From comedy and drama to video games, animation, and game shows, Anthony Anderson’s career has touched nearly every corner of pop culture over the last two-plus decades. Born in Augusta, Maine, and raised in Compton, California, he would often accompany his mother Doris to film sets, where she worked as a background actor. It’s no surprise, then, that the “bug” bit early on; Anthony booked several TV commercials as a child and eventually attended Hollywood High School, where his performance of a monologue from The Great White Hope secured him first place in the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition, as well as a scholarship to Howard University in 1988.
After trying his hand at stand-up, he returned to acting. Early TV and film roles include a recurring role on the Saturday morning sitcom Hang Time; Life (1999); Big Momma’s House (2000); Me, Myself & Irene (2000); See Spot Run (2001); and Barbershop (2002). But it was 2003’s Kangaroo Jack that solidified Anthony as a bona-fide star—after which, he pitched his own sitcom to Warner Bros. All About the Andersons ran on The WB for just one season, but it cemented Anthony’s place in Hollywood, and new opportunities followed: roles in blockbusters including The Departed (2006) and Transformers (2007); a recurring role on The Shield and guest spots on series such as Veronica Mars and Entourage; and a multi-season, NAACP Image Award-nominated turn on Law & Order. And then, beginning in 2014… black-ish.
Anthony executive produced and starred in the fearless, critically acclaimed ABC sitcom as Andre “Dre” Johnson, a Los Angeles advertising exec determined to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family. During the series’ incredible eight-year run, Anthony was nominated multiple times for an array of honors: the Critics Choice Award; the Golden Globe® Award; the Primetime Emmy® Award (both as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and as executive producer for Outstanding Comedy Series); the Screen Actors Guild Award; and even a Kids’ Choice Award. And he won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series a whopping seven times.
“I realized Disney was a special company when we were first pitching black-ish,” he explains. “How engaged everyone was from the beginning… This is a company that produces family entertainment, and they’re synonymous with executing that seamlessly. The studio and network also empowered us push the envelope to tell our stories and be our authentic selves.”
black-ish brought Anthony’s several related opportunities—including executive-producing its ABC spinoff series mixed-ish (2019–2021), a prequel that explored Bow’s experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ’80s, as well as Freeform’s grown-ish, which follows Bow and Dre’s eldest kids as they head off to college and beyond.
As black-ish concluded in early 2022, Anthony made a notable return to the Law & Orderfranchise, revisiting his role as Det. Kevin Bernard.
In the meantime, while he may have left the stand-up stage behind, Anthony hasn’t lost the desire to make people laugh: Since 2016, he’s hosted ABC’s popular To Tell the Truth reboot, and he costarred in ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’ in 2019.
But that’s not all: Anthony’s also lent his voice to several video games, such as Def Jam: Icon and Diablo III, as well as to animated series including Disney Channel’s The Proud Family, Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins, and Blaze and the Monster Machines.
Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2002, Anthony devotes much of his time to diabetes advocacy. Not only did he have his character Dre get diagnosed with the same condition on black-ish, but he’s also teamed up with Novo Nordisk for their “Get Real About Diabetes” campaign.
Anthony received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2020—and in May 2022, he fulfilled a dream 30 years in the making when he completed his coursework at Howard University and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
“I can’t begin to quantify how working at Disney has changed my career and life,” he says. “And I can’t think of better partners to be in business with, but more importantly, to be family with.”