013 1982 Tim Brown
2014 Parts per Billion Rick
2015 The Boy Next Door Principal Edward Warren
2015 Pearly Gates Dave
2015 Concussion Christopher Jones
2016 Destined Mayor Jones
2017 All Eyez on Me Journalist Biographical film debuted Friday, June 16, 2017; what would have been Tupac Shakur's 46th birthday.[61]
2018 An Interview with God Gary Theater Release Dates: August 20, 21 & 22, 2018 only.
2019 The Sun Is Also a Star Lester Barnes Film debuted Friday, May 17, 2019, on Hill Harper's 53rd birthday.[62]
2020 The Prison Within Himself / narrator Documentary
TBA Shadowbox Harper is also an Executive Producer. The film's Developmental Short is called "Butterfly Boxing".[63]


Year Title Role Notes
1993 Life Goes On Nurse No. 2 Episode: "Incident on Main"
1993–94 Married... with Children Aaron Mitchell 5 episodes
1994 Renegade Clarence 'Dex' Dexter Episode: "South of 98"
M.A.N.T.I.S. Episode: "Tango Blue"
Walker, Texas Ranger B.J. Mays Episode: "Badge of Honor"
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Dana Episode: "Will Steps Out"
1995 The Client J-Top Episode: "Them That Has..."
Live Shot Tommy Greer Main role; 13 episodes
1996 NYPD Blue Bo-Bo Thomas Episode: "The Blackboard Jungle"
Dangerous Minds Darryl Episode: "Family Ties"
1997 Oddville, MTV Episode No. 44
ER Mr. Jackson Episode: "Obstruction of Justice"
1998 Cosby Preston Episode: "Men Are from Mars Women Are from Astoria"
Mama Flora's Family Don Television film
2000 City of Angels Dr. Wesley Williams Main role; 24 episodes
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
2002 The Court Christopher Bell Unsold TV pilot
The Twilight Zone Professor John Woodrell Episode: "Shades of Guilt"[64]
2003–04 The Handler Darnell Main role; 16 episodes
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Television Series
2004 Soul Food Kelvin Chadway 2 episodes
The Sopranos Stokley Davenport M.D. Episode: "Irregular Around the Margins"
CSI: Miami Dr. Sheldon Hawkes Episode: "MIA/NYC NonStop"
2004–13 CSI: NY Dr. Sheldon Hawkes Main role; 197 episodes
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2008–10)
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2005–07, 2011–13)
2005 I Love the '90s: Part Deux Himself Documentary miniseries
The 4400 Edwin Mayuya Episode: "Rebirth"
Lackawanna Blues Ruben Jr. (Adult) Television film
2009 The Game Himself Episode: "Hill Street Blues"
2010 Stonehenge Apocalypse Joseph Lesham Television film
2011 The Real Housewives of Atlanta Himself Episode: "Tour-Ture"
2013–14 Covert Affairs Calder Michaels Main role, 32 episodes
2015 Madam Secretary Aiden Humphrey Episode: "The Kill List"
2015–16 Limitless Spelman Boyle Main role; 22 episodes
Character named after Spelman College.
2016 Braxton Family Values Himself Episode: "You Gotta Get Pelvic to Pelvic!"
Unsung Hollywood Himself Episode: "Hill Harper"[65]
2017 The Real Housewives of Potomac Himself Episode: "Don't Let the Zip Code Fool Ya"
Homeland Chief of Staff, Rob Emmons 11 episodes[66]
2017–21 How It Really Happened Himself Host and Narrator of 12-episode anthology reality series.[67]
2017–23 The Good Doctor Dr. Marcus Andrews 105 episodes
2018 Black Love Himself Special Episode: "Motherly Love"
2019 The $100,000 Pyramid Himself Episode 409 (Season 4; Episode 9)
2020 Mentoring Kings Himself Docuseries
2022 Super Pumped Eric Holder Episode: "Delete Uber"


Year Title Role
2001 Dogeaters Joey Sands
2001 Blue (Adult) Reuben Clark
2015 ToasT Hard Rock
2018 Our Lady of 121st Street Walter "Rooftop" Desmond

Published works[edit]

  • Harper, Hill (2007). Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny. Gotham. ISBN 978-1592402496.
  • Harper, Hill (2009). Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny. Gotham. ISBN 978-1592404599.
  • Harper, Hill (2010). The Conversation: How (Black) Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships. Gotham. ISBN 978-1592405787.
  • Harper, Hill (2011). The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place. Gotham. ISBN 978-1592406500.
  • Harper, Hill (2011). The Wiley Boys. Harper Hill. ISBN 978-0974721873.
  • Harper, Hill (2013). Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones. Gotham. ISBN 978-1592407248.


  1. ^ a b "8 Things You Didn't Know About Actor Hill Harper" HuffPost Retrieved July 3, 2016
  2. ^ "8 Things You Didn't Know About Actor Hill Harper". HuffPost. June 15, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  3. ^ Palmeri, Tara (March 7, 2023). "Hill Harper Against the Machine". Puck. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (March 3, 2023). "The Good Doctor's Hill Harper Eyes U.S. Senate Run — Is Dr. Andrews Scrubbing Out Ahead of Potential Season 7?". TVLine. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  5. ^ Schneider, Elena (March 5, 2023). "Ambitions collide as rising Democrats consider higher office". POLITICO. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  6. ^ a b Frazier, Kierra (July 10, 2023). "Actor Hill Harper enters Michigan's 2024 Senate race". Politico. Retrieved July 10, 2023.
  7. ^ "Hill Harper: Biography, Latest News & Videos". TV Guide. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  8. ^ Huntley, Kristine (January 25, 2006). "Hill Harper". CSI Files. Retrieved May 10, 2007.
  9. ^ Lynn (May 4, 2007). "Hill Harper is Much More Than Meets the Eye". EveryJoe.com. Retrieved May 10, 2007.
  10. ^ "Wearing Purple" book Retrieved August 29, 2018
  11. ^ "Hill Harper bio". Manifest Your Destiny Foundation. Retrieved November 15, 2010. Archived July 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Miller, Kiley (December 15, 2007). "Actor returns to Iowa for Obama". The Hawk Eye. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  13. ^ Dani, Sarika (October 24, 2008). "Actor and Obama pal Hill Harper: 'He gets it right'". MSNBC. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  14. ^ Berman, Jillian (July 20, 2015). "What this CSI star and Barack Obama have in common". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on February 19, 2019. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  15. ^ Powell, Ronee (August 3, 2012). "Hill Harper To Join President Obama's Cancer Panel". Praise 94.5. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  16. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". whitehouse.gov. December 19, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  17. ^ "Improving Cancer-Related Outcomes with CONNECTED HEALTH" (PDF).
  18. ^ "Hill Harper has received 7 honorary doctorate degrees." Manifest Your Destiny Foundation's web site Retrieved April 19, 2016
  19. ^ Scott, A. O. (December 15, 2000). "Overcoming Bitterness On the Way to Redemption". The New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  20. ^ Foy, Scott (June 9, 2010). "Watch a Preview of the Stonehenge Apocalypse!". DreadCentral. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  21. ^ Ng, Philiana (February 22, 2013). "CSI: NY Star Hill Harper Joins Covert Affairs as Series Regular". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  22. ^ ToasT Opens in Public Theatre Archived September 4, 2017, at the Wayback Machine BroadwayBlack.com Retrieved July 24, 2016
  23. ^ Our Lady of 121st Street, Directed by Tony Winner Phylicia Rashad, Begins Off-Broadway Playbill. Retrieved May 2, 2018
  24. ^ Hill Harper, The Voice of Mark BreatheBible.com Retrieved September 18, 2017
  25. ^ "Legal Wars" from Wonderly Podnews.net Retrieved October 12, 2018
  26. ^ Norton Security & Hill Harper Announce New "5-Factor Authentication" Podcast Retrieved August 25, 2022
  27. ^ Watkins, Grouchy Greg (June 12, 2008). "Hill Harper: Art Of Life – Barack, Kanye, Self-Esteem and Letters to a Young Sister". AllHipHop. Retrieved April 17, 2023.
  28. ^ "Obama for America National Finance Committee". George Washington University. Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  29. ^ "Support Our 10,000 Bookbag Giveaway on 8.8.09". The Life Center – Urban Change. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  30. ^ Pendleton, Tonya (August 12, 2009). "Ginuwine, Hill Harper Lead Back-to-School Effort" Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. BlackAmericaWeb.com. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  31. ^ "Hill Harper Named as Lawyers' Committee's National Spokesperson" Archived April 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved February 22, 2016
  32. ^ "MLK speaker Hill Harper reminds audience 'we have the power': The University Record". record.umich.edu. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  33. ^ "Then and Now: Hill Harper". NHS. February 23, 2017. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  34. ^ Racker, Mini (July 10, 2023). "Hill Harper Wants Michigan Voters to Look Past His TV Fame". Time. Retrieved July 10, 2023.
  35. ^ Ulloa, Jazmine (July 10, 2023). "Hill Harper, 'Good Doctor' Actor, Enters Senate Race in Michigan". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  36. ^ Wagner, John (July 10, 2023). "Actor Hill Harper enters Democratic primary for a Senate seat from Michigan". Washington Post. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  37. ^ Holt, Matt (August 17, 2023). "Hollywood Actors Strike Casts Spotlight on Michigan Senate Race". The Messenger. Archived from the original on August 17, 2023. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  38. ^ a b Perano, Ursula; WU, Nicholas (November 22, 2023). "Donor allegedly offered $20M to recruit a Tlaib primary challenger". Politico. Retrieved November 22, 2023.
  39. ^ Mathur-Ashton, Aneeta (November 22, 2023). "Michigan Donor Allegedly Offered Senate Hopeful Hill Harper $20 Million Donation to Primary Rep. Tlaib". The Messenger. Archived from the original on November 22, 2023. Retrieved November 22, 2023.
  40. ^ a b Schouten, Fredreka (November 23, 2023). "Michigan Senate candidate Hill Harper said he was offered $20 million to mount a primary challenge against Rep. Rashida Tlaib". CNN. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  41. ^ a b Cameron, Chris (November 22, 2023). "Senate Candidate in Michigan Says He Was Offered $20 Million to Challenge Tlaib". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  42. ^ a b Lobo, Arpan (November 22, 2023). "Michigan Senate candidate Hill Harper: I turned down $20M to challenge Tlaib in primary". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  43. ^ a b Pequeño IV, Antonio (November 22, 2023). "Senate Candidate Hill Harper Claims He Rejected $20 Million To Run Against Rashida Tlaib". Forbes. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  44. ^ "Hill Harper Launches Men's and Women's Skin Care Line". Ebony. March 8, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  45. ^ "How Hill Harper's H2L & JUA Men and Women Skin Care Line May Improve Organ Health". TheBlackMedia.org. March 3, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  46. ^ Hill Harper Talks About His New Skin Care Line on The Steve Harvey Show on YouTube Retrieved April 28, 2017
  47. ^ Perkins, Njera (April 13, 2021). "Hill Harper Launches First Black-Owned Digital Wallet And Cryptocurrency Exchange App In U.S. History". AfroTech. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  48. ^ "Cancer Survivor and Actor Hill Harper Offers Words of Encouragement to ACS CAN Volunteers". American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. October 6, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  49. ^ "Actor Hill Harper Is INDUCTED into the African American Fraternity ALPHA PHI ALPHA"[permanent dead link]. Media Take Out. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  50. ^ "Freedom Award". National Civil Rights Museum.
  51. ^ 2018 AUDELCO Nominations Retrieved May 12, 2019
  52. ^ Massachusetts' Museum of African American History's 2021 Living Legends Gala Retrieved December 6, 2021
  53. ^ "Sexiest Men Alive List 2004"People Retrieved July 4, 2016
  54. ^ "Sexiest Men Alive List 2014 : Sexy at Every Age"People Retrieved July 4, 2016
  55. ^ Rhone, Nedra (August 22, 2011). "Actor Hill Harper cures his health and America's wealth". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on September 10, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  56. ^ "Hill Harper Reveals Adoption at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit 2017". blackenterprise.com. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  57. ^ Witsil, Frank. "Peek inside the Fisher Mansion gives glimpse of Detroit's past, future". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  58. ^ Feighan, Maureen (September 20, 2017). "Charles T. Fisher mansion to get a major makeover". The Detroit News. Retrieved July 26, 2023.
  59. ^ "Slaves of Hollywood" Retrieved February 20, 2017
  60. ^ "Max and Josh Film Short" Retrieved February 11, 2017
  61. ^ "Tupac's Highly-Anticipated Biopic Receives Official Release Date". November 22, 2016.
  62. ^ The Sun Is Also A Star movie trailer Retrieved May 2, 2019
  63. ^ Rice, Lynette. "Joslyn Rose Lyons Makes Directorial Debut With 'Shadowbox' Starring Hill Harper, J. Alphonse Nicholson". Deadline Hollywood.
  64. ^ "Shades of Guilt" Retrieved February 20, 2017
  65. ^ "Unsung Hollywood: Hill Harper" Retrieved November 10, 2017
  66. ^ "'Homeland' adds actors from 'The Flash,' 'Limitless'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  67. ^ "HLN Launches New Original Series 'How It Really Happened with Hill Harper' on January 27". Retrieved January 13, 2017.

External links[edit]