Dourdan was born Gary Robert Durdin in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Sandy, a teacher and fashion designer, and Robert Durdin, an entrepreneur and agent for jazz musicians. Dourdan is the second youngest of five children. When he was 6 years old, his older brother Darryl was murdered while on vacation in Haiti; the case remains unsolved. He moved with his family to Willingboro, New Jersey when he was in his youth. At this time his interests included acting, music, and martial arts. Later Dourdan moved to New York City and worked as a doorman at a rehearsal studio, where he met some of Manhattan's promising young artists.
Dourdan played in several bands in New York City in the early 1990s and acted in regional theatre around the tristate area. He received his first break when Debbie Allen cast him as Shazza Zulu on A Different World, based on a tape of him in an avant-garde play. In 1996, Dourdan appeared in the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman episode "Never On Sunday", where he played an assistant. In 1997, Dourdan played the character Christie, the first mate, crack-shot, and second in command of the spaceship Betty, in the film Alien Resurrection. He also appears in the films Playing God and Thursday, and on television starred in the Dick Wolf production Swift Justice and played a recurring role on the Showtime series Soul Food until he nabbed the part of Warrick Brown on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In 2007, he played the character Cameron, the boyfriend of Rowena Price (played by Halle Berry), in the film Perfect Stranger.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Dourdan's most popular role began as a cast member of the original CSI series, which debuted on October 6, 2000. He played analyst Warrick Brown who, viewers find out, has a checkered past fraught with gambling problems. By working in Las Vegas, the character is able to use his personal experiences from the street to help him throughout his career. Ultimately, he ends up battling his demons throughout the show instead of overcoming them.
In 2008, there was media speculation surrounding Dourdan's CSI contract negotiations with CBS. The parties could not reach a resolution, and as a result his contract was not renewed. It was reported on April 14, 2008, that Dourdan was leaving the show. In the Season 8 finale, Dourdan's character was shot and left for dead at the episode's end. The Season 9 premiere revealed Dourdan's character dying in the arms of his colleague and friend Gil Grissom.
Music and music videos
- Dourdan played Janet Jackson's love interest in the video for her 1993 hit "Again".
- He had a cameo appearance in the music video "Move the Crowd" by Eric B. and Rakim.
- Dourdan joined hip hop artist DMC (of Run-DMC) onstage at the Live 8 concert in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.
- He sang alongside Macy Gray at the 2005 Emmy Awards.
- Dourdan is an alternative musician and a record producer.
- TV Guide voted him the Sexiest CSI actor on TV in its 2008 "Sexiest" issue.
- He was the host of a BET spoken word show entitled Lyric Cafe.
- In 2008 he voiced the character Crispus Allen in three of the six short films for Batman: Gotham Knight. The animated short films were released straight to DVD and chronicled the time in between the films Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008).
- He portrayed Ray Carter in the video games FlatOut 2 and FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage.
- He portrayed Chef McKenna in the 2011 film Jumping the Broom.
Dourdan married model Roshumba Williams in 1992; the couple divorced two years later. He has two children: a son, Lyric, with Cynthia Hadden, and a daughter, Nyla, with Jennifer Sutton, whom Dourdan dated from 1995 to 2000.
Dourdan has African-American, American Indian, Jewish, French, Irish, and Scottish ancestry.
He collects classic cars and was featured on Season 1, Episode 3 of Street Customs.
Dourdan was arrested on April 28, 2008 in Palm Springs after a Palm Springs Police Department officer located "suspected cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, miscellaneous prescription drugs and paraphernalia" in his possession. He was subsequently booked at the Palm Springs jail on charges of possession of narcotics and possession of dangerous drugs.
On June 13, 2011, Dourdan was arrested after he crashed his vehicle into two parked cars. He was charged with drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. The drug possession charge was dropped two months later.
On November 6, 2011, Dourdan was arrested at his home in Venice, CA, following an alleged altercation with his former girlfriend, Nicole Vail Cannizzaro. Her nose was broken during the argument. He was charged with felony battery. He pleaded not guilty. On December 1, 2011, the judge issued a three-year restraining order against Dourdan and threatened him with jail time if it is violated.
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