From stage to screen, CARL LUMBLY (narrating the words of Malcolm X) is an actor known for his steadfast talent, versatility, and class. With over 50 credits to his resumé, Lumbly is at a height in his prolific career. Lumbly portrayed CIA agent Marcus Dixon, the gentle, mild-mannered field partner to agent Sidney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) for five seasons on ABC’s fast-paced drama series Alias. For the stage, Lumbly most recently starred in the San Francisco Playhouse’s production of Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ raucous drama, directed by Bill English. For his remarkable performance, Lumbly was honored with a San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Performance by an Actor.
Lumbly was born in Minnesota, the son of Jamaican immigrants. His father was an avid reader, which inspired Lumbly’s early appreciation for literature. After graduating from Macalester College with a degree in English, he landed a job writing for the Associated Press in Minneapolis. He also supplemented his income by doing freelance writing assignments for various periodicals and magazines.
While on assignment for a story on Dudley Rigg’s Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre, Lumbly attended a public audition and was handed an audition card. “I thought it would be a great perspective from which to write the story,” he says. After a three-week audition process, the company offered Lumbly a coveted spot in its cast. He stayed for two years, performing improvisational comedy flavored with political satire.
Lumbly moved to San Francisco, intending to continue his work as a journalist for the Associated Press. Just two days after arriving in the city, he came across a newspaper ad seeking “two black actors for South African political plays.” He went to the audition and met the other actor already cast – an unknown Danny Glover. Lumbly landed the part and toured with Glover in productions of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi is Dead and The Island. The plays brought Lumbly to Los Angeles, where he signed with an agent, and soon after moved to New York. He landed his first significant on-screen role in a “movie-of-the-week” entitled Cagney and Lacey, which became the hit series. Lumbly starred as Detective Mark Petrie for the show’s seven-year run.
Lumbly has earned several awards and nominations for his work. His extensive feature credits include Men of Honor, Everybody’s All-American, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, South Central, Pacific Heights, To Sleep With Anger, The Bedroom Window, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, and Caveman.
For television, Lumbly starred in the telefilms Color of Friendship (directed by Kevin Hooks), Little Richard, On Promised Land, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, Nightjohn, and, more recently, Sounder – ABC’s telefilm remake of the 1972 classic. He has also made numerous guest-starring appearances on such series as The West Wing, ER, The X-Files, and L.A. Law.