Hill Harper is an accomplished film, television, and stage actor, bestselling author as well as advocate for promoting education to underserved youth. He is best known for his portrayal of forensic pathologist and crime scene investigator, Dr. Sheldon Hawkes in the hit CBS drama CSI: NY from 2004-2013.
Hill Harper's first paid acting job was as a background extra in the movie Malcolm X, for which he received $60. He first came to acting prominence as the aspiring filmmaker documenting the Million Man March in Spike Lee's 1996 film, Get on the Bus. In 1997, Hill played a rapper and romantic rival in the comedy, Have Plenty; and in 1998 he re-teamed with Lee to play the teammate of an NBA prospect in He Got Game.
From 2004 to 2013, he starred in the hit CBS drama series, CSI: New York, where he portrayed Dr. Sheldon Hawkes, an insightful forensic pathologist and crime scene investigator. As of March 2013, Harper joined the cast of the USA Network's spy drama Covert Affairs as a new series regular for the fourth season.
This season, Harper joined the cast of Showtime's award-winning drama Homeland and hosts How It Really Happened with Hill Harper on HLN. In theatres, he can be seen co-starring alongside Will Smith in Concussion and in the upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me.
Hill Harper released a series of books targeting the “lost generation” youth including Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny (2007), Letters To A Young Sister: Define Your Destiny (2009), and The Conversation: How Men and Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships (2010). Proceeds from his books go to his non-profit organization, Manifest Your Destiny Foundation which Harper established to empower, encourage, and inspire under-served youth. In his latest book, The Wealth Cure (2012), Harper presents a revolutionary new definition of wealth, motivating readers to not only build financial security but to achieve wealth in every aspect of their lives. It also chronicles Harper's thyroid cancer diagnosis in 2010 and his journey back to health. Hills latest is Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones.
Harper travels frequently as a motivational speaker, addressing a wide range of audiences, including youth, adults, couples, and business leaders. Beyond his dedication to acting, Harper engages himself in reaching out to young African-Americans and Latinos in need of guidance. He also regularly speaks to youth in public schools, often emphasizing the values of a good education. Harper founded the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship, educational and motivational programs.
Harper graduated with a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Brown University and cum laude with a juries doctor degree from Harvard Law School. He also holds a master’s degree with honors from Winston-Salem State University, Cheyney University, Westfield State College, Tougaloo College, and Dillard University.
Harper has earned seven NAACP Image Awards for his writing and acting. For three years in a row, Harper won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series from 2008–2010 for his portrayal of forensics pathologist Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on CSI: NY. In 2000, he had also been nominated for the award, for his role in City of Angels, a medical drama on CBS.