William Allen Young
The actor William Allen Young was born into poor circumstances and raised on the tough streets of South Central L. A., but as an adult became a familiar face to television viewers and a prominent humanitarian. He was an award-winning rhetorician at the University of Southern California, where he was a member of the speech-and-debate team and also earned degrees in sociolinguistics and rhetoric and debate. After a string of guest spots on shows like "Cagney & Lacey" and "The Jeffersons," he was cast in director Norman Jewison's World War II-era race-relations drama, "A Soldier's Story," in which he costarred with an up-and-coming Denzel Washington. Young also worked with Sylvester Stallone on the prison-set action movie "Lock Up." But he is best-known as Frank Mitchell, the widowed father of R&B singer Brandy, on the UPN series "Moesha." Despite being labeled as a sitcom, the show often addressed social issues that were close to Young's heart. After that program ran its course, the actor continued to work on TV and has had recurring roles on the hit forensics drama "CSI" and its spinoff "CSI: Miami." He also founded the Young Center for Academic and Cultural Enrichment, and was named an Ambassador of Goodwill by President Clinton.