Benton Harbor, MI
|Joined the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school, but was dismissed less than three months later due to asthma.|
|Became a sergeant in the special service bureau of the San Bernardino County police force in California in 1994 after studying for three acting roles with the police.|
|Made his film debut in 1976's Leadbelly, which was followed by a myriad of television appearances before his breakout role in 1984's Ghostbusters.|
|Lost the role of Winston to Arsenio Hall in 1986 for The Real Ghostbusters, an animated adaption of the movie.|
|Initially focused more on writing than acting; was the resident playwright at Detroit's Concept East Theater, one of the oldest black theaters in the country.|
|Appeared with son Ernie Jr. in the HBO series Oz.|
|Established Wayne State University's Actors Ensemble Theater so he and other black writers and performers could showcase their work.|
|Earned a full scholarship to the Yale School of Drama.|
|Enrolled in a University of Minnesota program that would lead to a PhD, but he dropped out to star in a Minneapolis production of The Great White Hope.|
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