A longtime actor turned director whose memorable turn as a suicidal drag queen endeared him to viewers of ER in the mid-'90s, Vondie Curtis-Hall would subsequently essay a role on the other side of the doctor-patient relationship as Dr. Dennis Hancock on ER rival series Chicago Hope. Though he would later step behind the camera, Curtis-Hall remained a recognizable fixture on both film and television with appearances in such high-profile films as Die Hard 2 (1990) and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996).
A native of Detroit, Curtis-Hall made his television debut in the short-lived Spenser: For Hire spin-off A Man Called Hawk. Though he had only a vocal role in the 1988 actioner Shakedown, his proper film debut came with a minor role in 1988's Coming to America, followed shortly thereafter with an appearance in director Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train (1989). A series of minor film roles, as well as an appearance in the short-lived television police musical Cop Rock followed, and through the mid-'90s Curtis-Hall's film roles were mostly of supporting status. Shortly after his sympathetic turn as troubled transvestite Roger McGrath on ER, he embarked on a four-year stint as a doctor on Chicago Hope. Simultaneously appearing in supporting roles in Broken Arrow and Heaven's Prisoners (both 1996), his eagerness to get on the other side of the camera would soon get the best of the struggling actor.