William Jackson Harper

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William Jackson Harper
William Jackson Harper at the 2018 Comic-Con International (42913092745) (cropped).jpg
William Fitzgerald Harper

(1980-02-08) February 8, 1980 (age 39)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Alma materCollege of Santa Fe
Years active2007–present

William Jackson Harper (born William Fitzgerald Harper; February 8, 1980), is an American actor. He portrays Chidi Anagonye on the NBC comedy The Good Place (2016–present).[1][2]

Early life[edit]

William Fitzgerald Harper[3] was born on February 8, 1980, in Dallas, Texas.[4] He graduated from the College of Santa Fe in 2003.[5] Harper chose the stage name "William Jackson Harper" when registering for the Actors' Equity Association; most permutations of "William Harper" were already in use, and he thought that "Fitzgerald" was too long. Harper opted to use the middle name "Jackson", his mother's maiden name, to honor her.[3]


Harper made his Broadway debut in 2014, cast as James Harrison and Stokely Carmichael in All the Way.[6]

From 2009 to 2011, Harper starred in the PBS children's series The Electric Company.[7]

In 2016, Harper was cast on the NBC comedy The Good Place.[8] Before landing the role of Chidi Anagonye, he considered quitting acting.[9][10] Harper did not learn about the show's real premise until after he was cast.[7][11] His performance has received critical praise.[7][12][13] In 2017, in between filming the show's first and second seasons, he had a leading role in Zoe Kazan's After the Blast at Lincoln Center's Claire Tow Theatre.[14][15] He was in the podcast 1865.



Year Title Role Notes
2010 All Good Things Moynihan's Assistant
2012 That's What She Said Harry
2015 True Story Zak Rausch
2016 Paterson Everett
2018 They Remain Keith
2019 Midsommar Josh
2019 Dark Waters James Ross
TBA The Man in the Woods Buster Heath Post-production
TBA Lost Holiday Mark Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Chayne Danforth Episode: "Self-made"
2009 Great Performances Melville Episode: "Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story"
2009 Mercy David Green Episode: "I Believe You Conrad"
2009–2013 The Electric Company Danny Rebus 52 episodes
2010 Law & Order Officer Derek Waldron Episode: "Boy on Fire"
2011 30 Rock Rioter Episode: "Plan B"
2013 Unforgettable Andry Fotre aka Willis Episode: "Incognito"
2014 High Maintenance Andrew Episode: "Geiger"
2015 Person of Interest Strobel Episode: "Control-Alt-Delete"
2015 The Blacklist Security Episode: "Tom Connolly (No. 11)"
2016–present The Good Place Chidi Anagonye Series regular
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
2016 Deadbeat Adam Episode: "Death List Three"
2017 The Breaks Stephen Jenkins 3 episodes
2019 Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Xander 2 episodes


Harper has also appeared in stage productions of Ruined and An Octoroon.[16][17]

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref
2019 Critics' Choice Television Award Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series The Good Place Nominated [18]


  1. ^ Saclao, Christian (September 26, 2016). "'The Good Place' Actor William Jackson Harper on Playing Kristen Bell's Onscreen Soulmate in the NBC Series". International Business Times. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  2. ^ Charles, Marissa (September 19, 2016). "William Jackson Harper on Starring in NBC's 'The Good Place'". Ebony. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Pape, Allie. "William Jackson Harper on the Other Good Place Character He'd Like to Play". Vulture. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  4. ^ "William Jackson Harper". Playbill. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "Alumni". Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Inside Playbill Gallery". Playbill. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Meslow, Scott (January 4, 2018). "The Good Place's William Jackson Harper Had No Idea What He Was Auditioning For". GQ. Archived from the original on January 30, 2018.
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 12, 2016). "'Good Place' NBC Comedy Series Casts William Jackson Harper". Deadline. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  9. ^ Snierson, Dan (July 12, 2017). "'The Good Place' Star William Jackson Harper Promises 'Acupuncture and Pigs' in Season 2". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  10. ^ Magee, Ny (September 25, 2016). "'The Good Place' Saved William Jackson Harper From Quitting Hollywood". EURweb. Archived from the original on January 30, 2018.
  11. ^ Radish, Christina (October 5, 2017). "'The Good Place': William Jackson Harper on That Big Twist and Season 2 Challenges". Collider. Archived from the original on January 30, 2018.
  12. ^ Perkins, Dennis (January 19, 2017). "The Good Place ends an outstanding first season with its most masterful twist yet". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  13. ^ Cleary, Skye (June 21, 2017). "Philosophy on TV: "The Good Place"". American Philosophical Association. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  14. ^ "After The Blast". Lincoln Center Theater. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  15. ^ Brantley, Ben (October 23, 2017). "Review: Romancing the Bot in Zoe Kazan's 'After the Blast'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "William Jackson Harper". Ensemble Studio Theatre. Archived from the original on January 30, 2018.
  17. ^ "William Jackson Harper theatre profile". AboutTheArtists.com. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  18. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (January 13, 2019). "'Roma,' 'The Americans' and 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Win Top Critics' Choice Honors". Variety. Retrieved October 18, 2019.

External links[edit]