Gary was born December 11, 1966 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Gary Robert Durdin. He’s the second youngest of five children born to Sandy, a teacher and fashion designer, and Robert Durdin, an entrepreneur and agent for jazz musicians. At the age of 9, his 23-year old brother Darryl was murdered by being pushed off a balcony when he was in Haiti to investigate their French ancestors; the case is still unsolved.
The family moved to Willingboro, New Jersey when he was in his youth, where he ended up in a young gang, using and abusing alcohol and drugs. When he realized most of the people he knew had either died or ended up in jail, he moved to New York City where he worked as a doorman at a rehearsal studio and met some of Manhattan’s promising young artists.
The 6’2″ (1.89m) Gary got his first break when Debbie Allen saw him walking down a Paris street with his wife-to-be Roshumba Williams. (The two were married from 1992 to 1994.). She cast him as Shazza Zulu on A Different World (a spinoff of “The Cosby Show) in which he played the perennial college student with an affinity for jive talking young college women. He had a recurring role on the Showtime series Soul Food until he nabbed the part of Warrick Brown on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Also starred in the 1997 film Alien Resurrection as (Christie) alongside Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder and Ron Perlman.
Dourdan’s most popular role began as a cast member of the original CSI series which aired on October 6, 2000. He played analyst Warrick Brown who, viewers find out, has a dark past checkered with gambling and addictions. By working in Las Vegas, the character is able to use his personal experiences with gambling to help him throughout his career. Ultimately, he ends up battling his demons throughout the show instead of overcoming them.
On April 29, 2008, he was arrested in Palm Springs, California for possession of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs. In exchange for a guilty plea, the heroin charge was dropped and Gary completed a court-ordered, 16-week drug education program.
In 2008, during negotiation with CBS, his “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” contract was not renewed. In the Season 8 finale, Dourdan’s character was shot and left for dead at the episode’s end. The Season 9 premiere had Dourdan’s character dying in the arms of his colleague Grissom. Many have incorrectly assumed that his 2008 arrest caused CBS to drop him from the show, but his final scenes had been shot and his contract negotiations were concluded before his arrest.
- His remarkable eye color is inherited from his mother who is blond with clear eyes. His father is black. He has French, Irish, Scottish, African, Indian and Jewish blood in his veins. He modeled in the 1980s and 1990s for Boss Models in New York City.
- Received the NAACP’s Image Award of Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his performance of Warrick Brown in 2006. Has been nominated 4 years in a row and won twice.
- Is an accomplished musician. Plays the guitar, piano, bass, drum and sax (his uncle plays saxophone for Sister Sledge and gave Gary a saxophone when he was around 13)
- Played Janet Jackson’s boyfriend in the video for her 1993 hit “Again”.
- Gary has a hip-hop music group called Smoky Mirrors; he’s also a producer, songwriter and has his own production company, Temple of Thoughts. Releases music through his label ‘Dynamite Joints’.
- Using Kolade, his African name, Gary quietly released albums in 2003 and 2004. “Verses” and “6/17/04” are available on iTunes.
- He married model Roshumba Williams in 1992; the couple divorced two years later. He has two children: a son, Lyric (2002), and a daughter, Nyla (1998). Lyric’s mother is Cynthia Hadden and Nyla’s mother is Jennifer Sutton, whom Dourdan dated from 1995 to 2000.