Courtney B. Vance

Courtney B. Vance

Highest Rated: 100% Hamburger Hill (1987)

Lowest Rated: Not Available

Birthday: Mar 12, 1960

Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, USA

This no-nonsense, Ivy-educated, stage-trained player parlayed his success on the boards into increasingly substantial work in TV and films. A history major as a Harvard undergraduate, Vance began acting in college and joined Shakespeare and Company, a theater company in nearby Lenox, Massachusetts. He went on to further hone his thespian skills at the Yale School of Drama. While there, Vance originated the role of Cory, son of a formidable James Earl Jones, in the Yale Rep production of August Wilson's award-winning "Fences." In 1987, he made his Broadway debut reprising the role. Vance's performance garnered critical kudos, a Theatre World Award and a Tony nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Play. His other stage credits included the 1988 New York Shakespeare Festival production of "Romeo and Juliet," Athol Fugard's "My Children! My Africa!" (1989), for which he won an OBIE Award and a starring role in the Broadway production of John Guare's "Six Degrees of Separation," which brought Vance yet another Tony nomination. When "Six Degrees of Separation" came to the big screen as a 1993 feature, Stockard Channing reprised her role from Broadway but Vance could not even get a meeting to read for the role of the charismatic liar Paul, the self-proclaimed son of Sidney Poitier. Though he had already had significant experience in film and TV, the producers opted for a "name" actor--the better known, if less trained, rapper-cum-sitcom star Will Smith. Vance responded by developing another strategy for Hollywood success. He networked with fellow Harvard alumni in the industry to land meaty TV roles in high-minded cable movies such as "The Tuskegee Airmen" and "The Affair" (both HBO, 1995) and "Race to Freedom: The Underground Railroad" (Family Channel/BET, 1994) and classy network specials like the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson" (CBS, 1995) and Tom Griffin's "The Boys Next Door" (CBS, 1996). These projects displayed Vance's range as he variously played a love-struck slave with aspirations to escape North ("Race to Freedom"), a sweet-natured dimwit ("The Piano Lesson"), an innocent black G.I. in love with a married white woman in WWII England ("The Affair") and a severely mentally challenged man in a group home ("The Boys Next Door"). In features, Vance has successfully cultivated an image of dignity and restraint. He was the outspoken medic Doc in the war drama "Hamburger Hill" (1987) and a submarine sonar specialist in "The Hunt for Red October" (1990). Vance gained attention with his interpretation of the role of Jim in a Disney retelling of Mark Twain's classic "The Adventures of Huck Finn" (1993). He strayed from the outdated renditions of the Jims of old, creating a more intelligent figure and bringing weight and sadness to a man whose only desire is to be free. He also convinced as a subdued Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, in Mario and Melvin Van Peebles' "Panther" and a soft-spoken traditionalist high school principal in "Dangerous Minds" (both 1995). Vance held his own against glamorous headliners Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston as he played the frustrated minister in Penny Marshall's romantic comedy fantasy "The Preacher's Wife" (1996). Vance married renowned actress Angela Bassett in 1997 and continued to win key roles in notable productions, including William Friedkin's acclaimed multiracial made-for-TV update of "12 Angry Men" (Showtime). He received accolades for his lead turn in the legal feature "Blind Faith" (1998), and appeared in Robert Altman's small-town dramedy "Cookie's Fortune" (1999), both films that co-starred Charles S. Dutton. After playing an astronaut in the Clint Eastwood movie "Space Cowboys" (2000), Vance portrayed the title character in Showtime's "Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story" (2002), a real-life tale of misplaced Texan justice. Gravitating more towards television, he joined the cast of the procedural drama spin-off "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC/USA, 2001-2011) as by-the-book assistant district attorney Ron Carver, a role that he held for five seasons. Following a recurring role on the medical drama series "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009), Vance became a regular on the much-touted high-concept drama "FlashForward" (NBC, 2009-2010), but the show was cancelled after one season, giving him a window to appear on episodes of "The Closer" (TNT, 2005-2012). Returning more prominently to movies, Vance had supporting roles in the thoughtful drama "Extraordinary Measures" (2010), starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser, and the tense thriller "The Divide" (2011), before playing a skeptical FBI agent in the hit horror sequel "Final Destination 5" (2011). Notably switching gears for the warm, folksy gospel movie "Joyful Noise" (2012), he also turned up briefly on the TV mystery series "Revenge." In 2013, Vance successfully returned to his theater roots, playing editor Hap Hairston in the tabloid-centric Nora Ephron play "Lucky Guy," a performance that won him a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor. After appearing in "Terminator Genisys" (2015), a critically unsuccessful reboot of the action franchise, Vance returned to television as defense attorney Johnnie Cochran in "American Crime Story" (FX 2016- ).

Highest rated movies

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
Hamburger Hill
12 Angry Men
The Tuskegee Airmen
The Hunt for Red October
Cookie's Fortune
Nothing but the Truth




61% 46% Project Power Captain Crane (Character) - 2020
91% 63% Uncorked Louis (Character) - 2020
75% 81% The Photograph Louis (Character) $20.6M 2020
81% 69% Ben Is Back Neal Burns (Character) $3.7M 2018
90% 87% Isle of Dogs The Narrator (Voice) $31.9M 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet Orgasmo con mamá Unknown (Character) - 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet Perfect Unknown (Character) - 2018
No Score Yet No Score Yet Cógete a mi esposa Unknown (Character) - 2018
16% 35% The Mummy Col. Greenway (Character) $80.1M 2017
69% 55% The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield (Character) - 2017
40% 40% Office Christmas Party Walter Davis (Character) $54.1M 2016
27% 52% Terminator Genisys Miles Dyson (Character) $89.8M 2015
No Score Yet 84% Let It Shine Preacher Jacob DeBarge (Character) - 2012
32% 65% Joyful Noise Pastor Dale (Character) $30.9M 2012
26% 38% The Divide Delvin (Character) $19.2K 2011
62% 52% Final Destination 5 Courtney B. Vance (Character) $42.6M 2011
28% 53% Extraordinary Measures Marcus Temple (Character) $11.9M 2010
82% 73% Nothing but the Truth Agent O'Hara (Character) $3.0K 2008
100% 94% Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson Unknown (Character) - 2004
18% 28% Eye See You Willie Jones (Character) - 2002
No Score Yet 57% Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story Clarence Brandley (Character) - 2002
78% 53% Space Cowboys Roger Hines (Character) $90.4M 2000
No Score Yet No Score Yet Tulsa Lynching of 1921: A Hidden Story Unknown (Character) - 2000
86% 65% Cookie's Fortune Otis Tuker (Character) - 1999
No Score Yet 54% Love and Action in Chicago Eddie Jones (Character),
- 1999
No Score Yet 86% Ambushed Jerry Robinson (Character) - 1998
No Score Yet 79% Blind Faith John Williams (Character) - 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet Naked City: Justice With a Bullet Sgt. Daniel Muldoon (Character) - 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet Naked City: A Killer Christmas Officer James Halloran (Character) - 1998
92% 87% 12 Angry Men Foreman (Character) - 1997
60% 39% The Preacher's Wife Reverend Henry Biggs (Character) $48.1M 1996
No Score Yet 88% The Boys Next Door Lucien P. Singer (Character) - 1996
88% 79% The Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Glenn (Character) - 1995
No Score Yet 55% The Affair Travis Holloway (Character) - 1995
33% 64% Dangerous Minds Mr. George Grandey (Character) $84.9M 1995
62% 70% The Last Supper Luke (Character) $189.5K 1995
No Score Yet 76% The Piano Lesson Lymon (Character) - 1995
31% 75% Panther Bobby Seale (Character) $6.3M 1995
No Score Yet 64% Race to Freedom: The Story of The Underground Railroad Thomas (Character) - 1994
0% 25% Holy Matrimony Cooper (Character) $616.9K 1994
73% 50% The Adventures of Huck Finn Jim (Character) $23.8M 1993
No Score Yet No Score Yet Percy and Thunder Thunder (Character) - 1993
No Score Yet 72% Beyond the Law Conroy Price (Character) - 1992
No Score Yet No Score Yet In the Line of Duty: Street War Justice Butler (Character) - 1992
88% 88% The Hunt for Red October Petty Officer 2nd Class Jones (Character) $119.1M 1990
100% 72% Hamburger Hill Spc. Abraham `'Doc'` Johnson (Character) $11.4M 1987


69% 71% 61st Street Franklin Roberts (Character) 2022
No Score Yet No Score Yet One Thousand Years of Slavery Executive Producer,
88% 64% Lovecraft Country George Black (Character) 2020
No Score Yet 100% American Experience Unknown (Voice) 2017
84% 90% American Crime Story Johnnie Cochran (Character) 2016
No Score Yet No Score Yet Black America Guest 2016
93% 73% Scandal Clarence Parker (Guest Star) 2015
28% 66% State of Affairs Unknown (Guest Star) 2014-2015
No Score Yet 87% Finding Your Roots Guest 2014
84% 86% Masters of Sex Unknown (Guest Star) 2014
86% 83% Graceland Sam Campbell (Guest Star) 2013
69% 78% Revenge Unknown (Guest Star) 2012
83% 85% The Closer Chief Tommy Delk (Guest Star) 2010-2011
80% 77% FlashForward Stanford Wedeck (Character) 2009-2010
No Score Yet 84% ER Russell Banfield (Guest Star) 2008-2009
No Score Yet 84% Law & Order: Criminal Intent Unknown (Character) 2001-2006
No Score Yet No Score Yet Boston Public Unknown (Guest Star) 2000
No Score Yet 96% Law & Order Unknown (Guest Star) 1995
83% No Score Yet thirtysomething Curtis (Guest Star) 1989