Earnest Lee Hudson, better known as Ernie Hudson, was born on December 17, 1945 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Hudson never knew his father. His mother, Maggie Donald, died of tuberculosis when he was two months old. He was subsequently raised by his maternal grandmother, Arrana Donald. He has a half-brother, Lewis Hudson.
After serving in the United States Marine Corps, he moved to Detroit, Michigan. He became the resident playwright at Concept East, the oldest black theatre company in the US. He enrolled at Wayne State University to further develop his writing and acting skills. He established the Actors' Ensemble Theatre where he and other talented young black writers directed and appeared in their own works. Later, he enrolled and subsequently graduated from Yale School of Drama.
One of Hudson's early films was in Penitentiary II in 1982 starring Leon Isaac Kennedy. He landed various guest roles on TV shows such as The Dukes of Hazzard and The A-Team. He was on the TV series Fantasy Island in a first-season episode as a voodoo man named Jamu. Hudson gained fame playing Winston Zeddemore, who enlists with the Ghostbusters in the 1984 feature film Ghostbusters and its 1989 sequel. He also auditioned to reprise the role for the animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, but it was given to Arsenio Hall. He had a major supporting role as the mentally challenged Solomon in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.
Hudson was cast as Warden Leo Glynn on HBO's series Oz. On Oz, his son Ernie Hudson Jr. co-starred with him as Muslim inmate Hamid Khan. Hudson also appears as the character Munro in Congo and in the 1994 film The Crow as Police Sergeant Albrecht. He switched gears when he played a preacher opening the eyes of a small town prejudice in the 1950s in Stranger in the Kingdom. He is also known for his role as Harry McDonald, the FBI superior of Sandra Bullock's character in the feature film Miss Congeniality. He appears in the Stargate SG-1 TV episode "Ethon" as Pernaux. Hudson also appeared as Reggie in the film The Basketball Diaries. In 2006 he appeared in the TV Movie The Ron Clark Story as Principal Turner. In 2008, he began a recurring role as Dr. Fields in The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Hudson also had a recurring role on the final season of Law & Order as Lt. Anita Van Buren's boyfriend and then fiancé.
He played Stuart Owens in Torchwood: Miracle Day.
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