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Press Release for Thursday, January 17, 2008

Actor Blair Underwood Speaks at MLK Jr. Scholarship Luncheon

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

Blair Underwood, actor, director, producer and author, will be the featured speaker at the 27th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Luncheon, presented by the University of North Florida’s Intercultural Center for PEACE. Underwood will be speaking about lessons he’s learned on his life journey.

The scholarship luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the University Center Banquet Hall on the UNF campus. The Grammy-winning gospel group “Take 6” will also perform at the event.

Underwood has established himself as a versatile actor, with the ability to achieve a successful acting career on stage, television and the big screen, most recently on HBO’s hit series “Sex and the City.” He has even added author to his list of accomplishments with the release of his new book “Casanegra: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel,” co-authored with Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes.

His first big screen role was the portrayal of successful rap producer and entrepreneur Russell Simmons in the movie “Krush Groove.” From here, Underwood burst into the national spotlight with his portrayal of lawyer Jonathan Rollins in the NBC hit series “LA Law.” He held the role of Rollins for seven years, during which time he earned a Golden Globe nomination, and TV Guide singled him out as one of the top stars of the 90s.

In 2000, the NAACP honored Underwood twice for his acting roles. He received the award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his starring role in “City of Angels” and was also awarded for his big screen performance as a Marine captain in the film “Rules of Engagement.” Underwood’s movie career has been largely successful. Most recently, he held the male lead opposite Julia Roberts in Steven Soderbergh’s “Full Frontal.” His work as of late also includes a co-starring role in the comedy movie “Malibu’s Most Wanted.”

Underwood is involved in numerous charitable organizations. His dedicated support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association won him the 1993 Humanitarian Award, presented by the Los Angeles Chapter of MDA. He is also co-founder of Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA). Founded in 1989 with Alfre Woodard, Danny Glover, Mary Steenburgen and other friends in the arts and entertainment community, ANSA supports a democratic South Africa with equal rights and opportunities for all citizens.

Tickets for the event are $20 each for non-students or $500 for corporate tables of eight. Tickets can be purchased online at or contact Lorna Bautista at (904) 620-2475.

The scholarship luncheon is sponsored by the UNF Intercultural Center for PEACE, Black History Committee, Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for Student and International Affairs and the Fine Arts Center.