Peters in Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2010
April 7, 1952
New York, United States
|Occupation||Actor, singer, writer, director|
Peter Clarke (born April 7, 1952), known professionally as Clarke Peters, is an American actor, singer, writer and director, best known for his roles as detective Lester Freamon and Albert "Big Chief" Lambreaux on the David Simon HBO dramas The Wire and Treme, respectively. More recently, Peters has portrayed Alonzo Quinn on the CBS crime drama Person of Interest and Isaiah Page on The Divide.
Peters was born Peter Clarke, the second of four sons, in New York City, and grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. At the age of 12, he had his first theater experience, in a school production of My Fair Lady. He began to have serious ambitions to work in the theater at the age of 14. He graduated from Dwight Morrow High School in 1970.
Shortly before he left the United States, Peters was arrested for obstructing police lines after an anti-Vietnam war demonstration but was cleared. He later said of this experience: "It made me more angry than anything else, because what I experienced was how impotent you could be as an American citizen."
In 1971, Peters' older brother enabled him to work as a costume designer for a production of the musical Hair in Paris, in which Peters later starred. While there, Peters received a letter from the FBI that accused him of draft evasion. When he went to New Jersey to contest this charge, he said: "if the enemy comes to America, I'll be there, but I don't know the Vietnamese. If you put me in the army, I'm not going there."
In 1973, Peters moved to London and changed his name to Clarke Peters, because Equity already had a few namesake members. While in London, he formed a soul band, The Majestics, and worked as a backup singer on such hits as "Love and Affection" by Joan Armatrading, "Boogie Nights" by Heatwave, and some David Essex songs. However, music was not Peters' main ambition, and he preferred to work in the theater.
His first West End theatre musical roles, which he received with assistance from his friend Ned Sherrin, were I Gotta Shoe (1976) and Bubbling Brown Sugar (1977). Other West End credits include Blues in the Night, Porgy and Bess, The Witches of Eastwick, Chicago, and Chess. Peters starred in the Sean Connery space Western Outland (1981) as the treacherous Sgt. Ballard, and he played an almost wordless role as Anderson, a vicious pimp in Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa (1986).
After writing several revues with Sherrin, in 1990 Peters wrote the revue Five Guys Named Moe, which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical. He followed this up with Unforgettable, a musical about Nat King Cole, which received scathing reviews. He also starred in the 2010 UK production of Five Guys Named Moe.
As a stage actor, Peters has also appeared on Broadway. His performance in The Iceman Cometh (1999) won him the Theatre World Award, and he portrayed the shady lawyer Billy Flynn in the revival of Chicago in 2000 and 2003. In regional theatre he has appeared in Driving Miss Daisy, The Wiz, Bubbling Brown Sugar, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Carmen Jones, and The Amen Corner. In September 2011, Peters appeared on stage in a Sheffield Crucible Theatre production of Shakespeare's Othello, playing the title role opposite his Wire co-star Dominic West, who played Iago. In the 2014 New York Shakespeare in the Park festival, he played Gloucester in King Lear.
Peters is familiar to television viewers as Detective Lester Freamon in the HBO series The Wire. Peters also starred in the HBO mini-series The Corner, portraying a drug addict named Fat Curt, as well as the FX series Damages, as Dave Pell. Both The Wire and The Corner were created by writer and former Baltimore Sun journalist David Simon. Peters also stars in Simon's HBO series Treme, in the role of Mardi Gras Indian chief Albert Lambreaux. Peters appeared in two episodes of the U.S. time-travel/detective TV series Life On Mars (2008) as NYPD Captain Fletcher Bellow.
He also appeared in the UK show Holby City, as Derek Newman, the father of nurse Donna Jackson. He voiced a part in the Doctor Who animated episode Dreamland, and in the In Plain Sight episode "Duplicate Bridge" as a man in Witness Protection named Norman Baker/Norman Danzer. In 2010, Peters read Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption for BBC 7. In that year, he also had a guest appearance as Professor Mark Ramsay in the pilot episode of the USA Network TV series Covert Affairs. Since 2012, Clarke Peters has had a recurring role as Alonzo D. Quinn in the CBS TV series Person of Interest.
His big screen credits include Mona Lisa (1986), Notting Hill (1999), K-PAX (2001), Freedomland (2006), Marley & Me (2008), Endgame (2009; in which he played Nelson Mandela), Nativity! (2009), the Spike Lee film Red Hook Summer (2012; in which he played Bishop Enoch), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017).
Peters has had five children from three relationships. He and his first wife, Janine Martyne, who sang with him on recordings, had two children: a daughter, China Clarke, an architect, and a son, Peter Clarke, a tattoo artist. A subsequent relationship with Joanna Jacobs produced two sons: Joe Jacobs, an actor, and Guppy, who died of a kidney tumor in 1992, at the age of four. He has a son, Max, with his second wife, Penny; Max played the young Michael Jackson in the West End production of the musical Thriller - Live.
|1979||The Music Machine||Laurie|
|1980||Silver Dream Racer||Cider Jones|
|1996||Seasick||Radio Reporter Pounds|
|1999||Notting Hill||Helix Lead Actor|
|2003||Head of State||Fundraiser Demo-Tape Man|
|2008||The Poker House||Maurice|
|2008||Marley & Me||Editor|
|2009||Brief Interviews with Hideous Men||Subject #31|
|2011||Searching for Sonny||Narrator|
|2012||Red Hook Summer||Da Good Bishop Enoch Rouse|
|2014||The Best of Me||Morgan Dupree|
|2015||The Benefactor||Dr. Romano|
|2015||The Bad Education Movie||Commander Andrews|
|2017||Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri||Police Chief Abercrombie|
|2018||An Acceptable Loss||Phillip Lamm|
|2019||The Mandela Effect||Dr. Fuchs|
|2020||Come Away||Mad Hatter|
|TBA||Da 5 Bloods||Post-production|
|1980-1984||Play for Today||Yankee Billy / Stevie||2 episodes|
|1983||The Professionals||President Ojuka||Episode: "The Ojuka Situation"|
|1983||Saigon: Year of the Cat||Soldier||TV movie|
|1985||Travelling Man||Alan Downing||Episode: "A Token Attempt"|
|1987-2003||American Masters||Narrator||2 episodes|
|1989||Red King, White Knight||Jones||TV movie|
|1989||Frederick Forsyth Presents: A Casualty of War||Grover T. Fleming||TV movie|
|1991||El C.I.D.||Sultan||Episode: "Christmas Spirit"|
|1992||A Masculine Ending||Theo Sykes||TV movie|
|1993||Death Train||C.W. Whitlock||TV movie|
|1993||Between the Lines||Mr. Banthorpe||Episode: "Jumping the Lights"|
|1994||Murder Most Horrid||American||Episode: "Mangez Merveillac"|
|1995||Chandler & Co||Jasper||Episode: "The American Dream"|
|1996||French and Saunders||Lt. Johnny Cochrane||Episode: "The Quick and the Dead"|
|1998||Jonathan Creek||Hewie Harper||2 episodes|
|2000||The Corner||Fat Curt||Miniseries; 6 episodes|
|2000||Oz||Afsana||Episode: "The Bill of Wrongs"|
|2002||Night and Day||Gabriel Huysman||3 episodes|
|2002-2008||The Wire||Det. Lester Freamon||Main cast; 55 episodes|
|2003||Waking the Dead||Howard Boorstin||2 episodes|
|2005||Law & Order: Trial by Jury||Rex da Silva||Episode: "Pattern of Conduct"|
|2007||Meadowlands||Professor / Samantha's Father||Episode #1.6|
|2008||Life on Mars||Captain Bellow||2 episodes|
|2009||Damages||Dave Pell||8 episodes|
|2009||In Plain Sight||Norman Baker / Norman Danzer||Episode: "Duplicate Bridge"|
|2009||Great Performances||Walter de Courcy||Episode: "Chess in Concert"|
|2009||Holby City||Derek Newman||5 episodes|
|2009||Dreamland||Night Eagle (voice)||4 episodes|
|2010||Covert Affairs||Dr. Mark Ramsay||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2010-2013||Treme||Albert Lambreaux||Main cast; 35 episodes|
|2011||Archer||Popeye (voice)||2 episodes|
|2011||Memphis Beat||Fred||Episode: "The Feud"|
|2012-2013||Person of Interest||Alonzo Quinn||11 episodes|
|2013||Blue Bloods||Nathan Anderson||Episode: "Quid Pro Quo"|
|2014||True Detective||Minister||Episode: "The Long Bright Dark"|
|2014||Death in Paradise||Marlon Croft||Episode: "Political Suicide"|
|2014||The Divide||Isaiah Page||8 episodes|
|2015||Forever||Jerry Charters||Episode: "The Wolves of Deep Brooklyn"|
|2015||London Spy||The American||Episode: "Strangers"|
|2015||Midsomer Murders||Frank Wainwright||Episode: "The Ballad of Midsomer County"|
|2015||Partners in Crime||Julius Hersheimmer||3 episodes|
|2015||Show Me a Hero||Robert Mayhawk||2 episodes|
|2015||London Spy||The American||Episode: "Strangers"|
|2015||Jessica Jones||Det. Oscar Clemons||4 episodes|
|2016||Jericho||Ralph Coates||8 episodes|
|2016||The Tunnel||Sonny Persaud||4 episodes|
|2016-2017||Chance||Carl Allan||9 episodes|
|2016||People of Earth||Ronald||Episode: "Lost and Found"|
|2017||The Blacklist: Redemption||Richard Whitehall||2 episodes|
|2017||The Deuce||Melvin "Ace"||Episode: "My Name Is Ruby"|
|2018||Bulletproof||Director-General Ronald Pike Sr||6 episodes|
|2018||Love Is||Present-day Yasir||10 episodes|
|2019||His Dark Materials||Dr. Carne/The Master||2 episodes|
|2019||Christmas Under the Stars||Clem||Television film (Hallmark)|
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