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*Ron Glass was born on this date in 1945. He was an African American actor.
Ronald Earle Glass was born in Evansville, Indiana. His parents were Lethia Mae Gibson glass and Crump Allen Glass. Graduating from Saint Francis Seminary in 1964, Glass attended the University of Evansville, where he received a Bachelor of Arts double majoring in Drama and Literature. Glass stated in an interview that he knew he wanted to act while he was in college. A teacher liked his voice and encouraged him to try out for a play. He went on to act in that play (and many others) during his time on campus. Years later, the university honored his work in television and film with their highest commendation, the Medal of Honor.
Glass made his stage debut at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis before moving to Hollywood, California. His earliest TV appearances include episodes of Sanford and Son in 1972, an episode of Hawaii Five-O in 1973, an episode of All in the Family in 1973, an episode of The Bob Newhart Show, and episodes of Good Times in 1974. In 1975, he landed the role of Det. Ron Harris in Barney Miller, which ran until 1982. The following season, Glass also co-starred with Demond Wilson on television in the short-lived remake of The Odd Couple, called The New Odd Couple. On December 13, 1985, he played a soul-collecting devil opposite Sherman Hemsley's mathematics professor in an episode of the revived Twilight Zone series. In 1992, he co-starred in the short-lived sitcom Rhythm and Blues playing "the fifth Top" opposite Roger Kabler. In 1996, Glass was cast as uptight history teacher Roland Felcher in the NBC sitcom Mr. Rhodes opposite comedian Tom Rhodes. In 1999, he appeared in an episode of the sitcom Friends as Ross Geller's divorce lawyer, Russell.
In 2000, Glass began appearances in dozens of television series, including sitcoms such as Family Matters and the series Teen Angel where he played God's cousin Rod. He had a guest appearance in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Nightingale". He was a series regular in the science fiction series Firefly (2002) and the sequel film Serenity (2005), in which he played Derrial Book, a pseudo-Christian "Shepherd" with a mysterious past. Glass provided the voice of Randy Carmichael for the Nickelodeon series All Grown Up!, Rugrats and the character Garth in the video game Fable II. In 2008 he appeared in the film Lakeview Terrace alongside Samuel L. Jackson, and starred in the 2010 version of Death at a Funeral as Duncan.
Glass was a member of Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist organization and Alpha Psi Omega Fraternity Inc. He was also a member of the board of directors for Los Angeles' AL Wooten Jr. Heritage Center, an organization named for a man murdered in a gang-initiation drive-by shooting and dedicated to helping inner-city youth stay safe and receive an education. Ron Glass died of respiratory failure on November 26, 2016, at the age of 71.