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A dependable supporting player on television for nearly two decades, actor David Ramsey moved smoothly between drama and comedy in such popular series as "Dexter" (Showtime, 2006-13), "Blue Bloods" (CBS, 2010- ) and "Arrow" (The CW, 2012- ). He paid his dues as a bit player in the early '90s, landing minor roles in major features like "Con Air" (1997) before scoring his first turn as a leading man with the sitcom "Good News" (1997-1998) for UPN. Ramsey soon moved into major projects like "Ali: An American Hero (Fox, 2000), which cast him in the title role, and "Pay It Forward" (2000), but soon returned to journeyman work as a guest star on TV. He enjoyed critical acclaim and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for his role as a police informant on "Dexter," which naturally drew the attention of small screen casting agents seeking to parlay his new popularity into their series projects. Few of these subsequent efforts had much lasting power, though Ramsey did find consistent work with a recurring role on "Blue Bloods." In 2012, he found a suitable outlet for his talents in "Arrow," which cast him as bodyguard and partner to Stephen Arnell's playboy turned crimefighter. Ramsey's large and diverse list of credits, all culled in a relatively short period of time, underscored his status as one of television's most reliable character actors.
The fourth of five children by repairman Nathaniel Ramsey and his wife Jeraldine, a daycare owner, David Ramsey was born on November 17, 1971 in Detroit, Michigan. He fell in love with acting after appearing in a play at his local church, and studied the craft at Wayne State University in Detroit before heading west to try his hand at Hollywood. Ramsey made his screen debut in the low-budget supernatural thriller "Scared Stiff" (1987), but his career would not launch into full gear until almost a decade later with a string of bit parts in television series and features, including "The Nutty Professor" (1996) and "Con Air." His first starring role came with the sitcom "Good News," which cast him as a young pastor who attempts to win over the congregation at a large African-American church. The series, which was the last production from MTM Enterprises, won critical praise, lasted only a single season, but helped to boost Ramsey's profile in the entertainment industry. By 2000, he was playing legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in the TV biopic "Ali: An American Hero," while enjoying prominent supporting roles in major features like "Pay It Forward." The following year, he appeared as a golf pro in "Mr. Bones" (2001), a slapstick comedy from South Africa that became the second highest grossing domestic feature in the country's history.
However, episodic television remained Ramsey's most consistent showcase, and for much of the early new millennium, he enjoyed consistent guest and recurring turns on "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006), "Ghost Whisperer" (CBS, 2005-2010), "Huff" (Showtime, 2004-2006) and the Will Smith/Jada Pinkett Smith-produced sitcom "All of Us" (UPN/The CW, 2003-2007). In 2008, his career took an upward swing in the third season of "Dexter" when he was cast as Anton Briggs, a police informant whose romantic involvement with police detective Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) put him in the path of a serial killer known as The Skinner. Ramsey shared a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast with his fellow performers before Briggs was written out of the series in its fourth season. The spotlight afforded by his appearances on "Dexter" led to more television work: he was a series regular on the short-lived legal dramas "Outlaw" (NBC, 2010) with Jimmy Smits and "The Defenders" (CBS, 2010-2011), then segued into a recurring role as Boston Mayor Carter Poole on the popular police procedural "Blue Bloods." In 2012, Ramsey joined the cast of The CW's action-drama "Arrow," which was based on the long-running DC Comics character Green Arrow. He was cast as John Diggle, an ex-military specialist who joined billionaire Oliver Queen (Stephen Arnell) in his fight against crime and corruption.
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