David Harewood

David Harewood, MBE (born 8 December 1965) is a British actor and presenter. He is best known for his roles as CIA Counterterrorism Director David Estes in Homeland (2011–2012), and as J'onn J'onzz / Martian Manhunter and Hank Henshaw / Cyborg Superman in Supergirl (2015–present).[1]

David Harewood

David Harewood 2015.jpg
Harewood in June 2015
Born (1965-12-08) 8 December 1965 (age 54)
Birmingham, England
OccupationActor and presenter
Years active1990–present
Kirsty Handy
(m. 2013)

Early lifeEdit

Harewood was born in the Small Heath area of Birmingham on 8 December 1965, the son of a couple from Barbados who had moved to England in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His father was a lorry driver, while his mother was a caterer. He has a sister, Sandra, and two brothers, Rodger and Paul. He attended St Benedict's Junior School and Washwood Heath Academy.[2][3] He was a member of the National Youth Theatre. In his youth, he worked at a wine bar in Birmingham city centre.[4][5] At the age of 18, he gained a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[4]


Harewood began acting in 1990 and has appeared in The Hawk, Great Moments in Aviation, Harnessing Peacocks, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Blood Diamond, The Merchant of Venice and Strings. He is known for his television appearances on Ballykissangel, The Vice and Fat Friends. He played Don Coleman in Hustle (Series 7 The Fall of Railton FC (2011)).[6] In 1997, he was the first black actor to play Othello at the National Theatre in London.[7]

In 2008, he played Major Simon Brooks in The Palace; he also appeared (that December) on Celebrity Mastermind, with specialist subject Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials – and he appeared in the BBC film adaptation of the Philip Pullman novels The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, both of which are titles from the Sally Lockhart Mysteries.[6]

In 2009, Harewood appeared in the BBC single drama Mrs Mandela, playing Nelson Mandela. He played Brother Tuck in the third series of Robin Hood.[8] He appeared in the Doctor Who story "The End of Time". He played Martin Luther King Jr. in the premiere of The Mountaintop, written by American playwright Katori Hall, directed by James Dacre, which opened at Theatre503 in London on 9 June 2009.[9][10]

Harewood next appeared in two episodes of Chris Ryan's Strike Back as Colonel Tshuma. From June to September 2010, he played Theseus in the premiere of Moira Buffini's play Welcome to Thebes at the National Theatre in London.[11] He played Martin Viner in an episode of New Tricks.[12] He narrates Welcome to Lagos, a BBC documentary about Lagos. He also starred in British independent film, The Hot Potato,[13] the film also starred Ray Winstone, Colm Meaney and Jack Huston.[citation needed] He played Frankenstein's monster in the TV live event Frankenstein's Wedding.[6]

From 2011, Harewood starred as David Estes, the director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, in the Showtime series Homeland. After appearing in 24 episodes, his character was killed off in a bomb explosion at the end of season 2.[1] Also in 2011, he voiced Captain Quinton Cole in the video game Battlefield 3.

In the 2012 New Year Honours, Harewood was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to drama.[14][15][16] In May 2012, he presented a Party Election Broadcast for the British Labour Party.[17]

In October 2013, Harewood voiced an interactive video campaign for the British Lung Foundation aiming to ban smoking in cars with children on board in the United Kingdom.[18] In June 2014, he appeared in Tulip Fever.[19]

In October 2015, he appeared as a core cast member on the CBS television series Supergirl as Hank Henshaw. Since his character was revealed (in the episode Human for a Day) to be J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter posing as Henshaw, he portrays J'onn J'onzz with Henshaw's likeness as his human form and has a dual recurring role as the real Hank Henshaw / Cyborg Superman.

Harewood was included in the 2019 edition of the Powerlist, ranking the 100 most influential Black Britons. [20] Also in 2019, he played the position of goalkeeper for England in Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2019. Pyschosis and Me, a documentary hosted and produced by Harewood received a BAFTA Television Award nominated for Single Documentary.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

Harewood married his long-term girlfriend Kirsty Handy in February 2013 in Saint James, Barbados. They have two daughters and the family reside in Streatham, London.[22] Harewood is a Birmingham City F.C. fan.[1][23]

In 2007, Harewood visited Harewood House in Yorkshire and spoke with Viscount Lascelles who is a cousin of the Queen. His surname comes from the time when his ancestors were sold in Africa, transported to the Caribbean as slaves, and forced to work for the Lascelles family (the Earls of Harewood). Lord Lascelles explained that his wish was for the Harewood name to stand for positive things in the future, as nothing could be done about what happened 250 years ago.[24]

In 2007, Harewood donated his bone marrow and as a result saved the life of a patient.[25]

Harewood is a mental health ambassador and has been open about his own struggles, confessing that he used to self-medicate with alcohol in order to deal with his manic depressive and bipolar-like symptoms, discarding the medication given to him by doctors. He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act,[26] spent time on the Whittington Hospital psychiatric ward, and was prescribed the antipsychotic drug chlorpromazine.[27] He subsequently expanded on his experiences, hosting a 2019 BBC documentary titled David Harewood: My Psychosis and Me.[28][29]

Harewood appeared in Soccer Aid 2018 as England's celebrity goalkeeper. He saved two penalties during the penalty shootout, helping England to win the charity match. The event raised more than £5 million for UNICEF, a charity that Harewood supports.

In the 2019 European Parliament election, Harewood pledged his support for Change UK.[30]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 The Hawk Sergeant Streete
1995 Mad Dogs and Englishmen Jessop
1998 I Wonder Who's Kissing You Now Moses
1999 Between Dreams Orderly Short film
2004 Strings Erito Voice; English dub
The Merchant of Venice Prince of Morocco
2005 Separate Lies Inspector Marshall
2006 Blood Diamond Captain Poison
2010 Second Chance Rob Jenkins Short film
2011 The Hot Potato Harrison
Victim Mr. Ansah
2012 The Man Inside Eugene Murdoch
The Last Bite Rook Short film
2013 Third Person Jake
2015 Free in Deed Abe Wilkins
Spooks: The Greater Good Warrender
2016 Grimsby Black Gareth
2017 Tulip Fever Prater


Year(s) Title Role Notes
1990 Casualty Paul Grant Episode 5.9: "A Will to Die"
1990–97 The Bill Williams, Malcolm Jackson, Ed Parrish, Robbie Coker Four episodes
1991 For the Greater Good David West TV film
Minder Vinny's minder Episode 8.10: "Too Many Crooks"
Murder Most Horrid Jonathan Episode 1.5: "Murder at Tea Time"
Pirate Prince Jean-Baptiste TV film
1991–93 Spatz Derek Puley Three episodes
1993 Anna Lee: Headcase Stevie Johnson TV film
Press Gang Doctor Episode 5.2: "Friendly Fire"
Medics Nick Episode 3.6
Harnessing Peacocks Terry TV film
1994 Great Moments in Aviation Steward TV film
Bermuda Grace Trevor Watkins TV film
Capital Lives Episode 1.5: "Fall"
1995 Hearts and Minds Trevor
Game On Paul Johnson Episode 1.5: "Big Wednesday"
Agony Again Daniel Seven episodes
1997 Macbeth on the Estate Macduff TV film
Kavanagh QC David Adams Episode 3.1: "Mute of Malice"
Comedy Premieres: Cold Feet Police Sergeant
1998 Ballykissangel Henry Episode 4.9: "As Stars Look Down"
1999–2001 Always and Everyone Dr. Mike Gregson Main cast
1999–2003 The Vice Sgt./D.I. Joe Robinson Main cast
2001 An Unsuitable Job for a Woman DI Peterson Episode 1.4: "Playing God"
The Fear Storyteller
2001–02 Babyfather Augustus 'Gus' Pottinger Main cast
2004 Silent Witness Angus Stuart Episodes 8.3 and 8.4: "Death by Water"
2004–05 Fat Friends Max Robertson 11 episodes
2006 New Street Law DI Branston Two episodes
The Ruby in the Smoke Matthew Bedwell, Reverend Nicholas Bedwell TV film
2007 New Tricks Martin Viner Episode 4.3: "Ducking and Diving"
The Shadow in the North Nicholas Bedwell TV film
2008 The Palace Major Simon Brooks Main cast; eight episodes
The Last Enemy Patrick Nye TV mini-series; five episodes
Criminal Justice Freddie Graham TV mini-series; three episodes
2009 Gunrush Robbie TV film
Robin Hood Tuck 12 episodes
The Fixer Richard Millar Episode 2.4
2009–10 Doctor Who Joshua Naismith "The End of Time"
2010 Mrs Mandela Nelson Mandela TV film
Strike Back Colonel Tshuma Episodes 1.3 and 1.4
2011 Hustle Don Coleman Episode 7.5: "The Fall of Railton FC"
Frankenstein's Wedding The Creature Live-televised stage performance
The Body Farm Wilkes Episode 1.3
2011–12 Homeland David Estes 24 episodes
2012 Treasure Island Billy Bones TV mini-series
Horizon – Global Weirding Narrator TV documentary series
2013 The Wrong Mans Surgeon TV series
By Any Means Napier TV series
2014 Selfie Sam Saperstein 8 episodes
2015–present Supergirl J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter
Hank Henshaw/Cyborg Superman
Main role
Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television (2019)
2016 Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands Scorann TV series
The Night Manager Joel Steadman TV series
Will Britain ever have a Black Prime Minister? Presenter TV documentary
2017 Madiba Walter Sisulu Miniseries
2017, 2019 The Flash J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter Episodes: "Duet", “Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 3
2017 Have I Got News For You Himself Guest host
2018 David Harewood: My Psychosis and Me Presenter TV documentary
2019 The Man in the High Castle Equiano Hampton Episodes 4.2 and 4.5
2020 Earth's Tropical Islands Himself/Narrator TV documentary
Arrow J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 4"
Legends of Tomorrow Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 5"

Video gamesEdit


Harewood played Patroclus in the 1998 BBC radio trilogy Troy. He also played Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey radio adaptation (2005). On 4 May 2012, he hosted a special BBC Radio 2 Friday Night is Music Night celebrating the life of Ray Charles,[31] broadcast live from Cheltenham Jazz Festival. The show featured the Guy Barker orchestra, with leader Cynthia Fleming and guest artists Madeline Bell, Gregory Porter, and James Tormé.[citation needed]

Harewood played the Marquis de Carabas in the BBC Radio 4 Radio Play of Neverwhere (2013).[32]


  1. ^ a b c "Birmingham actor David Harewood hits out at being killed off in Homeland". Birmingham Mail. 6 January 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  2. ^ Hurst, Ben (1 September 2010). "Hollywood star David Harewood goes back to Washwood Heath School". birminghammail. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Pupils get Shakespeare experience". BBC News. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b "David Harewood: Will Britain ever have a black prime minister?". BBC News. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  5. ^ Laws, Roz (13 November 2016). "Who is actor David Harewood?". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b c David Harewood on IMDb
  7. ^ "Interview: `Othello' comes into his own at National". The Independent. 16 September 1997. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  8. ^ Dowell, Ben (11 March 2009). "BBC commissions Winnie Mandela drama". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
  9. ^ "The Mountaintop". Theatre503. Archived from the original on 2 June 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  10. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (22 June 2009). "The Mountaintop at Theatre503". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  11. ^ Royal National Theatre production of Welcome to Thebes, OfficialLondonTheatre.com. Retrieved 30 Oct 2017.
  12. ^ New Tricks profile, Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Hotpotatomovie.com". Archived from the original on 6 July 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  14. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 16.
  15. ^ "New Year Honours 2012" (PDF). BBC News.
  16. ^ David Harewood appointed MBE, Google hostednews. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  17. ^ David Harewood makes British Labour Party broadcast[permanent dead link], labour.org.uk, 30 April 2012.
  18. ^ David Harewood profile Archived 11 October 2013 at Archive.today, British Lung Foundation. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Anna Kendrick To Voice Lead In 'Trolls'; David Harewood Joins 'Tulip Fever' Cast". deadline.com. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  20. ^ Hicks, Amber (23 October 2018). "List of 100 most influential black people includes Meghan Markle for first time". mirror. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  21. ^ http://www.bafta.org/television/awards/tv-2020#single-documentary
  22. ^ Carole Cadwallader (9 December 2012). "David Harewood". The Observer. London. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  23. ^ Hurt, Ben (16 December 2009). "Hollywood star David Harewood goes back to Washwood Heath School". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  24. ^ "Actor quizzes Viscount on slavery". BBC News. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  25. ^ Elliott, Jane (16 March 2008). "An act that could save a stranger". BBC News. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  26. ^ Harewood, David (13 October 2017). "I feel no shame about my mental breakdown: it helped make me who I am | David Harewood". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  27. ^ McGrath, Nick (12 June 2018). "Homeland star David Harewood reveals mental health battle before finding fame". mirror. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  28. ^ "BBC - David Harewood: Psychosis And Me - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  29. ^ "BBC iPlayer - David Harewood: Psychosis and Me". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  30. ^ "Chuka Umunna on Instagram: "Great catching up with my constituent @davidharewood at the BBC this afternoon, and glad to hear he'll be voting Change UK!…"". Instagram. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  31. ^ "BBC Radio 2 Friday Night is Music Night".
  32. ^ Neverwhere, BBC. Retrieved 11 August 2015.

External linksEdit