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Brian Stokes Mitchell

Brian Stokes Mitchell

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Also Known As: Brian Mitchell, Sid Litwack Died:
Born: October 31, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Seattle, Washington, USA Profession: actor, singer, musician, composer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A commanding stage presence with a rich baritone voice, Brian Stokes Mitchell was touted as an overnight success when he starred in the stage musical "Ragtime" in Toronto in 1996 and on Broadway in 1998. In reality, the handsome, trim actor had been working toward that goal since he was a teenager in San Diego. The youngest son of a former Tuskegee airman and a policewoman, Mitchell began his career with the San Diego Junior Youth Theatre. By the time he was 14, he made his professional debut in the chorus of "Godspell" at the Old Globe Theatre. After high school, Mitchell moved to L.A., spending three seasons with the Twelfth Night Repertory Company. In 1979, he answered a casting advertisement in DRAMA-LOGUE and landed his first TV role as John Dolan in the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generation". Shortly thereafter, Mitchell landed the regular role of Dr. Justin 'Jackpot' Jackson on the CBS medical series "Trapper John, M.D." (1979-86) followed by a stint as a cop in "Houston Knights" (CBS, 1987-88).

A commanding stage presence with a rich baritone voice, Brian Stokes Mitchell was touted as an overnight success when he starred in the stage musical "Ragtime" in Toronto in 1996 and on Broadway in 1998. In reality, the handsome, trim actor had been working toward that goal since he was a teenager in San Diego. The youngest son of a former Tuskegee airman and a policewoman, Mitchell began his career with the San Diego Junior Youth Theatre. By the time he was 14, he made his professional debut in the chorus of "Godspell" at the Old Globe Theatre. After high school, Mitchell moved to L.A., spending three seasons with the Twelfth Night Repertory Company. In 1979, he answered a casting advertisement in DRAMA-LOGUE and landed his first TV role as John Dolan in the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generation". Shortly thereafter, Mitchell landed the regular role of Dr. Justin 'Jackpot' Jackson on the CBS medical series "Trapper John, M.D." (1979-86) followed by a stint as a cop in "Houston Knights" (CBS, 1987-88).

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 One Last Thing (2005)
3.
 Ruby's Bucket of Blood (2001) Earl Delacroix
4.
 Call Me Claus (2001) Cameron
5.
 Double Platinum (1999) Adam Harris
6.
 Ghost Dad (1990) Teacher
9.
 Great Streets (2000) Host ("Fifth Avenue")
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Guam and The Philippines
1965:
Studied piano from age six (date approximate)
:
Began performing as a teenager in San Diego, California
1974:
First professional role as a disciple in an Old Globe Theatre production of "Godspell" (date approximate)
1977:
Moved to Los Angeles (date approximate)
:
Spent three seasons with the Twelfth Night Repertory Company in L.A.
1979:
TV acting debut, as John Dolan in the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generation", credited as Brian Mitchell
1979:
Had regular role of Dr Justin 'Jackpot' Jackson on the CBS medical series "Trapper John, M.D."
:
Played regular role of Officer Nat Holliday on the CBS police drama "Houston Knights"
1988:
Broadway debut in "Mail"; had originated the role in Southern California
1990:
Feature acting debut in "Ghost Dad"
1990:
Starred in short-lived all-black revival of the Gershwin musical "Oh, Kay!"
1992:
Played recurring role on the NBC sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel Air"
1993:
Succeeded Gregory Hines as Jelly Roll Morton in the Broadway musical "Jelly's Last Jam"
1994:
Co-starred opposite Melba Moore in a production of the Duke Ellington musical "Queenie Pie" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
1994:
Replaced Anthony Crivello as Valentin in the Broadway musical "Kiss of the Spider Woman"
1995:
Cast in the role of Coalhouse Walker Jr in the staged reading of "Ragtime"; also appeared in the workshop and on the concept album recording; changed billing to Brian Stokes Mitchell
1996:
Played Coalhouse Walker Jr in the Toronto premiere of "Ragtime"
1997:
Moved with "Ragtime" to Los Angeles
1998:
Opened on Broadway in "Ragtime"; received Tony nomination as Actor in a Musical
1998:
Provided singing voice of Moses' father-in-law for the DreamWorks animated film "The Prince of Egypt"
:
Played Fred Grahame to Marin Mazzie's Lili Vanessi in the revival of Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate"; garnered Tony Award as Actor in a Musical
2001:
Returned to Broadway as the star of August Wilson's "King Hedley II"; garnered Tony nomination
:
Played recurring role of Cam Winston, a neighbor of the titular psychiatrist, in the NBC sitcom "Frasier"
2002:
Played Paul Berthalet in the Encores! staging of "Carnival"
2002:
Cast in title role of the Kennedy Center production of "Sweeney Todd"
2006:
Performed on stage in the "Encores!" concert staging of "Kismet," at the City Center in New York
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

He prefers to be called Stokes by his family and friends

There is an official website at www.brianstokes.com

Mitchell has his pilot's license.

"He moves with an extraordinary grace. Yet he is very centered, able to be very focused and still. His voice is resonant and warm in color and very rich, and when it lifts up into the atmosphere it has a brilliance and a steady burning intensity." --"Ragtime" director Frank Galati to THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 28, 1998

"There really hasn't been a big break. There's been a lot of little breaks. But I could trace this show ["Ragtime"] back to the very first thing I did at San Diego Junior Theater when I was 14 years old. I could trace the lineage of how one role leads to another and because somebody saw you doing this thing they hired you for this thing. It's been my path. This is another stopover on the path, and a wonderful one." --Mitchell on playing Coalhouse Walker Jr, quoted in LOS ANGELES TIMES, June 29, 1997

"I love doing theater. It's what I grew up in and is my roots. I get a huge fulfillment from it. Bit if my path is to go someplace else, hey, I'm there. I don't know what's up ahead. If it stays on stage, great. If it goes to films, great. I've always felt my career was in wiser hands than mine. Whatever in its good time is supposed to happen will happen. . . ." --Mitchell to LOS ANGELES TIMES. June 29, 1997

On advice to aspiring performers, Mitchell told DRAMA-LOGUE in 1997: "I think the first three rules are: know your craft, know your craft, know your craft. If you want any kind of longevity in the business, you have to know what you're doing. Closely following that is, know thyself. Who are you, what do you bring? Take an honest look at yourself--am I a character type, am I a leading man, am I a personality, am I an artist, am I a musical theatre performer? What category do you fit in, ethnical, size wise, vocally--on all the ways you can analyze it, figure out who you are. If you don't know who you are, you're going to have a really hard competing, because you don't know who you're going to compete with."

"Another really important point is, be honest with yourself on how talented you are and when you're really ready to compete. And that goes back to the first thing--know your craft, because to know what you're doing, you really do have to study. The last piece of advice--live life! Acting is about life, it's about human nature, it's about the way you think, our strengths and our weaknesses. Don't forget to be a human being--that's what people respond to in the theatre."

"I love theater; I get a huge fulfillment from it. But if my path is to go somewhere else, hey I'm there. I've always felt that my career was in wiser hands than mine."-- Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ebony Magazine 8/2002

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Allyson Tucker. Actor, singer. Met when they appeared together in "Oh, Kay!" in 1990; married in 1994; was in the ensemble of the Broadway musical "Ragtime".

Family close complete family listing

father:
George Mitchell. Civilian Naval engineer. Of German and African-American descent; was a Tuskegee airman and one of the first black pilots to fly combat missions for the US Air Force in WWII.
mother:
Lilian Frances Mitchell. Policewoman. Was one of the first black female cops in Seattle; died in 1985.
brother:
George Mitchell. Older.
brother:
John Mitchell. Older.
sister:
Lorna Mitchell. Older.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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