I’ve always been fascinated with bigger than life macho actors like Mr. T on The A-Team and Michael Dorn on Star Trek; The Next Generation. I think I secretly wish I was a huge black man bulging with muscles. Since I’m not, I’ll just resign myself to being a fan. One such powerful actor of color that I am a gigantic fan of is Tony Todd.
Although you may not recognize the name, chances are you’ve seen actor Tony Todd on television or the silver screen. He’s one of those great character actors who disappear into their role to the degree you forget you are watching an actor and just get wrapped up in the story they are telling.
I first became aware of Tony for his appearances as Lt. Worf’s brother Kurn on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990-91) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1996). Under heavy Klingon makeup, Tony wasn’t recognizable by his face in the role, but his energy was unmistakable.
The fact is Tony has a long history with Star Trek. He also appeared as the adult version of Jake Sisko in the DS9 episode The Visitor and as Alpha Hirogen on Star Trek: Voyager. He also reprised his role as Worf’s brother Kurn in the 1998 video game Star Trek: The Next Generation: Klingon Honor Guard. In 2017 returned to the Star Trek universe as General Rodek in the game Star Trek Online.
In 1995, Tony starred opposite Christopher Reeve in Black Fox, a Western television miniseries based upon Matt Braun’s novel of the same name. I had never heard of Black Fox when I found the videos in a forgotten corner of the library, but I recognized Tony Todd’s name and eagerly checked out them all out and thoroughly enjoyed them.
Those aren’t Tony’s only credits – far from it. His acting career dates back to 1986 with characters in the films Sleepwalk and Platoon. In 1992 he starred as the title character in the horror film Candyman – perhaps his most well-known work. He reprised the role in 1995’s Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh and 1999’s Candyman: Day of the Dead. A new Candyman film is currently in post-production and should premier in 2021. Other famous films on his resume include Colors, Lean on Me, Night of the Living Dead, The Crow, The Rock, Final Destination, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Frankenstein.
On television Tony has guest starred in dozens of hit series. His television credits include Simon & Simon, 21 Jump Street, Night Court, McGyver, Law & Order, The X-Files, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Murder She Wrote, NYPD Blue, Xena: Warrior Princess, Smallville, Charmed, CSI: Miami, 24, Criminal Minds, Star Gate SG-1, Hawaii Five-0, The Young and the Restless, Riverdale, The Orville, and Scream.
Tony Todd has also appeared on Broadway and Off Broadway. His theatrical credits include King Hedley II, The Captain’s Tiger, No Place to be Somebody, Les Blancs, Playboys of the West Indies, Othello, Zooman and the Sign, Dark Paradise, Aida, and Levee James.
Tony Todd ranks as one of my all-time favorite actors, right up there with Mr. T and Michael Dorn. I’ve never worked with Tony, but I hope our paths cross one day. He is incredibly talented and I love working with talented people who make those they perform opposite even better.
If you get a chance, check out some of Tony’s work on video. He’s done enough films and television that you should be able to find some of his work on most of today’s streaming services. I’m sure you’ll agree that he is a very powerful performer. And, of course, Tony Todd gets the Rikki Lee thumbs up sign of approval.
Peace. Love. Trust.
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