William Jackson Harper

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William Jackson Harper
William Jackson Harper at the 2018 Comic-Con International (42913092745) (cropped).jpg
Harper at the 2018 Comic-Con International
Born William Fitzgerald Harper
(1980-02-08) February 8, 1980 (age 38)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 2007–present

William Fitzgerald Harper (born February 8, 1980), known professionally as William Jackson Harper, is an American actor. He stars as Chidi Anagonye on the NBC comedy The Good Place.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

William Fitzgerald Harper[3] was born on February 8, 1980, in Dallas, Texas.[4] He graduated from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in 2003.[5] He changed his name from William Fitzgerald Harper to William Jackson Harper due to union rules on stage names: "I just took my mom's maiden name and put that in the middle, which was nice, to be able to honor both of my parents."[3]


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

From 2009–2011, 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, 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 seasons of The Good Place, he had a leading role in Zoe Kazan's After the Blast at Lincon Center's Claire Tow Theatre.[14][15]


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 The Man in the Woods Buster Heath Post-production
2018 Lost Holiday Mark Post-production
2019 Midsommer Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Chayne Danforth Episode: "Self-made"
2009 Great Performances Melville Episode: "Harlem in Montmarte: A Paris Jazz Story"
2009 Mercy David Green Episode: "I Believe You Conrad"
2009–2013 The Electric Company Danny Rebus TV series; main cast
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 TV series; main cast
2016 Deadbeat Adam Episode: "Death List Three"
2017 The Breaks Stephen Jenkins 3 episodes

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


  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 2017-11-01. 
  4. ^ "William Jackson Harper | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Alumni • Santa Fe University of Art and Design". santafeuniversity.edu. Retrieved October 4, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Inside Playbill Gallery | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c Meslow, Scott (2018-01-04). "The Good Place's William Jackson Harper Had No Idea What He Was Auditioning For". GQ. Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. 
  8. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2016-02-12). "'Good Place' NBC Comedy Series Casts William Jackson Harper". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-01-30. 
  9. ^ Snierson, Dan (July 12, 2017). "'The Good Place' Star William Jackson Harper Promises 'Acupuncture and Pigs' in Season 2". EW.com. 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 (19 January 2017). "The Good Place ends an outstanding first season with its most masterful twist yet". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2018-01-30. 
  13. ^ Cleary, Skye (2017-06-21). "Philosophy on TV: "The Good Place"". Blog of the APA. Retrieved 2018-01-30. 
  14. ^ Theater, Lincoln Center. "After The Blast | Lincoln Center Theater". Lincoln Center Theater. Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  15. ^ Brantley, Ben (2017-10-23). "Review: Romancing the Bot in Zoe Kazan's 'After the Blast'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  16. ^ "William Jackson Harper". Ensemble Studio Theatre. Archived from the original on 30 January 2018. 
  17. ^ "William Jackson Harper theatre profile". www.abouttheartists.com. Retrieved 2018-01-30. 

External links[edit]