Jesse L. Martin
A handsome African-American actor, Jesse L. Martin broke through as part of the original cast of the seminal 1996 Broadway musical, "Rent," a late-1980s, NYC/HIV gloss on Puccini's classic opera "La Bohème." Martin's performance as Tom Collins, a gay professor and lover of the doomed drag queen Angel, led to a recurring role as Dr. Greg Butters, the seemingly perfect new boyfriend of "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002). Showing an impressive off-screen savvy, Martin moved on to "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010), where he was cast as Jerry Orbach's loose cannon new partner, detective Ed Green. He stayed with the show until 2008, taking a leave of absence to reprise his Broadway role in the film version of "Rent" (2005), as well as notching supporting roles in indie films like "The Cake Eaters" (2007) with Kristen Stewart and co-starring on the short-lived show "The Philanthropist" (NBC, 2009) and the hit musical series, "Smash" (NBC, 2012-13) before scoring his dream role in the long-gestating Marvin Gaye biopic, "Sexual Healing." Although he never truly broke out as an A-list star, Martin proved a reliably likable presence and a welcome addition to any ensemble.