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.

Early Life[]

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.

Acting Career[]

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.

Personal life[]

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.



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings Peter
1996 Get on the Bus Xavier
1997 Steel Slats
1997 Hav Plenty Michael Simmons
1998 The Nephew Chad Egan-Washington
1998 Beloved Halle
1998 He Got Game Coleman 'Booger' Sykes
1998 Park Day Steve Johnson
1999 In Too Deep Breezy T.
1999 Loving Jezebel Theodorous
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
2005 Constellation Errol Hickman
2006 Max and Josh Josh Short film
2006 The Breed Noah
2006 Premium Ed
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
2013 The Volunteer Phil
2013 1982 Tim Brown
2014 Parts Per Billion Rick
2015 The Boy Next Door Principal Edward Warren
2015 Concussion Christopher Jones
2017 All Eyez on Me Journalist In Post Production


Year Title Role Notes
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