|Also known as||Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore|
|Date of birth||Feb. 16, 1974|
|Origin||Oakland, California, USA|
Born in Oakland, California, Mahershala Ali was raised in the neighboring city of Hayward by his parents and extended family.
Ali played basketball for St. Mary's College in Moraga, California (just east of Berkeley), where he received his bachelor of arts degree in mass communications. He began taking acting classes in his junior year, and in his senior year, he had a featured role in the school's production of Spunk.
The summer after his graduation, Ali made his professional debut performing for a season with the California Shakespeare Festival in Orinda, California, where he also served as an apprentice. Soon after, he was accepted into graduate school at New York University, where he received a master's degree in acting.
While at NYU, Maheshala appeared in productions of Blues for an Alabama Sky, The School for Scandal, A Lie of the Mind, A Doll's House, Monkey in the Middle, The Merchant of Venice, The New Place and Secret Injury, Secret Revenge. His additional stage credits include appearing in Washington, D.C. at the Arena Stage in the title role of The Great White Hope and in The Long Walk and Jack and Jill.
His first TV appearance was as Dr. Trey Sanders on the television drama series Crossing Jordan. This was followed by other roles on shows like NYPD Blue, Threat Matrix, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The Haunted. Subsequently, Ali landed the role of Richard Tyler, a Korean War pilot on the critically acclaimed drama The 4400 on USA Network for three seasons. Ali has guest starred on a number of shows including Lie To Me on FOX and Law and Order SVU.
In addition to his numerous television credits, Mahershala can be seen in David Fincher's Academy Award Winning film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button playing the role of Tizzy with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, in Wayne Kramer's film Crossing Over with starring Harrison Ford, opposite Julia Ormond in the Sony Pictures Television Lifetime movie The Wronged Man and in the 20th Century Fox film Predators.
More recently Ali co-starred in the HBO pilot All Signs of Death directed by Alan Ball, guest stars in several episodes of the second season of the hit HBO series Treme, opposite Academy Award winner Melissa Leo and is guest starring in the new SyFy original series Alphas. Mahershala is co-starring in "The Place Beyond The Pines" with Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper. The film is directed by Derek Cianfrance and is due out in early 2012.