Bernie Hamilton was an actor who is best known for his role on Starsky and Hutch. He also appeared on The Young One (1960) and One Potato, Two Potato (1964).
Hamilton was born in East Los Angeles. He ran away from home as a teenager but eventually attended Oakland Technical High School where he played football and developed an interest in acting.
He managed to avoid stereotyping for the most part in his early films years, his debut was as a baseball player in The Jackie Robinson Story (1950). However, his big break came in 1964, when he appeared in the film One Potato, Two Potato, the story of an inter-racial marriage. Years later, he became well-recognized for his role as the brusque, no-nonsense Captain Dobey in the United States 1970s police series Starsky and Hutch.
Besides acting, Hamilton was a businessman, since the late 1960s he had operated a nightclub/art gallery called Citadel d’Haiti on Sunset Boulevard. He also produced Rhythm and blues and gospel music recordings on his own record label called Chocolate Snowman. One of his releases featured himself; it was entitled Captain Dobey Sings the Blues.
Hamilton was originally cast as “Roop” in the film, Claudine (1974), but was dropped when Diana Sands, originally cast in the title role, had to withdraw because of illness. Diana suggested that the role go to her friend Diahann Carroll. When Carroll auditioned and got the part, James Earl Jones was cast in the role of “Roop”.
Hamilton was the brother of jazz drummer Chico Hamilton. Bernie Hamilton died on December 30, 2008, from cardic arrest.