Warren, Michael 1946–
Michael Warren 1946–
Michael Warren, best known for his role as Officer Bobby Hill on the popular 1980s television series Hill Street Blues, has had a variety of roles both in front of and behind the camera. In 1976, for instance, he served as producer of What’s Happening, a situation comedy featuring African American characters almost exclusively; and in 1989 he became executive producer of Family Matters, a show he created. He also has written episodes for shows such as Laverne and Shirley (1976) and his own Family Matters. In addition to his work on Hill Street Blues, Warren has had occasional roles on a wide range of programs, including S.W.A.T., Tales from the Darkside, L.A. Law, In the House, Murder One, and Living Single. In 2000, he accepted a role on the hospital drama, City of Angles. Warren has also appeared in films such as Butterflies Are Free and Cleopatra Jones.
Warren grew up in a working-class family, in South Bend, Indiana, the son of a janitor who worked a second job driving a garbage truck. Despite racial tensions in high school, as Warren later told David Gritten of People, “basketball was the great equalizer.” He excelled in the sport, and received over one hundred scholarship offers before he settled on the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). There he had the opportunity to play on an outstanding team which won the 1967 and 1968 national championships—a fact due in no small part to the contributions of center Lew Alcindor, later to become a superstar under the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
After college Warren recognized that sports was not the most sure route to success, and, despite his desire to become an actor, he told Gritten that he remained opposed to “the idea that sports and show business should be the only vehicles for our black youths to escape their depressed state. I’d much rather see the time and effort being put into becoming political scientists, doctors, or lawyers. Trying to be a working actor is as difficult for a black as becoming chairman of General Motors.”
Fortunately Warren defied the odds, and ultimately won a spot on Hill Street Blues, which would influence notable police shows of the 1990s such as NYPD Blue, Homicide: Life on the Street, and Law and Order. Prior to working on Hill Street Blues, Warren told Gritten, “I saw most cops as bad guys, abusing their power.” But while riding on patrol with the Los Angeles Police Department to get material for his part as Officer Bobby Hill, Warren gained a new respect for the men and women in blue. “It made me a lot more sympathetic toward cops,” he said. Warren was nominated for an Emmy award for his work on the show.
In 1988, a year after Hill Street Blues ended, Warren helped launch a pilot for what he hoped would be a regular series on NBC, Home Free. Though the show did not succeed, it was clearly a valiant effort in the eyes of critics, one of whom described it in the Washington Post as “The Waltons’ with grit.” In the show Warren played Michael Davis, co-owner of a construction
At a Glance…
Career: Basketball technical adviser for the film Drive, He Said, 1971 ; acted in television series, including Hill Street Blues, 1981-87; City of Angels, 2000; TV minis-eries, Robin Cook’s “Invasion,” 1997; actor in TV movies, The Kid Who Loved Christmas 1990; Stompin’ at the Savoy, 1992; Buffalo Soldiers, 1997; The Wedding, 1998; actor in pilots; appeared on episodic TV, including Tales from the Darkside, 1984; In the Heat of the Night, 1988; LA Law, 1989; Dream On, 1990; In the House, 1995; Early Edition, 1996; High Incident, 1996; Living Single, 1996; Murder One, 1996; Marcus Welhy, M.D., The Mod Squad, Police Story, and Days of Our Lives; director of episodes, Sanford and Son, 1972; The Diahann Carroll Show, 1976; Fish, 1977; producer, What’s Happening! (series), 1976; co-producer, Home Free (pilot), 1988; creator and executive producer, Family Matters, beginning 1989, Step by Step beginning 1991, executive producer, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper 1994-97; actor in films, including Drive, He Said, 1971; Butterflies Are Free, 1972; Cleopatra Jones, 1973; NormanJs That Youî, 1976; Fast Break, Columbia, 1979; Heaven Is a Playground, 1991; Storyville, 1992; A Passion to Kill 1994; The Hunted, 1995 ; wrote television episodes for: Láveme and Shirley, 1976; Family Matters, 1989; Step by Step, 1991.
Awards; Emmy Award nomination for Hill Street Blues,
Addresses: Office —189 Greenfield Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90049.
company who also runs a foster home for teen boys. Asked by Lisa Black of Newsday if he had contributed to the script, Warren said he had “presented a skeleton story” which the writers had “dressed.” As an actor and producer, he said, he had contributed more substantially to the creation of his character and others on the show. Asked by Black if he thought the show would encourage families to bring foster children into their homes, Warren responded: “I hope the public will start viewing foster kids as human beings, not as outsiders.”
According to an article by Jerry Buck in the Chicago Tribune, Warren arrived at the idea of the show because he would not allow his children to watch the violence on Hill Street Blues, but he wanted them to follow his work in some capacity. “I knew I was on to something,” he told Buck, “when my daughter learned all the lines and wanted pictures of the boys [in Home Free]”
Home Free was only the first of Warren’s forays into television producing. He has served as producer on numerous televison shows for various networks. He created and served as executive producer for the ABC’s popular series Family Matters. Warren also produced What’s Happening!, Step By Step, and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, among others.
In 1998 Warren appeared with Halle Berry and Lynn Whitfield in “Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding.” An adaptation of Dorothy West’s novel, The Wedding, the two-night miniseries is the story of Shelby Coles (played by Berry), a wealthy, young African American woman who becomes engaged to a poor, white musician. Warren played Clark Coles, Shelby’s father.
In 2000 Warren won a role on the CBS drama City of Angels. The series, which debuted during protests over the lack of minorities on prime time, centers around characters who work in a Los Angeles hospital and features a predominantly black cast. Initial reviews of the show were mixed. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly said that “there is very little to distinguish the show from any other passably good hour-long series” and that City of Angels is “a show that could be played by white actors as easily as by blacks.” Michael Speier, however, said in Variety that the show’s “down-to-earth spin feels as fresh as “ER” did when it bowed in 1994.” Speier admits that there is nothing innovative about the show’s plots, however, “even the stalest themes can be reused if supported by solid performances.” The ensemble cast, Speier said, was one of the show’s strengths and that Warren’s performance as hospital CEO Ron Harris was a highlight. Although the show’s ratings were low, CBS announced that it would pick up the series for a second season, due to the letters, calls, and e-mails of fans. However, the show was then canceled in November of 2000.
Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Volume 18, Gale (Detroit), 1998.
Calgary Herald, March 17, 1995, p. C8.
Chicago Tribune, July 13, 1988, p. C9.
Entertainment Weekly, January 21, 2000.
Jet, February 27, 1995, p. 41; June 5, 2000, P. 37.
Los Angeles Times, March 12, 1995, p. 75.
Newsday, July 13, 1988, p. 32.
People, September 13, 1982, p. 121.
Variety, January 10, 2000; February 23, 2000.
Washington Post, July 13, 1988, p. Dl.
—Judson Knight and Jennifer M. York
Warren, Michael 1946- (Mike Warren)
Warren, Michael 1946- (Mike Warren)
Full name, Lloyd Michael Warren; born March 5, 1946, in South Bend, IN; father, a janitor and truck driver; married Susie Narramore, September 25, 1974 (divorced); married Jenny Palacios; children: (first marriage) Kekoa, Cash; (second marriage) Grayson Andres, Makayla. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., theater arts.
Agent—Bresler Kelly and Associates, 11500 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 510, Los Angeles, CA 90064.
Actor, producer, and writer. Basketball technical adviser for the film Drive, He Said, Columbia, 1971; All-American basketball player with the Bruins at University of California, Los Angeles.
Named Academic All-American, National Collegiate Athletic Association, 1966; listed as a "promising new actor of 1976," Screen World; Emmy Award nomination, best supporting actor in a drama series, 1982, for Hill Street Blues.
(Uncredited) Referee, Halls of Anger, 1970.
(As Mike Warren) Easly, Drive, He Said, Columbia, 1971.
Roy, Butterflies Are Free, Columbia, 1972.
Andy/Mike, Cleopatra Jones, Warner Bros., 1973.
Norman Chambers, Norman … Is That You?, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1976.
Preacher, Fast Break, Columbia, 1979.
(As Mike Warren) Miami Supercops (also known as Poliziotti dell'ottava strada, Poliziotti della a strada, and Trinity: Good Guys and Bad Guys), 1985.
Ace, Dreamaniac, Infinity, 1987.
Eddie, Cold Steel, 1987.
Byron, Heaven Is a Playground, Columbia TriStar Home Video, 1991.
Nathan LeFleur, Storyville, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1992.
Martindale, A Passion to Kill (also known as Rules of Obsession), A-Pix Entertainment, 1994.
Chase, The Hunted, Universal, 1995.
Shapic, Trippin', October Films, 1999.
Mr. Anderson, Anderson's Cross, Crossroads Pictures, 2007.
Television Appearances; Series:
Ranger P. J. Lewis, Sierra, NBC, 1974.
Jerry Davis, Days of Our Lives (also known as Days and DOOL), NBC, 1976.
Sergeant Willie Miller, Paris, CBS, 1979-80.
Officer Bobby Hill, Hill Street Blues, NBC, 1981-87.
Walt Nestor, Against the Grain, NBC, 1993.
Michael "T-Dog" Turner, Sweet Justice, NBC, 1994-95.
Ron Harris, City of Angels, CBS, 2000.
Baron Marks, Soul Food, Showtime, 2002-2004.
Spencer Sutton, Lincoln Heights, ABC Family, 2007.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
Dr. Harlan McCoy, Robin Cook's "Invasion" (also known as Robin Cook's "Alien Infestation" and Robin Cook's "Lethal Invasion"), NBC, 1997.
Clark Coles, The Wedding (also known as Oprah Winfrey Presents: "The Wedding"), ABC, 1998.
Television Appearances; Movies:
First officer, The Young Runaways, 1978.
Phillips, Just a Little More Love, NBC, 1983.
Rennie Stuart, The Child Saver, NBC, 1988.
Tony Parks, The Kid Who Loved Christmas (also known as The Boy Who Loved Christmas), syndicated, 1990.
Calvin Hunter, Stompin' at the Savoy, CBS, 1992.
Corporal Eddie Tockes, Buffalo Soldiers, TNT, 1997.
After All, Black Entertainment Television, 1999.
Species III, Sci-Fi Channel, 2004.
Television Appearances; Pilots:
(As Mike Warren) Most Wanted, ABC, 1976.
Michael Davis, Home Free, NBC, 1988.
Ben Masterson, A Little Bit Strange, NBC, 1989.
Walt Nestor, Against the Grain, 1993.
Television Appearances; Specials:
NBC team member, Battle of the Network Stars X, ABC, 1981.
NBC team member, Battle of the Network Stars XIII, ABC, 1982.
A Celebration of Life: A Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., 1984.
The 13th Annual People's Choice Awards, 1987.
Dr. Garcia, "Private Affairs" (also known as "Student Affairs"), ABC Afterschool Specials, ABC, 1989.
Judge, The 1989 Miss Universe Pageant, CBS, 1989.
Magic Johnson's All-Star Slam 'n Jam, syndicated, 1992.
Andre Dyson, "Crosses on the Lawn," CBS Schoolbreak Specials, CBS, 1993.
American Coaches: Men of Vision and Victory, HBO, 1994.
The 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1998.
Project X: The Castration Experiment, Discovery Channel, 1999.
"Entertainment Tonight" Presents: "Hill Street Blues"—Behind the Badge, 2000.
The 100 Most Memorable TV Moments, 2004.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Lon, "A Short Course in War," The Mod Squad, ABC, 1971.
"Cross-Match," Marcus Welby, M.D. (also known as Robert Young, Family Doctor), ABC, 1971.
Larry Carter, "The Princess and the Pig," Adam-12, NBC, 1972.
Marine, "LA International," Adam-12, NBC, 1974.
Wyatt, "Death Score," S.W.A.T., ABC, 1975.
Detective Marshall, "The Boy Next Door," Joe Forrester, NBC, 1976.
Bobby Magnum, "Wanna Bet?" The White Shadow, CBS, 1979.
Andrew Tyler, "Marathon," Lou Grant, 1979.
Himself, "The Great 5k Star Race and Boulder Wrap Party: Part 2," CHiPs (also known as CHiPs Patrol), 1980.
Just Men!, 1983.
Pete Bancroft, "The Satanic Piano," Tales from the Darkside, syndicated, 1985.
Mitchell Evans, "Teach Me Tonight: Parts 1 & 2," 227, NBC, 1987.
Matthew Pogue, "The Hammer and the Glove," In the Heat of the Night, NBC, 1988.
Ray Davis, "Izzy Ackerman or Is He Not," L.A. Law, NBC, 1989.
"The Taking of Pablum 1-2-3," Dream On, HBO, 1990.
Walter Riggins, "Business with Pleasure," Knots Landing, CBS, 1991.
Reverend Soams, "Save the Best for Last: Parts 1 & 2," A Different World, 1992.
Mr. Kiehler, "Greenwich Mean Time," Class of '96, 1993.
Frank Matumba, "A Stranger in Time," Time Trax, syndicated, 1993.
Policeman, "The Taking of Pablum 1-2-3: Part 1," Dream On, 1994.
Milton, "The Lost Weekend," In the House, NBC, 1995.
Milton, "Daddy's Home," In the House, NBC, 1995.
Milton, "Nanna Don't Play," In the House, NBC, 1995.
Connie Hooks, "Hoops," Early Edition, CBS, 1996.
Ron, High Incident, ABC, 1996.
Swaboda, Murder One, ABC, 1996.
Milton, "Love on a One-Way Street," In the House, UPN, 1996.
Milton, "Hoop Screams," In the House, UPN, 1996.
Ken Hicks, "Chapter Nine, Year Two," Murder One, ABC, 1997.
Ken Hicks, "Chapter Ten, Year Two," Murder One, ABC, 1997.
Ken Hicks, "Chapter Eleven, Year Two," Murder One, ABC, 1997.
Ken Hicks, "Chapter Twelve, Year Two," Murder One, ABC, 1997.
Ed "Eddie" James, "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," Living Single (also known as My Girls), Fox, 1997.
Ray Krause, "Three Point Shot," The Sentinel, UPN, 1997.
Desmond, "'Til Your Well Runs Dry," Sparks, UPN, 1998.
Desmond, "Blind Justice," Sparks, UPN, 1998.
Detective Wells, "Java Jive," Sliders, Fox, 1999.
"Jim Brown," ESPN Sports Century, ESPN, 2000.
Any Day Now, Lifetime, 2001.
Officer William Henderson, "The Project," The District, CBS, 2001.
Bill Clayton, "Joan Birthday Suit," Girlfriends, UPN, 2001.
Doctor, "Normal Again," Buffy the Vampire Slayer (also known as Buffy, BtVS, and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer: The Series), UPN, 2002.
"John Wooden," ESPN Sports Century, ESPN, 2003.
Captain John Tally, "Secret Agent Man," JAG (also known as JAG: Judge Advocate General), CBS, 2003.
Mr. Davis, "Lost and Found," The Division (also known as Heart of the City), NBC, 2004.
Mr. Reeves, "What Dreams May Come," American Dreams (also known as Our Dreams), NBC, 2004.
Lamont, "A River in Egypt," Kevin Hill, UPN, 2005.
Perri Reed's father, "Timeless," Night Stalker, ABC, 2006.
"Save Me," Crossing Jordan, 2006.
Bill Clayton, "It's Been Determined," Girlfriends, 2007.
Also appeared as guest host, Friday Night Videos, NBC; in Police Story, NBC.
Television Work; Series:
Producer, What's Happening!, ABC, 1976.
Creator and executive producer, Family Matters, ABC, beginning 1989.
Creator and executive producer, The Family Man, ABC, 1990.
Creator and executive producer, Step by Step, ABC, beginning 1991.
Creator and executive producer, Getting By, ABC, 1993.
Executive producer, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, ABC, 1994-97.
Co-executive producer, Kirk (also known as Life Happens), The WB, 1995-96.
Television Work; Pilots:
(With Kevin Inch) Producer, Home Free, NBC, 1988.
Television Work; Specials:
Creator, "Family Matters," The ABC Saturday Morning Preview, ABC, 1990.
Creator, "Step by Step," The Saturday Morning Preview Special, ABC, 1992.
Television Director; Episodic:
Sanford and Son, NBC, 1972.
The Diahann Carroll Show, CBS, 1976.
Fish, ABC, 1977.
A Flea in Her Ear, Meadow Brook Theatre, Rochester, MI, 1986.
Laverne and Shirley, ABC, 1976.
Family Matters, ABC, 1989.
The Family Man, ABC, 1990.
Step by Step, ABC, 1991.
Getting By, ABC, 1993.
Kirk (also known as Life Happens), The WB, 1995.
Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 27, Gale, 2001.
Entertainment Weekly, January 21, 2000.
Jet, February 27, 1995, p. 41; June 5, 2000, p. 37.
Variety, January 10, 2000; February 23, 2000.