Born on July 23, 1962 in Hartford, Connecticut, Eriq La Salle developed interest in the performing arts from a young age and the attention which his cousin received from his classmates at dancing school specially attracted La Salle. La Salle’s decision to pursue an acting career became firm after he joined a local youth theatre group at the age of 14.
La Salle also attended the Julliard School in New York for two years and graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1984. Upon graduation, La Salle was cast in his first play; a Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Henry V. Following the debut, La Salle continued to be a part of Broadway and non-Broadway shows and appeared in various TV shows including One Life to Live.
Moving to Los Angeles in the 1980s, the actor starred along Eddie Murphy in Coming to America. Later, he also signed a contract with the series, The Human Factor, and played the role of Dr. Peter Benton for eight seasons of the medical drama ER and was nominated for his role in the same series in 1995. Assuming the role of the doctor, La Salle drew inspiration from his own black background where his surroundings taught him that he could not be as good as his white counterparts.
Eriq La Salle got together with two of his co-actors from ER, Michael Michele and Michael Beach, to work in Hallmark Channel’s original movie, Relative Stranger, which premiered in March 2009. The following year, La Salle starred in the series finale of 24 as the Unite Nations Secretary General and made a guest appearance on one of Covert Affairs’ episodes in the same year.
Wishing to break down some of the barriers that the minorities face in the movie industry, La Salle soon became involved in writing and directing as well and served all three purposes in his short film, Psalms, a story based on a female black militant. La Salle invested into the movie with his own money as well and later sold the rights to Mel Gibson.
He soon directed a movie for HBO as well, titled Angel of