Frank Eugene Harper was born May 17, 1966 in Iowa City, Iowa, the son of Harry Harper, a psychiatrist, and Marilyn Hill, who was one of the first black practicing anesthesiologists in the United States. He has been acting since the age of 7. Harper graduated from Bella Vista High School in 1984, then graduated magna cum laude from Brown University in 1988. In 1992 Harper graduated with a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, and a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. During his years at Harvard, he was a full-time member of Boston’s Black Folks Theater Company, one of the oldest and most acclaimed black theater troupes in the country. While a student at Harvard, Harper befriended President Barack Obama. Harper and Obama met on the basketball court and became good friends during their first year as law students.
Although Harper obtained a J.D. and M.P.A., he chose to use neither and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2009 by Westfield State College. Born Francis Eugene Harper, he adopted the name “Hill” as tribute to both his maternal and paternal ancestors.
Harper broke into both film and television in 1993, doing recurring work on the Fox series Married… with Children and making his film debut in the short Confessions of a Dog. He had his first substantial role in a feature in Spike Lee‘s Get on the Bus (1996), which cast him as a UCLA film student riding a bus to the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. He went on to further demonstrate his versatility in such films as Christopher Scott Cherot‘s Hav Plenty (1997) and Lee’s He Got Game (1998), the former of which featured him as an egotistical pop–soul singer.
His profile subsequently rose on both the mainstream and independent film circuits, thanks to roles in films ranging from Beloved (1998) to the independent romantic comedy Loving Jezebel (1999) to The Skulls (2000), an entry into the teen thriller genre. Harper did some of his most acclaimed work in Jordan Walker-Pearlman‘s The Visit (2000), an independent drama in which he starred as a prisoner dying of AIDS who tries to put his life back together.
His best-known role to date is that of coroner-turned-crime scene investigator Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on the CBS crime drama CSI: NY. He worked in the series for nine seasons. He also portrayed Leshem in the 2010 Syfy original movie Stonehenge Apocalypse. In February 2013 it was announced that CSI: NY would be ending and Harper would be joining the cast of Covert Affairs as a series regular.
Harper is the author of several books: Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny, was published in 2006, Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny, was published in 2008; The Conversation: How (Black) Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships, was published in 2010. His fourth book, The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place, was published in 2011, and his fifth book, Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones was published in 2013. In January 2008, he participated in “Yes We Can“, a music video supporting Barack Obama, produced by will.i.am. Harper is a member of the Obama for America National Finance Committee.
As of October 2009, Hill has made several contributions to political candidates, exclusively to Democrats. Harper endorsed the 10,000 Bookbags back to school backpack campaign to help local disadvantaged children with Urban Change Ministries founder Pastor Jay Cameron of the Life Center and R&B singer Ginuwine. Harper stated that he is a fiscal conservative when he appeared on the political talk show Hannity on September 10, 2009.
Harper won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for three consecutive years (2008–2010) for his portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on CSI: NY. Previously he had been nominated for the award for three consecutive years (2005–2007), for the same character. In 2000, he had also been nominated for the award, for his role in the medical drama City of Angels.
On January 9, 2014 his book Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction.
While writing his fourth book, Hill was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After treatment, he was given a clean bill of health; thank God for that!
Hill Harper you deserve to be the Fanzyflaminfro Man Candy Monday Feature; you have more credits then a movie and Fanzyflaminfro loves a man with credits and credentials.