The word “versatile” really doesn’t begin to describe the multi-faceted career of actor, singer, writer and director Clarke Peters. With a career spanning more than four decades, Clarke Peters’ works seamlessly across theatre, film and TV. He penned and performed in the multi award-winning musical Five Guys Named Moe which ran in London’s West End for five years and transferred to Broadway; starred in David Simon’s “The Wire,” “Treme” and “Show Me a Hero” for HBO and has played everyone from Sky Masterson in Guys n Dolls, to Othello in the Sheffield Crucible production and Nelson Mandela in Channel 4’s Endgame. “Christmas Under the Stars” is his first movie for Hallmark Channel.
He can currently be seen in HBO’s fantasy television series “His Dark Materials” and in the feature film, Harriet for Focus Features. He will next be seen as a lead in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and in the new Apple series “Foundation.”
Peters made his film debut in 1979, stepping in front of the cameras for the first time in The Music Machine. Since then, he’s starred in a host of critically acclaimed productions, alongside a veritable who’s who of acting talent – Mona Lisa with Bob Hoskins, Notting Hill starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, and the comedy smash Marley and Me with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, Freedomland with Samuel L. Jackson, and Spike Lee’s Redhook Summer, to mention a few.
However, it was the role of Lester Freamon in “The Wire” that catapulted him into the mainstream, introducing him to a whole new fan base in the process. Critically acclaimed, “The Wire” bowed out after five seasons and Clarke continued to be in great demand with roles in David Simon’s “Treme.” Following these successful series, Clarke worked with David Simon again on “Show Me a Hero” about the rehousing program in Yonkers circa 1985 – 1992.
He fulfilled a personal ambition in 2009 by playing Nelson Mandela in Endgame, the fascinating story of the groundbreaking secret talks that precipitated the end of apartheid in South Africa and in the same year teamed up with fellow Wire actor John Doman in Season 2 of the Glenn Close drama “Damages.” Signed to appear in just two episodes he was asked to stay for the rest of the season. With a wealth of TV credits, he has recently been seen in the UK in “Midsummer Murders” and David Walliams’ “Partners in Crime.”
Peters has dominated our screens in series such as “Love Is,” “Bulletproof,” “Chance,” “The Deuce,” “The Blacklist,” and in a leading role in ITV Studios’ new series “Jericho.” He was also be seen in the British/French production of Sky Atlantic’s “The Tunnel” and “Underground” for WGN America. Clarke Peters can be seen in BBC2’s “London Spy” with Ben Wishaw and Charlotte Rampling and the Netflix production of “Jessica Jones,” based on the Marvel Alias Comics series published on Marvel’s MAX imprint with Krysten Ritter and David Tennant.
His theatre credits include Othello at the Sheffield Crucible, Race at the Hampstead Theatre, King Lear with the New Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park in New York, Trevor Nunn’s critically acclaimed 2006 production of Porgy and Bess, the 1999 production of The Iceman Cometh, Chicago, the National Theatre’s production of Guys n Dolls, Five Guys Named Moe, The Amen Corner, Blues in The Night, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Unforgettable, Driving Miss Daisy with Wendy Hiller and in January 2016, he will return to New York to star in Marco Ramirez’ The Royale at The Lincoln Canter.
Aside from his acting credits, Clarke is also an accomplished director and musical book writer, most notably for Five Guys Named Moe. A tribute to the jazz-bluesman Louis Jordan, the show was playing a limited five-week engagement in October 1990 at the tiny Theatre Royal, Stratford East, in London when it was spotted by impresario Cameron Mackintosh. Mackintosh was so impressed that he negotiated contracts on the spot, enabling the production to transfer to the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in December of that year. The show went on to become a massive smash in London, on Broadway and throughout the world, still touring to this day.
Peters co-wrote the book for Unforgettable, a Nat King Cole revue that ran at the Edinburgh Festival, the Garrick Theatre and toured Japan and was nominated for an Olivier Award.
As a director he made his debut directing James Baldwin’s Blues for Mr Charlie at the Sheffield Crucible and King the Musical in London’s West End.