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Ron Glass

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Ron Glass
Glass at the Serenity film premiere in 2005
Ronald Earle Glass

(1945-07-10)July 10, 1945
DiedNovember 25, 2016(2016-11-25) (aged 71)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeRose Hills Memorial Park
Alma materUniversity of Evansville (BA)
Years active1972–2014
Known forDetective Ron Harris (Barney Miller)
Shepherd Derrial Book (Firefly and Serenity)

Ronald Earle Glass (July 10, 1945 – November 25, 2016) was an American actor. He was known for his roles as literary Det. Ron Harris in the television sitcom Barney Miller (1975–1982), and as the spiritual shepherd, Shepherd Book, in the science fiction series Firefly (2002) and its sequel film Serenity (2005).

Early life[edit]

Glass was born in Evansville, Indiana, the son of Lethia and Crump Glass.[1]

After graduating from St. Francis Seminary in 1964, Glass attended the University of Evansville, where he received a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in drama and literature. Years later, the university awarded him its Medal of Honor. Glass said in 2007 he knew while he was in college that he wanted to act. With a teacher's encouragement, he performed in a play and went on to an acting career.[citation needed]


Glass (second from the left) with cast of Barney Miller, 1977

Glass made his stage debut at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before moving to Hollywood. His earliest TV appearances include episodes of Sanford and Son in 1972, an episode of Hawaii Five-O in 1973, an episode of Maude in 1973, an episode of All in the Family in 1973, an episode of The Bob Newhart Show, and episodes of Good Times in 1974. In 1975, he landed the role of Det. Ron Harris in Barney Miller, which ran until 1982.

The following season, Glass co-starred with Demond Wilson on television in a remake of The Odd Couple, called The New Odd Couple. On December 13, 1985, he played a soul-collecting devil opposite Sherman Hemsley's mathematics professor in an episode of the revived Twilight Zone series. In 1992, he co-starred in the sitcom Rhythm and Blues, a kind of "black WKRP", playing "the fifth Top" opposite Roger Kabler.

In 1996, Glass was cast as uptight history teacher Roland Felcher in NBC sitcom Mr. Rhodes opposite comedian Tom Rhodes. In 1999, he appeared in two episodes of NBC sitcom Friends as Ross Geller's divorce lawyer, Russell.[2][better source needed]

After that, Glass appeared in dozens of television series, including sitcoms such as Family Matters and the series Teen Angel, where he played God's cousin Rod. He had a guest appearance in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Nightingale". He was a series regular in the science fiction series Firefly (2002) and the sequel film Serenity (2005), in which he played Derrial Book, a Christian[3] "Shepherd" with a mysterious past. Glass provided the voice of Randy Carmichael for the Nickelodeon series All Grown Up! and Rugrats, and the character Garth in the video game Fable II. In 2008 he appeared in the film Lakeview Terrace alongside Samuel L. Jackson and starred in the 2010 version of Death at a Funeral as Duncan.[citation needed]

Personal life and death[edit]

Glass never married, and though raised Catholic became a devout Buddhist, and a member of Soka Gakkai International.[4][5] He died of respiratory failure on November 25, 2016, at the age of 71.[6][7] He is interred at the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, California.



Year Title Role Notes
1974 The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder Quintus
1983 Sound of Sunshine – Sound of Rain Narrator Short film
1988 Deep Space Jerry Merris
1995 Houseguest Dr. Derek Bond
1996 It's My Party Dr. David Wahl
1997 Back in Business Allen Smith
1999 Deal of a Lifetime Mr. Creighton
Unbowed President Duquesne
2001 Recess: School's Out Dr. Lazenby / Tech #2 (voice)
2005 Serenity Shepherd Derrial Book
2008 Lakeview Terrace Harold Perreau
2010 Death at a Funeral Duncan
2012 Strange Frame Philo D Grenman


Year Title Role Notes
1972–1974 Sanford and Son Hucklebuck / Herman Edwards Episodes: "The Card Sharps", "Once a Thief"
1973 All in the Family Jack Episode: "Everybody Tells the Truth"
Beg, Borrow, or Steal Ray Buren TV film
Shirts/Skins Mr. Brown TV film
Maude Whitnauer Fulton Episode: "Florida's Affair"
Hawaii Five-O J. Paul Episode: "Tricks Are Not Treats"
The Bob Newhart Show Elevator Repairman Episode: "Fit, Fat and Forty One"
Griff Dietrich Episode: "Elephant in a Cage"
Insight Courtney Rickell Episode: "Reunion"
1974 The New Adventures of Perry Mason Mark Borden Episode: "The Case of the Tortured Titan"
Change at 125th Street John Morse TV short film
Good Times Mr. Pearson / Henry Anderson Episodes: "Crosstown Buses Run All Day, Doodah, Doodah"
"The Encyclopedia Hustle"
The Streets of San Francisco Earl Episode: "Rampage"
1975 Let's Switch! LaRue Williams TV film
Insight Courtney Rickell Episode: "Class Reunion"
Foster and Laurie Doctor #2 TV film
When Things Were Rotten Black Knight Episode: "This Lance for Hire"
1975–1982 Barney Miller Det. Ron Harris Regular role (164 episodes)
1976 The Streets of San Francisco Arlen Washington Episodes: "The Thrill Killers: Part 1 & 2"
1978 Crash Jerry Grant TV film
1981 Hart to Hart Conductor Slattery Episode: "Hartland Express"
1982–1983 The New Odd Couple Felix Unger Regular role (18 episodes)
1985 Gus Brown and Midnight Brewster Midnight Brewster TV film
The Twilight Zone Demon Episode: "I of Newton"
1986 Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star Eric Brenner TV film
1987 227 Robert Stone Episodes: "The Audit", "There Goes the Building"
1988 Sonny Spoon Episode: "Deuces Wild"
1989 Family Matters Buddy Goodrich Episode: "False Arrest"
1989–1991 Amen Jason Lockwood Episodes: "Witness for the Defense",
"Miracle on 134th Street: Parts 1 & 2",
1991 The New Adam-12 Logan Mills Episode: "D.A.R.E."
1992 Murder, She Wrote Lt. Hanrahan Episode: "Incident in Lot #7"
The Royal Family Deacon Hudson Episode: "The Sneakin' Deacon"
1992–1993 Rhythm & Blues Don Phillips Main role (13 episodes)
1993 Designing Women Punch Episode: "It's Not So Easy Being Green"
1993-2001 Rugrats Randy Carmichael (voice) TV series (6 episodes)
1994 Aladdin Kwanseer (voice) Episode: "Bad Mood Rising"
1996–1997 Mr. Rhodes Ronald Felcher Regular role (17 episodes)
1997 Superman: The Animated Series News Anchorman (voice) Episode: "Blasts from the Past: Part II"
The Practice Judge Kent Episode: "Reasonable Doubts"
1997–1998 Teen Angel Rod Regular role (17 episodes)
1999 Incognito Marcus Courtland TV film
Twice in a Lifetime Charlie Summers / Charlie Winters Episode: "The Blame Game"
Friends Russell Episodes: "The One Where Ross Hugs Rachel",
"The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance"
2000 Jack & Jill Mr. Small Episode: "Animal Planet: Part 1"
Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane Prof. Bradford Episode: "Too Much Pressure"
Star Trek: Voyager Loken Episode: "Nightingale"
2001 Rude Awakening Joseph Episode: "Ode to Billie and Joe"
Yes, Dear Dr. Bradley Episode: "The Big Snip"
The Education of Max Bickford Graham Redmond Episode: "Pilot"
The Proud Family The Talking Baby (voice) Episodes: "Spelling Bee", "Makeover", "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thingy, Baby", "Surf and Turf"
2002 Firefly Shepherd Derrial Book Main role (14 episodes)
2004 The Division Barry Episode: "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here"
2004–2008 All Grown Up! Randy Carmichael (voice) Recurring role (12 episodes)
2006 Secret History of Religion: Doomsday – Book of Revelation Reenactor TV film
Secret History of Religion: Knights Templar Reenactor TV film
2006–2007 Shark Judge Stewart Fenton Episodes: "Dr. Feelbad", "Dial M for Monica", "Student Body"
2008 Dirty Sexy Money D.A. Dennis Ford Episodes: "The Star Witness", "The Verdict"
2011 CSI: NY Colby Glass Episode: "To What End?"
2013, 2014 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Dr. Streiten Episode: "Pilot", "The Magical Place"
2013 Major Crimes Clayton Carter Episode: "There's No Place Like Home" (s02e09)
2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Paul Lomax Episode: "Killer Moves" (Final role)

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2008 Fable II Garth Voice
2014 Ancient Space Colonel Edwards / Professor Risseau Voice; (Final role)


  1. ^ "Ron Glass Biography (1945–)". Film Reference. Archived from the original on May 3, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "Ron Glass". IMDb.[unreliable source?]
  3. ^ Whedon, Firefly: The Official Companion Volume One, 166.
  4. ^ Nielsen, Euell A. (25 October 2020). "RONALD EARLE GLASS (1945-2016)". BlackPast.org. BlackPast.org. Archived from the original on 12 February 2021. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  5. ^ McDonald, Soraya Nadia (December 2, 2016). "Remembering 'Barney Miller' actor Ron Glass". Andscape. ESPN. Archived from the original on 28 September 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  6. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (November 26, 2016). "'Barney Miller' and 'Firefly' Star Ron Glass Dead at 71". TVLine. Archived from the original on November 27, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  7. ^ Rogers, John (November 26, 2016). "Ron Glass, co-star of TV's 'Barney Miller' dead at 71". The News & Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 27, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.

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