Dennis Haysbert looks good in a suit, and his imposing frame and commanding voice make him ideal for roles as respected, but generally liked, authority figures. Although he does indeed excel at these types of roles, that isn't to suggest that the talented actor is without humor or a certain alluring charm. With a kindly face that suggests a sympathetic nature fronted by a confident exterior, Haysbert has excelled at portraying everything from detectives to presidential candidates, all undeniably convincing and with the sort of complex emotional texture that makes them entirely three-dimensional.
A San Mateo, CA, native and graduate of Pasadena's American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the burgeoning actor made his earliest appearances on such television classics as Laverne & Shirley, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and The Incredible Hulk. The made-for-television feature Code Red provided Haysbert with his first substantial role, and after reprising that part in the subsequent television series based on the feature, he would appear sporadically in numerous small-screen series and features throughout the remainder of the 1980s. In 1989, Haysbert garnered his most substantial role up to that time, playing the voodoo-worshiping baseball player Pedro Cerrano in the sports comedy hit Major League. His pitch-perfect comedic performance effectively launched his career into the 1990s, and Haysbert would later reprise the role in both of the film's sequels.