Countless theater, television, film and comedic endeavors have pushed David Alan Grier’s career to remarkable heights. His ability to excel across all mediums and contexts is a testament to his inherent sense of comic timing and creative drive. The three-time Tony and Grammy Award nominee is trained in Shakespeare, receiving an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama. Grier has received many accolades and awards throughout his career, not the least of which was his inclusion on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time.
Although Grier’s acting career is rooted in live theater, he perhaps is best known for his television work. He starred in all three seasons of the Image Award-nominated comedy series “The Carmichael Show.” He also starred as the iconic “Cowardly Lion” in the Emmy Award-winning 2015 live television production of “The Wiz Live!,” earning him two Image Awards and two Critics’ Choice Award nominations.
Grier’s television work is highlighted predominately by his turn as a principal cast member on the Emmy Award-winning “In Living Color” from 1990-1994, during which he created and portrayed some of the show’s most memorable characters. He starred in “DAG” from 2000-2001 and “Life with Bonnie” in 2003, which earned him Image Award and Golden Satellite Award nominations. In 2008, Grier created, wrote and starred in Comedy Central’s “Chocolate News.” He also starred in 2013 network comedy series “Bad Teacher.”
Additionally, Grier hosts the cable game show “Snap Decision,” and can be seen recurring in the second season of streaming comedy “A Series Of Unfortunate Events.”
On the big screen, Grier recently joined the cast of the independent drama “Sprinter,” produced by Will Smith, which will debut later this year. He also will appear in “Native Son,” the adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Richard Wright. Grier starred in the 2013 feature “Peeples,” opposite Kerry Washington and Craig Robinson, and produced by Tyler Perry; he appeared in the Wayans Brothers’ 2009 spoof, “Dance Flick”; and he was seen in the 1995 fantasy adventure “Jumanji.” He made his film debut in Robert Altman’s 1983 film, “Streamers,” for which he won the Golden Lion for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival.
Grier began his professional career on Broadway as Jackie Robinson in “The First,” for which he earned a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and won the Theatre World Award in 1981. He then joined the cast of “Dreamgirls,” before going on to star opposite Denzel Washington in ”A Soldier’s Play,” for which both actors reprised their roles in the film adaptation in 1984.
From 2009-2010, Grier starred in David Mamet’s acclaimed play, “Race,” opposite James Spader and Kerry Washington, for which he received his second Tony Award nomination. He received his third Tony nomination in 2012, for his performance in “The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess.” He received his first Grammy Award nomination in 2013, when the cast recording of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” was nominated for Best Musical Theater Album.
Grier recently wrapped a nationwide comedy tour, during which he was joined by “In Living Color” co-star Tommy Davidson. Last month, he also portrayed “Daddy Warbucks” in a performance of “Annie” at the Hollywood Bowl. His upcoming films include “Arizona,” a dark comedy in which he stars opposite Danny McBride, Kaitlin Olson and Rosemarie DeWitt (opening at the end of August); and “Sprinter,” about a Jamaican runner, in which he portrays the coach.
He lives in Los Angeles with his daughter, Lulu.