David Alan Grier Headshot

David Alan Grier

Birth Place: Detroit, MI, USA

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David Alan Grier BIO

After graduating from Yale, Grier landed the role of Jackie Robinson in the short-lived Broadway musical The First, directed by Martin Charnin and written by Joel Siegel. Grier was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and won the Theatre World Award for The First. He got his start on the National Public Radio radio drama adaptation of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 1981. He was the voice of a nameless X-wing fighter pilot during the Battle of Yavin.

Grier later starred as James "Thunder" Early in the hit Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Grier made his film debut in 1983 in Streamers, directed by Robert Altman. He won the Golden Lion for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival for the film. He appeared in the Negro Ensemble Company production A Soldier's Play and reprised his role in the film version A Soldier's Story. Grier appeared as a geology professor at Hillman College in the show A Different World.

After his success on In Living Color, Grier began appearing in film comedies such as Boomerang, as Eddie Murphy's shy friend Gerard in 1992; Blankman, with Damon Wayans, in 1994; In the Army Now, as Fred Ostroff with Pauly Shore and Andy Dick, also in 1994; and as Carl Bentley, a factory employee turned police officer whose car is crushed and eaten by a giant pod in Jumanji in 1995. He played Rev. Leon Lonnie Love on the TV series Martin.

Grier appeared with Tom Arnold in the 1997 comedy McHale's Navy as Ensign Charles Parker. In 1999, he made a guest appearance as himself in the "Aw, Here it Goes to Hollywood" episode of Nickelodeon's sitcom Kenan & Kel. After the cancellation of In Living Color, Grier starred in the short-lived sitcoms The Preston Episodes, Damon (with In Living Color co-star Damon Wayans), and DAG. He had a cameo in the Robert De Niro and Edward Burns film 15 Minutes (2001) as a Central Park mugger. In a departure from the comedic roles he played on In Living Color, he portrayed an abusive father in Rusty Cundieff's anthology film Tales from the Hood.

In 2002, Grier joined the cast of the improv-based ABC sitcom and Bonnie Hunt vehicle Life with Bonnie which ran for two seasons. During this time, he continued to appear in comedy films but also returned to drama in the films Baadasssss! (2003) and The Woodsman (2004). He starred in his own Comedy Central stand-up special The Book of David: The Cult Figure's Manifesto. He is also a frequent guest on the Comedy Central show Crank Yankers. Grier was the host of the NBC show Thank God You're Here. He starred in Gym Teacher: The Movie (2008) playing the villain, Shelly Bragg. He appeared as Uncle Henry in the ABC 2005 television film The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.

Grier guest starred in Season 6 of Fox's Bones. He played Professor Bunsen Jude, the Science Dude, the host of a children's television program. This character was inspired by Bill Nye "the Science Guy".

In May 2013, Grier appeared in Tyler Perry Presents Peeples, playing the role of Virgil Peeples, alongside Kerry Washington and Craig Robinson. Also in 2013, Grier appeared in The Watsons Go To Birmingham, a Hallmark Channel adaptation of Christopher Paul Curtis' 1995 Newbery Honor-winning novel, The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963. He appeared on the CBS TV-adaptation of Bad Teacher, playing the role of principal Carl Gaines. He played the Cowardly Lion in NBC's live performance of The Wiz, which aired on December 3, 2015.

In 1998, Grier co-starred with Jon Stewart in Elmopalooza, as the director of Stewart's production crew, who he often chastises at Elmo and Telly after realizing what happened to the rest of the cast. In 2008, Grier starred in the Comedy Central series Chocolate News which had satirical sketches about current events and news stories. It lasted for one season of ten episodes. Grier appeared as Jimmy Dale in the series Queen Sugar appearing in Season 3 and played the role of Mr. Packard in the Paramount Pictures film Clifford the Big Red Dog.

In April 2022, it was announced that Grier would join the cast of the upcoming musical remake, The Color Purple. He is set to play Pastor Avery, the father of Shug Avery, a role also featured in the 1985 film of the same name.

In 2022, he starred in The Patient on Hulu with Steve Carell.

Grier returned to Broadway to perform in the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in 1997. He returned to Broadway for the premiere of Race, written and directed by David Mamet, opposite James Spader, Kerry Washington, and Richard Thomas, which opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on December 6, 2009. Grier received his second Tony nomination for the role. He also appeared in the revival production of The Wiz at the La Jolla Playhouse directed by Des McAnuff.

Grier appeared on Broadway as Sportin' Life in the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, which opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on January 12, 2012, alongside Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for this role. In addition to his Tony Award nomination, Grier received a 2013 Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album for his performance on the cast recording of the play.

In January 2020, Grier returned to the stage for the Broadway production of A Soldier's Play, this time playing Tech Sergeant Vernon C. Waters, the role originated by Adolph Caesar in the off-Broadway production. For this role, he won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

David Alan Grier Photos

David Alan Grier STAGE CREDITS

Roundabout Theatre Company's Original Broadway Production, 2020
Sergeant Vernon C. Waters

[Los Angeles]
Hollywood Bowl Production, 2018
Daddy Warbucks

[Motion Picture]
FOX Live Televised Production, 2017
Santa Claus

[New York]
NBC Live Television Production, 2015
Cowardly Lion

Broadway Revival, 2012
Sportin' Life

Original Broadway Production, 2009
Henry Brown

[San Diego, CA (Regional)]
La Jolla Revival, 2006
The Wiz

Closed on the road, 2005
Fernando Perez

Broadway Revival, 1996
Prologus [Replacement]

Pseudolus [Replacement]

Encores! Concert, 1996
Whitelaw Savory

Whitelaw Savory

Master Frank Ford


Original Broadway Production, 1981
James Thunder Early [Replacement]

Original Broadway Production, 1981
Jackie Robinson

David Alan Grier Movies

[ 1983 ] Roger
A Soldier's Story
[ 1984 ] Corporal Cobb
[ 1985 ] Elliott Morrison
From the Hip
[ 1987 ] Steve Hadley
Off Limits
[ 1988 ] Rogers
Me and Him
[ 1988 ] Peter Conklin
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
[ 1988 ] Newsman
Loose Cannons
[ 1990 ] Drummond
Almost an Angel
[ 1990 ] Det. Bill
[ 1992 ] Gerard
The Player
[ 1992 ] David Alan Grier
In the Army Now
[ 1994 ] Fred Ostroff
[ 1994 ] Kevin Walker
Tales from the Hood
[ 1995 ] Carl
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
[ 1995 ] Spike
[ 1995 ] Bentley
Top of the World
[ 1997 ] Detective Augustus
McHale's Navy
[ 1997 ] Ensign Charles Parker
Stuart Little
[ 1999 ] Red
Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby
[ 1999 ] Mr. Butz
3 Strikes
[ 2000 ] Detective Jenkins
Return to Me
[ 2000 ] Charlie Johnson
East of A
[ 2000 ] Brother James
The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle
[ 2000 ] Meures
15 Minutes
[ 2001 ] Mugger in Central Park
I Shaved My Legs for This
[ 2001 ] Strip Club Owner
[ 2002 ] Jerry Robin Jr.
[ 2003 ] Clyde Houston
The Woodsman
[ 2004 ] Bob
[ 2005 ] Jim Fields
Little Man
[ 2006 ] Jimmy
An American Carol
[ 2008 ] Rtus Malone
Kissing Cousins
[ 2008 ] The Griller
The Hustle
[ 2008 ] Rev. Isaac Montgomery Paid
The Poker House
[ 2008 ] Stymie
Dance Flick
[ 2009 ] Sugar Bear
Astro Boy
[ 2009 ] Mr. Squirt, Math Cowboy, Boxer Robot
Something Like a Business
[ 2010 ] 3D
Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs. Evil
[ 2011 ] Moss the Troll
[ 2013 ] Virgil Peeples
Road Hard
[ 2015 ] Michael Gerard
The Big Sick
[ 2017 ] Andy Dodd
[ 2018 ] Coburn
[ 2018 ] Coach
Native Son
[ 2019 ] Marty
Coffee & Kareem
[ 2020 ] Captain Hill
Clifford the Big Red Dog
[ 2021 ] Packard
The Color Purple
[ 2023 ] Rev. Avery

David Alan Grier TV Shows

A Black Lady Sketch Show
Preacher, Pastor
Comedy Bang! Bang!
Network President
Crank Yankers
Landanlius 'The Truth' Truefeld, Danny, Stompie
Jerome Daggett
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child
King Maynar, Dudley Bear, Bongo
In Living Color
Antoine Mayweather, Reginald McCort
Life with Bonnie
David Bellows, Jazz Moe
Rev. Leon Lonnie Love
My Wife and Kids
The Carmichael Show
Joe Carmichael
The Cool Kids

David Alan Grier Awards and Nominations

Drama Desk Awards - 2020 - Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play

David Alan Grier, A Soldier's Play

Drama League Awards - 2020 - Distinguished Performance Award

David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play

Outer Critics Circle Awards - 2020 - Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play

David Alan Grier, A Soldier's Play

Tony Awards - 2020 - Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

David Alan Grier, A Soldier's Play

Tony Awards - 2012 - Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

David Alan Grier, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

Tony Awards - 2010 - Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

David Alan Grier, Race

Theatre World Awards - 1982 - Performance

David Alan Grier, The First

Tony Awards - 1982 - Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

David Alan Grier, The First

David Alan Grier Videos

David Alan Grier News

'The American Society of Magical Negroes' is Available This Week

Justice Smith and David Alan Grier invite you to explore the secret magical society in Focus Features’ compelling and hilarious satire, THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MAGICAL NEGROES available exclusively on digital platforms to own or rent tomorrow, April 2, 2024, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
Photos: Go Inside Roundabout's 2024 Gala, Honoring Kenny Leon and the Rudin Family

Roundabout Theatre Company celebrated its 2024 Gala, honoring Kenny Leon and The Rudin Family. Check out the photos here!
EL COLOR PÚRPURA llega a los cines este viernes

Este viernes 9 de febrero llega a cines de toda España EL COLOR PÚRPURA, película dirigida por Sam Blitz Bazawe y producida por Oprah Winfrey que adapta el musical de Broadway basado en la novela de Alice Walker.
THE COLOR PURPLE is Now in UK Cinemas; Soundtrack Also Available Now!

The highly-anticipated motion picture The Color Purple has been released today in UK cinemas. A film about empowerment, the film's accompanying soundtrack, ‘The Color Purple (Music From and Inspired By)', is also available now.
Watch the First 10 Minutes of THE COLOR PURPLE With Whoopi Goldberg, 'Mysterious Ways' & More

The first 10 minutes of The Color Purple have been released, featuring Whoopi Goldberg's cameo and the opening number, 'Mysterious Ways.' The video also features Tamela Mann, Halle Bailey, David Alan Grier, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, and Deon Cole. It opens with Bailey and Mpasi singing 'Huckleberry Pie' as Celie and Nettie.
Interview: Arielle Crosby of THE COLOR PURPLE at The Garden Theatre

When she was studying vocal performance with an emphasis on operatic singing at Kentucky State University, Arielle Crosby discovered opera was not the only thing she could do well.
THE COLOR PURPLE Classes Come to Peloton This Month

A lineup of special The Color Purple classes are coming to Peloton, as part of the Broadway series. The classes will feature music from the 2023 film.
A SOLDIER'S PLAY Comes to WBTT This Month

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe continues its 2023-2024 season with the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, “A Soldier's Play,” which was written by Charles Fuller. WBTT and Goodman Theatre (Chicago, Ill.) resident director Chuck Smith returns to Sarasota to direct.
THE COLOR PURPLE Box Office Numbers Fall After Christmas Opening

The Color Purple made an estimated $4.8 million from 3,218 theaters in the United States and Canada this weekend. This puts the film in seventh place at the box office, behind George Clooney’s “The Boys in the Boat,' which is open at only 2,687 theaters.
Barack Obama Places THE COLOR PURPLE Among His Favorite Films of 2023; Says He 'Loved It'

Barack Obama has added The Color Purple as a late addition to his favorite films of 2023. The former President took to X to share that he 'loved it,' receiving an enthusiastic response from Danielle Brooks. Read the reviews of the film now and find out its latest box office update!
THE COLOR PURPLE Hits $25 Million at the Box Office

The Color Purple has hit $25 million at the box office, building on its impressive $18 million debut. The box office feat shows displays a resurgence for movie musicals at the box office, setting the stage for Mean Girls on January 12.
Video: Watch Fantasia Barrino Perform 'I'm Here' During THE COLOR PURPLE Table Read

Watch a video of Fantasia Barrino performing 'I'm Here' during The Color Purple table read. The American Idol alum's co-star, Colman Domingo, took to Instagram to share the clip. The new film also features Danielle Brooks reprising her Tony-nominated Broadway performance as Sofia, along with H.E.R., Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, and more.
THE COLOR PURPLE Tops Christmas Day Box Office With $18 Million Debut; Ties With LES MISERABLES

The Color Purple topped the Christmas Day box office with a $18 million debut. The film's debut was 'much bigger' than was anticipated, tying with 2012's Les Miserables film for Christmas Day grosses in movie theaters. The film stars Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Taraji P. Henson, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Colman Domingo, and more.
A Guide to THE COLOR PURPLE Musical Songs: What Was Cut & Added For the New Movie Musical

The Color Purple movie musical features several new songs with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. With the additional of new material, some of the songs from the stage production have been cut. Check out a guide to new and old songs from The Color Purple on Broadway and on screen below!
Review Roundup: THE COLOR PURPLE Movie Musical Starring Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks & More; What Did the Critics Think?

Read the reviews for The Color Puprle movie musical! It stars Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks reprising the roles that they previously played on Broadway, plus Taraji P. Henson, Halle Bailey, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, and more. Find out what critics thought of Oprah Winfrey's new film now!
Listen: THE COLOR PURPLE Musical Film Official Soundtrack is Available Now

The Official Soundtrack for the forthcoming The Color Purple musical film is available now!  ‘The Color Purple (Music From and Inspired By)' Soundtrack is a powerhouse R&B/Pop album, featuring the film's ensemble cast. Listen to the album here!
Oprah Faced Pressure to Cast Beyoncé & Rihanna in THE COLOR PURPLE

Oprah has revealed that she faced pressure to cast stars like Beyoncé and Rihanna in The Color Purple movie musical. Winfrey shared that while the original film was a commercial success, there was still concern from producers over selling the movie musical adaptation to audiences.
Video: Watch Danielle Brooks Sing 'Hell No!' In THE COLOR PURPLE Trailer

A new trailer for The Color Purple has been released, featuring Danielle Brooks singing 'Hell No!' Megan Thee Stallion will be featured on a remix of 'Hell No!' on the soundtrack. Watch the video, also with Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Halle Bailey, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, H.E.R., Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Jon Batiste, and more.
THE COLOR PURPLE Stars Will Sit Down With Whoopi Goldberg on THE VIEW Next Week

The cast of The Color Purple, including Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Taraji P. Henson and director Blitz Bazawule, will sit down on The View. The episode will mark the first time that Fantasia has spoken to Whoopi Goldberg about playing the role of Celie in the new movie musical adaptation of The Color Purple.
Broadway Streaming Guide: Holidays 2023 - Where to Watch WHITE CHRISTMAS, THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL & More

From Hannah Waddingham's new Christmas special to classics like The Muppet Christmas Carol, see which holiday streaming titles are sure to bring any Broadway fan some extra merriment this year. Check out our complete guide to what Broadway fans should be streaming this holiday season on Netflix, Peacock, Disney+, and more now!


How many Broadway shows has David Alan Grier been in?

David Alan Grier has appeared on Broadway in 7 shows.

How many West End shows has David Alan Grier been in?

David Alan Grier has not appeared in the West End.

What awards has David Alan Grier been nominated for?

David Alan Grier has been nominated for several awards, including Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play at the Drama Desk Awards for "A Soldier's Play," Distinguished Performance Award at the Drama League Awards for "A Soldier’s Play," Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play at the Outer Critics Circle Awards for "A Soldier's Play," Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play at the Tony Awards for "A Soldier's Play," Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical at the Tony Awards for "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess," Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play at the Tony Awards for "Race," Performance at the Theatre World Awards for "The First," and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical at the Tony Awards for "The First."

What awards has David Alan Grier won?

David Alan Grier has won the Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play from the Outer Critics Circle Awards for "A Soldier's Play," the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play from the Tony Awards for "A Soldier's Play," and a Performance award from the Theatre World Awards for "The First."

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