Courtney B. Vance
Courtney B. Profile
Character Benjamin Brooks
Season(s) 1
Date of Birth March 12, 1960
Birthplace Detroit, Michigan, USA
IMDb profile

Courtney Benard Vance (born March 12, 1960) is an American actor. He used to be a regular on Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Assistant District Attorney Ron Carver. He was also a series regular on the ABC series FlashForward. As of 2011, he appears on the TNT series The Closer as Chief Tommy Delk. He portrays Benjamin Brooks in the series, Revenge.

Early Life

Vance was born Courtney Bernard Vance in Detroit, Michigan on March 12, 1960, the son of Leslie, a librarian, and Conroy Vance, a grocery store manager and benefits administrator. He attended Detroit Country Day School, a fee-paying university-preparatory school, and later graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor of arts degree. While attending Harvard, Vance was already working as an actor at the Boston Shakespeare Company. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree later at Yale School of Drama where he met future wife and fellow student Angela Bassett.


Vance has earned 2 Tony Award nominations, each in Tony Award-winning productions. He was nominated for his role in August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences and for his lead role in John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation. In 1987, he won a Clarence Derwent Award for his role as Cory Maxson in Fences.

Prior to joining the cast of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Vance appeared on the original Law & Order series twice: in a minor role in the first-season episode "By Hooker, By Crook", and in a major role in the fifth season episode "Rage".

His feature film roles have won him praise. His early credits include Hamburger Hill, The Hunt for Red October, The Last Supper, Dangerous Minds, and The Adventures of Huck Finn. More recently, he appeared in Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune, Penny Marshall's The Preacher's Wife, and in Clint Eastwood's Space Cowboys. Vance also starred in Love and Action in Chicago, a romantic comedy which he also co-produced. Vance played Black Panther Bobby Seale in the Melvin and Mario Van Peebles docudrama Panther. In 2008 and 2009, he guest starred in the final season of ER, alongside his wife Angela Bassett. He was also in Hurricane Season.

Vance's television credits include such cable movies as:

  • Blind Faith (opposite Charles S. Dutton), for which he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor in 1999)
  • The 1997 William Friedkin-directed 12 Angry Men (with Jack Lemmon, George C. Scott and Ossie Davis)
  • The Hallmark presentation The Boys Next Door (alongside Nathan Lane, Tony Goldwyn, and Michael Jeter)
  • The Tuskegee Airmen (with Laurence Fishburne and Andre Braugher)
  • The television production of August Wilson's play The Piano Lesson
  • The Affair, for which he received a 1996 CableACE Award nomination as Best Actor
  • The Showtime presentation Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story
  • Guest starred in ER as Russell Banfield, Dr. Catherine Banfield's husband.
  • Voiced several ex-slave narratives in Unchained Memories, aired on HBO in February 2003.

On December 2, 2008, TV Guide reported that Vance has been cast as the Los Angeles bureau chief of the FBI in the new ABC pilot FlashForward, which is based on a Robert J. Sawyer novel, and is said to be a possible “companion show” to Lost. Vance is set for the lead in the German-American apocalypse thriller The Divide.

Vance has also provided the voiceover for the National Football League's "You Want the NFL, Go to the NFL" television spots.

Personal Life

Vance is married to Angela Bassett, whom he first met in 1997. The couple's first kids are twins, son Slater Josiah and daughter Bronwyn Golden, born on January 27, 2006. He and Bassett have authored a book, Friends: A Love Story. The two also participate in the annual Christmas celebration, Candlelight Processional, at Epcot.

Vance is on the Board of Directors for The Actors Center in New York City, and is an active supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He is an alumnus of the Detroit Boys & Girls Club, and was recently inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.