Malcolm–Jamal Warner is one of our favorite entertainers. The actor has been in our lives, gleaming his winning smile, for nearly 30 years, dating back to the NBC television classic “The Cosby Show” playing Cliff (Bill Cosby) and Clair’s (Phylicia Rashad) only son Theo Huxtable opposite four sisters, Sondra, Denise, Vanessa and Rudy, played by Sabrina Le Beauf, Lisa Bonet, Tempestt Bledsoe and Keshia Knight-Pulliam, respectively.
Warner hasn’t pumped his brakes. After 30 years, most working Americans are leaning towards retirement. Well, he’s not like most Americans. To start, he has a recurring role on TNT’s hit series “Major Crimes” as Lt. Chuck Cooper, which he says is “fun.”
“It’s a blast. I am having a really good time with the show. It’s fun playing a guy with so much authority, command and power.”
In this upcoming season of FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” you can also catch Warner playing a recurring role.
TV isn’t the only creative space Warner works in. He’s also filmed with “Grey’s Anatomy” star Chandra Wilson, who too had an early introduction on the “The Cosby Show.”
Starring opposite Wilson, Warner appears in the Kickstarter-funded short film MUTED, which won the HBO Short Film Festival Competition at the American Black Film Festival this past June. MUTED follows the Gladwells, a family that struggles to get the support of media and law enforcement when their teenage daughter disappears.
“Chandra appeared on Cosby’s way back in the day. Before that, when I was a kid, she acted in a really cool series on TBS. I have been watching her my whole life,” he remembers. “It is great the film is getting so much praise. It really addresses an important subject matter. The most important element about the film is it addresses the issue of race without pulling the race card.” Warner plays the missing girl’s father, Curtis. It airs February 2015 on HBO.
On having recently appeared with fellow child star Michael J. Fox (“The Michael J. Fox Show”)…
“We definitely have a connection because of our NBC experience [Fox played on "Growing Pains”] and being with the network during a really great time. We were on different coasts. Cosby was shot in New York. It’s really funny, we didn’t have the opportunity to hang out. We know each other and I have always been a big fan. I am even a bigger fan after working with him. His work ethic and passion for his craft is ever present.”
While in Boston, preparing for his return to the stage in the reprisal of Sidney Poitier’s role as. Dr. John Prentice in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” opening at The Huntington Theatre in September, Warner shared, “I did a production of the show in Washington, D.C. at Arena Theater this past December/January. I am excited about doing it again here in Boston with a different cast. Because the cast is different, I must approach the character differently. I can’t rely on what worked for me this past December. I have knowledge of the play and the character, but now will approach the character from a different angle. You are working with different cast who brings something different to the table and make you respond differently.”
Actively working in film, television and stage just isn’t enough for the multi-entertainer who also answers to poet and musician under the moniker Miles Long. “I have this dope single with Stokley from Mint Condition. I am really excited about the song that we’re hoping to drop in September. I wrote the song, Stokley wrote chorus and Kevin Teasley and I produced the track.”
Warner’s additional credits include a prime time Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (“The Cosby Show”) and producing, directing and starring in the BET original series, “Reed Between the Lines,” opposite Tracee Ellis Ross.