Mykelti Williamson

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Mykelti Williamson
Mykelti Williamson (31627443022).jpg
Williamson in 2016
Born (1957-03-04) March 4, 1957 (age 66)
Other namesMykel T. Williamson
Years active1978–present
(m. 1983; div. 1985)
Cheryl Chisholm
(m. 1989; div. 1991)
Sondra Spriggs
(m. 1997)

Mykelti Williamson (born March 4, 1957) is an American actor best known for his roles in the films Forrest Gump, 12 Angry Men (1997), Con Air and Ali, and the television shows Boomtown, 24, and Justified. In 2016, he portrayed Gabriel Maxson in Denzel Washington's acclaimed film adaptation of August Wilson's play Fences, reprising his role from the 2010 Broadway revival.

His other notable roles include Free Willy, Heat, Lucky Number Slevin, Three Kings, Black Dynamite, The Final Destination, ATL, Species II, and The Purge: Election Year.

Early life[edit]

Williamson was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the son of Elaine, a certified public accountant, and a father who was an Air Force Non-Commissioned Officer.[1] He is of African American descent and has stated he has Blackfoot ancestry. He has said that his name "Mykelti" means "spirit" in the Blackfoot language,[2] but this is untrue.[3]

Williamson began performing at the age of nine. Along with acting, he also danced as an alternate member of The Lockers troupe on Soul Train along with Fred Berry (star of TV sitcom What's Happening!!). At age nine, Williamson relocated to Los Angeles with his family. He studied television and film at Los Angeles City College. He audited acting classes at USC under the tutelage of Dr. Frank X. Ford Williamson, and was later transferred to Gene Evans Motion Picture School in San Jose, earning his certificate in Cinematography/Film Production.[citation needed]


Williamson began acting professionally as a child. His first TV appearances include Starsky and Hutch, Father Murphy, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, China Beach, and Midnight Caller. Perhaps his best-known television role was as program director Donovan Aderhold in the syndicated series The New WKRP in Cincinnati. Williamson also starred in PBS's TV series The Righteous Apples. The show focuses on the activities of The Righteous Apples, five Boston-area high school musicians, who in a troubled world, seek to help people in distress. Williamson was the lead singer of the group in the show in which he was just a teenager at that time.

His film debut was in Streets of Fire (1984). His credits include Wildcats (1986) with Goldie Hawn, Miracle Mile (1989), The First Power (1990) with Lou Diamond Phillips, Free Willy (1993), Forrest Gump (1994) with Tom Hanks, Waiting to Exhale (1995), Heat (1995), Soul of the Game (1996) with Delroy Lindo, Con Air (1997), Truth or Consequences, N.M. (1997), William Friedkin's TV version of 12 Angry Men (1997), Three Kings (1999), Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years (1999), Holiday Heart (2000), Black Dynamite (2009), The Final Destination (2009), and The Purge: Election Year (2016).

Williamson is best known as Private Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue in the Academy Award–winning 1994 film Forrest Gump. He also received favorable reviews when he played Negro league baseball player Josh Gibson in the HBO film Soul of the Game (1996).

Williamson has made many guest appearances in TV and film. His most recent film appearances have included Ali (2001),The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004), Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2005), ATL (2006), Lucky Number Slevin (2006), August Rush (2007), High School (2010), Convergence (2015), and Fences (2016). He was Juror #10 in the 1997 TV movie remake of 12 Angry Men (picking up the Ed Begley role). He also appeared in a short-lived TV series remake The Fugitive (CBS, 2000–2001). CBS cancelled the series after one season with a total of 22 episodes.

In 2002, he co-starred as Detective Bobby "Fearless" Smith in the critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful crime drama Boomtown.

Between 2007 and 2009, he appeared in seven episodes of CSI: NY as Chief Sinclair, reuniting him with his Forrest Gump co-star Gary Sinise. He was a main character in season 8 of 24 starring as Brian Hastings, the special agent in charge of the New York CTU.[4]

He had a recurring role as Ellstin Limehouse on the FX drama Justified. He was also cast as a homeless man named Terry in the third season of the ABC drama Nashville. Since October 2016, Williamson has had a recurring role as Admiral Chernow in Designated Survivor. In 2017, he began appearing on Chicago P.D..[5]

Personal life[edit]

Williamson was married to Miami Vice star Olivia Brown from July 2, 1983 until they divorced in 1985. He later married Cheryl Chisholm in 1989 with whom he had his first child, Phoenix.

He has been married to Sondra Spriggs since April 26, 1997; together they have two daughters, Nicole and Maya. The two were married during the filming of TNT's production of Buffalo Soldiers.

Williamson was charged with attempted murder in 1998 after he stabbed his ex-wife's boyfriend.The judge in that case denied further prosecution due to insufficient evidence. [6]



Year Title Role Notes
1979 Sunnyside Hot Dog
1984 Streets of Fire B.J. - The Sorels
1986 Wildcats Levander 'Bird' Williams
The Delta Force Delta Force Member
1987 Number One with a Bullet Casey
You Talkin' to Me? Thatcher Marks
1988 Miracle Mile Wilson
1990 The First Power Detective Oliver Franklin
1993 Free Willy Dwight Mercer
1994 Forrest Gump Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue
1995 Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home Dwight Mercer
How to Make an American Quilt Winston
Heat Sergeant Drucker
Waiting to Exhale Troy
1997 Truth or Consequences, N.M. Marcus Weans
Con Air Baby-O
Double Tap Agent Hamilton
12 Angry Men Juror #10
1998 Primary Colors Dewayne Smith
Species II Dennis Gamble
Gideon Coleman Walker
1999 Three Kings Colonel Horn
2001 Ali Don King
2004 The Assassination of Richard Nixon Harold Mann
After the Sunset Agent Stafford
2005 Get Rich or Die Tryin' Charlene's Stepfather
2006 Lucky Number Slevin Sloe
Fatwa Grady Frank
ATL Uncle George
2007 Spinning into Butter Aaron Carmichael
August Rush Reverend James
2008 Ball Don't Lie Dallas
Vice Sampson
2009 Black Dynamite Chicago Wind
My Summer Friend Romell Short
The Final Destination George Lanter
2010 High School Paranoid
2014 Hollows Grove F.B.I. Agent Jones
2015 Convergence Captain Miller
You Bury Your Own Detective Goodman
2016 The Purge: Election Year Joe Dixon
Fences Gabriel Maxson [7]
2018 Run the Race Coach Hailey
Canal Street Jackie Styles
Saint Judy Dikembe Mustafa
Thriller Detective Raymond Johnson
2019 Don't Let Go Bobby Owens
2020 Butter Professor Dunn[8]
Emperor Truesdale
The 24th Sgt. Hayes
2021 Clean Travis
2022 North of the 10 Cole Pruit


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Starsky & Hutch Bruce Episode: "Black and Blue"
1978 Salvage 1 Eddie Episode: "Golden Orbit: Part 1"
1979–81 The White Shadow Malcolm Gruner/Fred Episodes: "We're in the Money" & "Burnout"
1980 The Righteous Apples Charles "Big Neck" McMorris Main cast
1981 Freebie and the Bean Lemar Washington Episode: "Highway Robbery"
Father Murphy Lijah Episode: "Establish Thou the Works of Our Hands"
1982 Desperate Lives Jack TV movie
1983 Alice Player #1 Episode: "Carrie on the Rebound"
Hill Street Blues Raymond Hawkins Jr. Episode: "Moon Over Uranus: The Final Legacy"
1983–84 Bay City Blues Deejay Cunningham Main cast
1984 Gimme a Break! Waiter Episode: "Nell's Birthday"
1984–85 Cover Up Rick Recurring cast
Miami Vice Leon Jefferson/Sylvio Romulus Episodes: "Brother's Keeper" & "Tale of the Goat"
1984–86 Hill Street Blues Officer Ron Garfield Recurring cast (seasons 5-6), guest (season 7)
1986 The Love Boat James Russell Episode: "Spain Cruise: Part 1 & 2"
1987 J.J. Starbuck Calvin Episode: "First You've Got to Go to the Picnic"
1987–88 The Bronx Zoo Gus Butterfield Main cast
1988 Police Story: Monster Manor Officer Don Luntner TV movie
1988–91 Midnight Caller Deacon Bridges Main cast
1989 China Beach Jean Jacques Rousseau Episode: "Psywars" & "Promised Land"
1990 A Killer Among Us Greg Hopkins TV movie
1991–93 The New WKRP in Cincinnati Donovan Aderhold Main cast
1993 Other Women's Children Leonard TV movie
1994 Time Trax Luther Bell Episode: "Cool Hand Darien"
1995 The Outer Limits Dr. Michael Alders Episode: "The Second Soul"
1996 Soul of the Game Josh Gibson TV movie
1997 12 Angry Men Juror #10 TV movie
Buffalo Soldiers Cpl. William Christy TV movie
1999 Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years Papa Delany TV movie
1999–2000 The Hoop Life Marvin Buxton Main cast
2000 Holiday Heart Silas TV movie
2000–01 The Fugitive Lt. Philip Gerard Main cast
2002 Our America Graham Ellis TV movie
Touched by an Angel Tevis Lockwood Episode: "Ship-in-a-Bottle"
2002–03 Boomtown Detective Bobby "Fearless" Smith Main cast
2004 The Secret Service Mike Bradford TV movie
Monk Captain Walter Cage Episode: "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan"
2005 Third Watch Detective Dante Rice Episodes: "The 'L' Word" & "The Other 'L' Word"
2006 Justice Joshua Mortin Episode: "Prior Convictions"
2006–07 Kidnapped Virgil Hayes Main cast
2007 Raines Detective Bobby "Fearless" Smith Episode: "Pilot"
2007–09 CSI: NY Chief Brigham Sinclair Recurring cast (seasons 3-6)
2008 One Hogan Place Lt. Dardin TV short
2009 Psych Coach Sammy Winslow Episode: "Any Given Friday Night at 10PM, 9PM Central"
2010 24 Brian Hastings Main cast (season 8)
The Good Wife Mathew Wade [9] Episode: "On Tap"
2011 Have a Little Faith Donnie TV movie
Rizzoli & Isles U.S. Marshal Whitmore Episode: "Don't Stop Dancing, Girl"
2012 Single Ladies Pierce Episode: "All or Nothing"
2012–15 Justified Ellstin Limehouse Recurring cast (seasons 3-4 & 6)
2013 Twist of Faith Uncle Moe TV movie
Touch Detective Lang Recurring cast (season 2)
Lauren Prince Episode: "Episode #2.12"
2014 Scorpion General Ned Walker Episode: "Plutonium Is Forever"
Nashville Terry George Recurring cast (season 3)
Wild Blue Master Chief Donald Bowman TV movie
Clementine Ray TV movie
2015–16 Hawaii Five-0 Clay Maxwell Episode: "Ike Hanau" & "Umia Ka Hanu"
2016 Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders Brigadier General Yazee Zwane Episode: "Iqiniso"
Underground Moses Recurring cast (season 1)
2016–17 Designated Survivor Admiral Chernow Guest (season 1), recurring cast (season 2)
2017 Rebel Rene Knight Main cast
2017–18 Chicago P.D. Lieutenant Denny Woods Guest (season 4), recurring cast (season 5)
2018 Insecure Preacher Episode: "Obsessed-Like"
2018–19 Lethal Weapon Tom Barnes Recurring cast (season 3)
2020 Two Degrees T Episode: "Cigar Cave"
2021–22 Law & Order: Organized Crime Preston Webb Recurring cast (season 2) [10]
2022 The Holiday Stocking Robert TV movie


  1. ^ Mykelti Williamson profile,; accessed January 6, 2018.
  2. ^ Levine, Robert (July 30, 1994). "'Gump' Star Acts on His Versatility : Movies: Mykelti Williamson also writes and directs, but he's in no hurry to take complete control. 'This is such a collaborative art. . . . It's not about me.'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  3. ^ Jean, Frantz, Donald Russell, Norma (1995). Blackfoot Dictionary. University of Toronto Press. p. 141. OCLC 896338057.
  4. ^ "24 Hires Mykelti Williamson to Take Charge of CTU". Retrieved May 29, 2009.
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 18, 2017). "'Chicago P.D.': Mykelti Williamson Joins NBC Cop Drama As Recurring In season 5". Deadline. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  6. ^ "'Forrest Gump' Actor Acquitted in Stabbing". Los Angeles Times. September 5, 1998. Retrieved October 15, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Rosen, Lisa (December 1, 2016). "Mykelti Williamson looks forward to a life of service, now that 'Fences' has made life perfect". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  8. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (December 7, 2018). "Mykelti Williamson, Ravi Patel, Annabeth Gish, Newcomer Alex Kersting Plus More Join Mira Sorvino In 'Butter'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  9. ^ "'The Good Wife' review: Alicia and the dangers of cell-phone romance". Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  10. ^ Petski, Denise (August 25, 2021). "'Law & Order: Organized Crime': Lolita Davidovich, Mykelti Williamson, Guillermo Diaz & Dash Mihok Set To Recur On 'SVU' Spinoff". Deadline. Retrieved October 28, 2021.

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