Francis Eugene Harper (born May 17, 1966), known professionally as Hill Harper, is an American film, television and stage actor, and author. He is best known for his nine-year role as CSI Sheldon Hawkes since the first season of CSI: NY. He recently played the role of Special Agent Spelman Boyle on the CBS television series Limitless and Marcus Andrews in the ABC medical drama series The Good Doctor.
Harper was born in Iowa City, Iowa, the son of Harry Harper, a psychiatrist, and Marilyn Hill, who was one of the first black practicing anesthesiologists in the United States. He has been acting since the age of 7. Harper graduated from Bella Vista High School in 1984. He then graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1988. In 1992 Harper graduated with a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. In addition, he also received his Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. During his years at Harvard, he was a full-time member of Boston's Black Folks Theater Company, one of the oldest and most acclaimed black theater troupes in the country. While a student at Harvard, Harper befriended Barack Obama. Harper and Obama met on the basketball court and became good friends during their first year as law students.
Although Harper earned three Ivy League degrees, he decided to pursue acting and moved to Los Angeles. He has received several honorary degrees, including honorary doctorates from both Westfield State Collegeand Howard University. Born Francis Eugene Harper, he adopted the name "Hill" as a tribute to both his maternal and paternal ancestors.
Harper's first roles in television began in 1993, doing recurring work on the Fox series Married... with Children while also making his film debut in the short Confessions of a Dog. He had his first substantial role in a feature film with Spike Lee's Get on the Bus (1996), which cast him as a UCLA film student riding a bus to the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. He went on to further demonstrate his versatility in such films as Christopher Scott Cherot's Hav Plenty (1997) and Lee's He Got Game (1998), the former of which featured him as an egotistical pop-soul singer.
His profile subsequently rose on both the mainstream and independent film circuits, thanks to roles in films ranging from Beloved (1998) to the independent romantic comedy Loving Jezebel (1999) to The Skulls (2000 - with his portrayal of Will Beckford), and for , an entry into the teen thriller genre. Harper did some of his most acclaimed work in Jordan Walker-Pearlman's The Visit (2000), an independent drama in which he starred as a prisoner dying of AIDS who tries to put his life back together.
His best-known role to date is that of coroner-turned-crime scene investigator Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on the CBS crime drama CSI: NY. He worked in the series for nine seasons. He also portrayed Leshem in the 2010 Syfy original movie Stonehenge Apocalypse.
In February 2013 it was announced that CSI: NY would be ending and Harper would be joining the cast of Covert Affairs as a series regular.
From April 21, 2015 to May 10, 2015, Hill Harper starred as “Hard Rock“ in the Off-Broadway play "ToasT". The play (produced by Lemon Andersen and co-starred Keith David) was set in the Attica Prison around the time of its 1971 prison riot and told of the lives of its prisoners using poetic prose.
Writing career and political advocacy
Harper is the author of several books: Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny, was published in 2006, Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny, was published in 2008; The Conversation: How (Black) Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships, was published in 2010. His books, The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place and The Wiley Boys were both published in 2011. And his book, Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Oneswas published in 2013.
In January 2008, Hill Harper participated in "Yes We Can", a music video supporting (Successful) Presidential Candidate Barack Obama. The "Yes We Can" music video was produced by will.i.am. Harper is a member of the Obama for America National Finance Committee. As of October 2009, Hill has made several contributions to political candidates, exclusively to Democrats. Harper endorsed the 10,000 Bookbags back to school backpack campaign to help local disadvantaged children with Urban Change Ministries founder Pastor Jay Cameron of the Life Center and R&B singer Ginuwine. Harper stated that he is a fiscal conservative when he appeared on the political talk show Hannity on September 10, 2009. On February 22, 2016 the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law announced that Hill Harper would be their National Spokesman.
Awards and recognition
In the fall of 2008, Harper was initiated as a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity with his line brothers Dr. Naim Akbar of Florida State University and former NFL player Leo LeMarcus Newman.
Harper won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for three consecutive years (2008–2010) for his portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on CSI: NY. Previously he had been nominated for the award for three consecutive years (2005–2007), for the same character. In 2000, he had also been nominated for the award, for his role in the medical drama City of Angels. On January 9, 2014 his book Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Non-Fiction.
People magazine named Hill Harper as one of the “Sexiest Men Alive” for 2004, and again for 2014.
While writing his book The Wealth Cure: Putting Money In Its Place, Hill was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After treatment, he was given a clean bill of health.
He has only one adopted son named Pierce Hill Harper, where he was agreed on May 2017.
- Hill and Anna Belknap who also appears in the short-lived series The Handlers from 2003 to 2004.
|1993||Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings||Peter|
|1996||Get on the Bus||Xavier|
|1997||Hav Plenty||Michael Simmons|
|1998||The Nephew||Chad Egan-Washington|
|1998||He Got Game||Coleman 'Booger' Sykes|
|1998||Park Day||Steve Johnson|
|1999||In Too Deep||Breezy T.|
|1999||Slaves of Hollywood||Fisher Lovelace|
|2000||The Skulls||Will Beckford|
|2000||The Visit||Alex Waters||Nominated-Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead|
|2003||Love, Sex and Eating the Bones||Michael Joseph|
|2006||Max and Josh||Josh||Short film|
|2008||This Is Not a Test||Carl|
|2008||A Good Man Is Hard to Find||Damion Marshall|
|2010||For Colored Girls||Donald Watkins|
|2011||Mama, I Want to Sing!||Jeff Andrews|
|2011||The Shanghai Hotel||Carlos|
|2013||Miss Dial||Political Nutcase|
|2014||Parts Per Billion||Rick|
|2015||The Boy Next Door||Principal Edward Warren|
|2017||All Eyez on Me||Journalist||In Post Production|
|1993||Life Goes On||Nurse #2||Episode: "Incident on Main"|
|1993–94||Married... with Children||Aaron Mitchell||5 episodes|
|1994||Renegade||Clarence 'Dex' Dexter||Episode: "South of 98"|
|1994||M.A.N.T.I.S.||Template:N/a||Episode: "Tango Blue"|
|1994||Walker, Texas Ranger||B.J. Mays||Episode: "Badge of Honor"|
|1994||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Dana||Episode: "Will Steps Out"|
|1995||The Client||J-Top||Episode: "Them That Has..."|
|1995||Live Shot||Tommy Greer||13 episodes|
|1996||NYPD Blue||Bo-Bo Thomas||Episode: "The Blackboard Jungle"|
|1996||Dangerous Minds||Darryl||Episode: "Family Ties"|
|1997||ER||Mr. Jackson||Episode: "Obstruction of Justice"|
|1998||Cosby||Preston||Episode: "Men Are from Mars Women Are from Astoria"|
|1998||Mama Flora's Family||Don||Television movie|
|2000||City of Angels||Dr. Wesley Williams||24 episodes|
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
|2002||The Court||Christopher Bell||Unsold TV pilot|
|2002||The Twilight Zone||Professor John Woodrell||Episode: "Shades of Guilt"|
|2003–04||The Handler||Darnell||16 episodes|
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Television Series
|2004||Soul Food||Kelvin Chadway||2 episodes|
|2004||The Sopranos||Stokley Davenport M.D.||Episode: "Irregular Around the Margins"|
|2004||CSI: Miami||Dr. Sheldon Hawkes||Episode: "MIA/NYC NonStop"|
|2004–13||CSI: NY||Dr. Sheldon Hawkes||197 episodes|
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2008–10)
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (2005–07, 2011–13)
|2005||The 4400||Edwin Mayuya||Episode: "Rebirth"|
|2005||Lackawanna Blues||Ruben, Jr. (Adult)||Television movie|
|2009||The Game||Himself||Episode: "Hill Street Blues"|
|2010||Stonehenge Apocalypse||Joseph Lesham||Television movie|
|2013–14||Covert Affairs||Calder Michaels||32 episodes|
|2015||Madam Secretary||Aiden Humphrey||Episode: "The Kill List"|
|2015-16||Limitless||Spelman Boyle||22 episodes|
|2016||Braxton Family Values||Himself||Episode: "You Gotta Get Pelvic to Pelvic!"|
|2017–present||The Good Doctor||Marcus Andrews||Regular series|