There are very few actors who can lay claim to a professional resume as long and varied as Ernie Hudson, but Hudson has always been a unique screen presence, capable of taking on any role.
Born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and raised by his grandmother in a tough neighborhood, Hudson's early ambition was to be a writer, and he for a time served as the resident playwright at Detroit's Concept East, the oldest black theater company in the country. Later, he founded Actors Ensemble Theater, where he and other black performers staged and appeared in their own original works. After attending Wayne State, Hudson accepted a full scholarship to the prestigious Master of Fine Arts Program at Yale University as a writer and acting student. This led to a number of regional theater roles and critical acclaim, and his feature film debut in “Leadbelly.”
As a single father, Hudson quickly realized that earning a living as an actor was now a necessity, not just a dream. There were parts in feature films like “The Main Event” with Barbra Streisand, “The Jazz Singer” with Neil Diamond, and television projects like Abby Mann's acclaimed miniseries “King” and the highly-rated “Roots II.” Hudson found himself alternating between film and television roles until 1983, when he was cast as Winston Zeddemore, the fourth member of the Ghostbusters team. The two Ghostbusters films gave Hudson a higher profile than he had ever known.
Hudson subsequently earned starring roles in films such as “Weeds” with Nick Nolte and “The Basketball Diaries” with Leonardo DiCaprio. When director Curtis Hanson (“L.A. Confidential”) was making “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle”, he cast Hudson in the pivotal role of Solomon.
In 2003, Hudson appeared in Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson’s “King Hedley II”, at the Penumbra Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Early in his career, Hudson made a splash starring in the Minneapolis production of “The Great White Hope.” Returning to Minneapolis to star in “Hedley” during the renowned Penumbra’s 25th season has led to accolades for Hudson, with local reviewers noting the “slick panache” and “butter smooth” approach he brings to the role of Elmore, a con artist.
For his work on “Oz”, where he appeared as Warden Glynn for six seasons, Hudson won the International Press Academy Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series. Another cherished recent role is that of the demanding principal in the Emmy nominated film “The Ron Clark Story” with Matthew Perry.
Recent credits include ABC’s “The Last Resort”, ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”, TNT’s “Franklin & Bash” or NBC’s “Law & Order.” Hudson is currently filming a series regular role in the ABC pilot “Reckless” and will soon be seen opposite Hilary Swank in the feature film “You’re Not You.”