Ernie Hudson

Immortalized in popular culture as the African-American Ghostbuster in the 1984 mega-hit and its 1989 sequel, Ernie Hudson enjoys a longer and more diverse career than many of the movie stars he once supported. The Yale graduate's impressive physique won him a scattering of bruiser roles early on, including bits in Gordon Parks' "Leadbelly" (1976) and the Barbra Streisand vehicle "The Main Event" (1979), until his ability to underscore menace with intelligence earned him more substantial roles in Jamaa Fanaka's "Penitentiary II" (1982) and the 3-D actioner "Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone" (1983). Although "Ghostbusters" (1984) augured a significant uptake in the quality of his assignments, the actor continued to struggle well into the next decade. Better parts in "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" (1992), "The Crow" (1994), "Congo" (1995) and "The Basketball Diaries" (1995) with Leonardo DiCaprio boosted Hudson to the next level and to greater success on the small screen. Frequently seen as a guest actor on dozens of primetime series, the actor enjoyed a six-year run on the critically-lauded HBO prison series "Oz" (1997-2003), as well as subsequent semi-regular roles on "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) and "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-2012). Remaining in demand past the age of retirement, Hudson made his Broadway debut in 2009 in the Tony Award-winning revival of "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," proving himself to be one of the most unsung but invaluable actors of the American stage and screen.