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Clarke Peters (1952)

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Clarke Peters is an American actor, singer, writer and director best known for his role as Detective Lester Freamon on the HBO drama The Wire.


 early life
Peters was born Peter Clarke as the second of four sons in New York City and grew up in Englewood, New Jersey. At the age of twelve, he had his first theater experience, in a school production of My Fair Lady. He began to have serious ambitions to work in the theater at the age of 14. He graduated from Dwight Morrow High School in 1970.

Shortly before he left the United States, he was arrested, but then later cleared, after an anti-Vietnam war demonstration for obstructing police lines. He later said of this experience: "It made me more angry than anything else, because what I experienced was how impotent you could be as an American citizen."

In 1971, Peters' elder brother enabled him to work as a costume designer for a production of the musical Hair in Paris, in which he later starred. While there, he received a letter from the FBI that accused him of draft evasion. When he went to New Jersey to contest his charge, he said "if the enemy comes to America, I'll be there, but I don't know the Vietnamese. If you put me in the army, I'm not going there."

In 1973, he moved to London, and changed his name to Clarke Peters because Peter Clarke was such a common name. While in London, he formed a soul band, The Majestics, and worked as a backup singer on such hits as "Love and Affection" by Joan Armatrading, "Boogie Nights" by Heatwave, and some David Essex songs. However, music was not Peters' main ambition, and he preferred to work in the theater.

His first West End theatre musical roles, which he received with assistance from his friend Ned Sherrin, were I Gotta Shoe and Bubbling Brown Sugar . Other West End credits include Blues in the Night, Porgy and Bess, The Witches of Eastwick, Chicago, and Chess.

After writing several revues with Sherrin, In 1990 Peters wrote the revue Five Guys Named Moe, which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical. He followed this up with Unforgettable, a musical about Nat King Cole, which received "shocking" reviews. He starred in the 2010 UK production of Five Guys Named Moe.

As an actor, he has appeared on Broadway in The Iceman Cometh , which won him the Theatre World Award, and as shady lawyer Billy Flynn in the revival of Chicago in 2000 and 2003. In regional theatre he has appeared in Driving Miss Daisy, The Wiz, Bubbling Brown Sugar, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Carmen Jones, and The Amen Corner.

Peters is familiar to television viewers as Detective Lester Freamon in the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire. Peters also starred in the HBO mini series The Corner, portraying a drug addict named Fat Curt, as well as the FX series Damages as Dave Pell. Both The Wire and The Corner were created by writer and former Baltimore Sun journalist David Simon. Peters also stars in Simon's HBO series Treme. Other screen credits include Notting Hill, K-Pax, Mona Lisa, Freedomland, Nativity! and Marley & Me.

He also appeared in the UK show Holby City, appearing as Derek Newman, the father of nurse Donna Jackson. He voiced a part in the Doctor Who animated episode Dreamland. And in the In Plain Sight episode Duplicate Bridge as a man in Witness Protection named Norman Baker/Norman Danzer. He played Nelson Mandela in the 2009 film, Endgame. In 2010, he read Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption for BBC 7.

In the HBO drama series Treme created by The Wire creator David Simon, he plays the role of Albert Lambreaux.

In September 2011, Peters appeared on stage in a Sheffield Crucible Theatre production of Shakespeare's Othello, playing the title role opposite his Wire co-star Dominic West, who played the evil Iago.

 personal life
Peters lives in London with his wife Penny and their third son, Max, who played the young Michael Jackson in the West End production of the musical Thriller – Live, and is a follower of the Brahma Kumaris.

An earlier relationship produced two sons: Joe Jacobs, an actor, and Guppy, who died of a kidney tumor at the age of four in 1990.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Clarke Peters", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.