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Dennis Dexter Haysbert (born June 2, 1954) is an Americanmarker film and television actor. He is known for portraying Nelson Mandela in Goodbye Bafana, baseball player Pedro Cerrano in the Major League film trilogy, President David Palmer on the American television series 24, and Sergeant Major Jonas Blane in The Unit, as well as his work in commercials for Allstate insurance. He is also known for his authoritative, bass voice.

Personal life

Haysbert was born in San Mateo, Californiamarker, the son of Gladys (née Minor), a homemaker, and Charles Haysbert, Sr., a deputy sheriff. He is the eighth of nine children, having two sisters and six brothers. After high school, measuring 6 feet 4.5 inches (1.94 m) tall, Haysbert was offered various athletic scholarships, but instead chose to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Haysbert is a divorced father of two. He announced in April 2009 that he was starting a TV, film and documentary production company . His first project is a documentary for HBO about an up-and-coming boxer.



Haysbert has been acting in film and television since 1979, starting with a guest role in The White Shadow. His television guest starring roles include Lou Grant, Laverne & Shirley, The A-Team, Dallasmarker, Magnum, P.I., Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Duckman. In 1993 he had a featured role in Return to Lonesome Dove as outlaw Cherokee Jack Jackson. In 1999, Haysbert starred with Eric Close in Now and Again, which was cancelled after its first season.

In 2001, Haysbert became better known when he was cast in 24 playing U.S. Senator David Palmer, who served as America's first Black President (in the context of the show) during the second and third seasons. He also returned as a guest star in the last six episodes of season 4 and the first episode of season 5. He stated in an interview for the show that the three men he admires most — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Colin Powell — collectively embody his idea of what a President should be. Haysbert believes that his playing of David Palmer on 24 helped Barack Obama — whom Haysbert supported — to win the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination..

Haysbert was the first actor to portray DC Comics character Kilowog, a member of the Green Lantern Corps, in a medium outside of comics. He provided the voice of Kilowog on various episodes of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.

On March 4, 2006, Haysbert guest starred on the Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Natalie Portman as the host of a live action/animated TV Funhouse cartoon called Belated Black History Moment. In his role, Haysbert paid homage to fictional short-lived Saturday morning cartoons featuring black characters, such as "Ladysmith Black Mambazo in Outer Space".

Haysbert portrayed the lead character Jonas Blane in the CBS action-drama The Unit, which ended after its fourth season on 10th May 2009.

Mr. Haysbert hosted and narrated the Military History Channel presentation of Secrets of Pearl Harbor which documented his scuba dives with a film team on World War II era Japanesemarker and Americanmarker warships in the Pacific Theater of action.


In 1989, Haysbert got his first major film role portraying Pedro Cerrano, a voodoo-practicing Cuban refugee baseball player, in the movie Major League. In it, he uttered the memorable line: "Is very bad to steal Jobu's rum; is very bad". Haysbert followed that up with a role in 1990's Navy SEALs, which also starred Charlie Sheen, before moving on to another baseball movie, Mr. Baseball with Tom Selleck. In 1992, he co-starred with Michelle Pfeiffer in Love Field, a film about a series of events occurring contemporaneously with the assassination and funeral of President John F. Kennedy.

In 1994, Haysbert reprised his role as Cerrano in Major League II. This was followed by low key appearances in Waiting to Exhale, Heat, and Absolute Power. In 1998, Haysbert made another appearance as Cerrano in Major League: Back to the Minors. In 1999, Haysbert played a police detective in three different films: The Minus Man, The Thirteenth Floor, and Random Hearts.

In 2002, Haysbert played the role of gardener Raymond Deagan in Far From Heaven. He won three awards (Satellite Award, Black Reel Award, and Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award) for Best Supporting Actor for that role. In 2005, he had a supporting role in Sam Mendes's film, Jarhead. In 2007, Haysbert returned to the big screen to portray Nelson Mandela in Goodbye Bafana and an FBI agent in Breach.


Haysbert is the official spokesman for the Allstate Insurance Company. His commercials typically end with one of the two Allstate Corporation official slogans, either Are you in good hands? or That's Allstate's stand. More recently however his commercials have combined the two with "That's Allstate's stand. Are you in good hands?". In 2009 Allstate used the Neil Sedaka song "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" in television commercials to promote Allstate's car insurance. Breaking up is hard to do, the ads averred, unless one has an Allstate agent to undertake the deed for the customer, switching from another insurer to Allstate. The viewer learned that "breaking up is easy to do" as reassured on the screen by Haysbert.

Haysbert also voices the Military Channel's commercials with their official slogan: "The Military Channel—Go Behind the Lines."

Video games

In addition to his acting, Haysbert has also done voice work for various video games, most notably as Irving Lambert in the second installment of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and narrator of Call of Duty: Finest Hour. He also voiced David Palmer in 24: The Game.



  1. Dennis Haysbert Biography |
  4. Haysbert appears in the first season episode "A Dream of Jennifer" in a one time role as a spaceport guard. In the second season Haysbert becomes a crew member of the science starship Searcher. Haysbert played "the helmsman" in the "The Guardians" (season 2, episode 3) which is currently available online at Hulu His most lines are in "The Hand of the Goral" (season 2, episode 9) where he is named as Lt. Parsons. On Hulu at
  5. "24 Exposed (Part 1)" featurette, 24 season 2 bonus DVD.
  6. Haysbert Says '24' Role Paved the Way for Presidential Hopeful Barack Obama
  7. [1]

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