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Danny Glover

Actor Danny Glover was born on July 22, 1946 in San Francisco, California. His parents, Carrie and James Glover, were both postal workers and active members of the NAACP. Glover was a student at Daniel Webster Elementary School and Roosevelt Middle School. He graduated from George Washington High School in 1964. Glover went on to attend San Francisco State University in the late 1960s, where he played a role in the 1968 student strike, which led to the creation of the first ethnic studies department in the country. Glover went on to work for the City of San Francisco as an evaluations specialist and program manager in the Model Cities Program from 1972 to 1977. Glover trained as an actor in the Black Actors’ Workshop at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, as well as with Jean Shelton at the Shelton Actors Lab.

Glover’s career as an actor began in college, where he acted in a play by artist-in-residence Amiri Baraka. He went on to act in his first feature film, Escape from Alcatraz in 1979. Glover has been noted for his roles in The Color Purple, the popular Lethal Weapon series (1987, 1989, 1992, and 1998), Predator 2 (1990), To Sleep With Anger (1990), and Angels in the Outfield (1994). He served as a narrator of the animated films of The Prince of Egypt (1998), Antz (1998), and Our Friend, Martin (1999). In 1994, Glover co-founded the Robey Theatre Company, a Los Angeles-based non-profit with the mission of developing new plays about the Black American experience. In 2005, Glover co-founded Louverture Films, a company expressly dedicated to production of socially-conscious films from around the world. As a humanitarian, Glover has lent his voice and aid to the American Postal Workers Union, United Auto Workers, and Service Employees International Union, amongst many other causes.

Glover was the recipient of countless awards and honors, including the BET Humanitarian Award in 2004, an NAACP Image Award – Chairman’s Award in 2003, the 2002 Marian Anderson Award, several NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor, an Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead in 1991, and a 2011 Pioneer Award from the National Civil Rights Museum. Glover also received the prestigious Medaille des Arts et des Letters from the French Ministry of Culture and was honored with a tribute at the Deauville International Film Festival in 2011.

A noted humanitarian, Glover served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program from 1998-2004, during which time he focused on issues of poverty, disease, and economic development in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He was a UNICEF Ambassador.

Glover lives in San Francisco with his wife, Eliane Cavalleiro. He has one daughter, Mandisa Glover, from a previous marriage.

Danny Glover was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 20, 2015.

Accession Number




Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category
Marital Status



George Washington High School

Roosevelt Middle School

San Francisco State University

Daniel Webster Elementary School

Irving M. Scott School

City College of San Francisco

First Name


Birth City, State, Country

San Francisco



Favorite Season




Favorite Vacation Destination


Favorite Quote

I'm Too Old For This...

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State


Interview Description
Birth Date


Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Berkeley



Favorite Food

Mother's Cooking

Short Description

Actor Danny Glover (1946 - ) portrayed the detective Robert Murtaugh in the 'Lethal Weapon' franchise. His activism extended to the 1960s, when he was involved in the Black Student Union at San Francisco State College.

Favorite Color

Beige, Brown

Timing Pairs

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Danny Glover's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Danny Glover lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Danny Glover describes his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Danny Glover talks about his parents' activism, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Danny Glover describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Danny Glover remembers his early influences

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Danny Glover describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Danny Glover lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Danny Glover describes his maternal grandparents' farm in Louisville, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Danny Glover talks about his early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Danny Glover recalls his start at Roosevelt Junior High School in San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Danny Glover recalls his early experiences of bullying

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Danny Glover describes his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Danny Glover talks about his relationship with his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Danny Glover talks about his parents' activism, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Danny Glover recalls his parents' employment at the U.S. Post Office Department

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Danny Glover remembers his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Danny Glover describes his teenage years

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Danny Glover talks about his long term friendships

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Danny Glover recalls his decision to attend San Francisco State College, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Danny Glover recalls his decision to attend San Francisco State College, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Danny Glover describes his involvement in the Black Student Union at San Francisco State College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Danny Glover remembers the student led strike at San Francisco State College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Danny Glover recalls the trials of the strike leaders at San Francisco State College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Danny Glover describes the popular music of his youth

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Danny Glover remembers his parents' perspective on his activism

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Danny Glover describes his connection to the Black Panther Party

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Danny Glover talks about his activism

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Danny Glover talks about the Black Power movement

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Danny Glover remembers the black studies movement

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Danny Glover recalls the founding of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Danny Glover talks about the political views of African American scholars

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Danny Glover talks about his political ideology

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Danny Glover recalls his early work with the Model Cities program

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Danny Glover remembers the start of his acting career







Danny Glover remembers his early experiences of religion
Danny Glover describes his involvement in the Black Student Union at San Francisco State College
So, is education--what about religion in the hou- ? Are your parents religious or not?$$Yeah.$$Okay.$$Yeah. My mother [Carrie Hunley Glover] came out of, she, my grandparents--my f- my grandfather [Mack Hunley], Baptist. My grandmother, A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal]. Pine Hill [Pine Hill Baptist Church] was my grandfather's church in Louisville, Georgia. Lofton [Lofton A.M.E. Church] in Wrens, Georgia was my grandmother's church. And my mother converted, from my understanding, and it's to C.M.E. [Christian Methodist Episcopal] because she went to a C.M.E. college [Paine College, Augusta, Georgia]. And so, we went to C.M.E. church from my earliest memories, and still I'm a member of Missionary Temple [Missionary Temple C.M.E. Church], right on, right here in the city, in the heart of the black community in the Fillmore [Fillmore District, San Francisco, California]. And I remember going there from the child- from childhood, you know. Before we moved from the projects to buying a home, it was just--once we bought our home in the Western Addition, in Haight-Ashbury [San Francisco, California], it was closer; the church was closer. I didn't have to, we didn't have to come all the way across the other side of town to go to church. But yeah, my mother was very much involved in the church. She, her involve- the level of involvement--our level of involvement did not match my mother's level of involvement (laughter), or her desire. Because in the church, the church performed certain other things just besides spiritual uplifting. It gives you status, permanent status. And, and my mother would always try to put me and my sister and my brother in these pl- (laughter) in the Easter play or the Christmas play. And we'd be up there in the back holding a palm or something (laughter) in the corner or something like that. Mama would say, "How come I come to these and you have--you never have nothing to say? None of y'all never have nothing to say." We said, "Shoot, Ma, we don't even want to, we don't want to be here," (laughter). And then--because you, you know, you're anointed through your children. They'd say, "Oh, Ms. Riley [ph.]." (Cough) Or, "Oh, Ms. Hanberry [ph.], oh, Ms. Hanberry, your--," I don't think Ms. Hanberry had children, or whoever this member was, "your child was so wonderful." She never, my mother never got that from nobody (laughter) because I had--like, neither one of us never had, we never had a lead in a play. We never had the lead in a hymn. We were always in the background, and all that stuff like that. We were--it was me, Connie [Connie Glover Grier], and Reggie [Reginald Glover], you know. In fact it's funny, because for a long time--so this is 1958, '59 [1959] when 'Raisin in the Sun' ['A Raisin in the Sun,' Lorraine Hansberry] came out. And I was like--there was a woman named Lorraine Hansberry, and I was just enamored with her. I just watched it, and nobody ever come up to her. I said how come people don't come up to her and tell her how great her play is, you know (laughter)? I had heard about the play, I had read about the play and everything else.$$You read about the play and heard about the play?$$Huh?$$You heard about the play?$$Oh, I heard about the play. This is Lorraine Hanber- I thought--I didn't get the last--it's (pronunciation) Hansberry (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Hansberry.$$Hansberry. And I said, nobody ever--and I'm sitting up in the church, and I watch her. Moment I read it, I said--and I connected the name, because she was prominent in the church. But nobody ever said nothing. Nobody ever would ever come to her and say, and I thought--it was, it was funny. I thought that she, that she was the woman who wrote the play--$$(Laughter) Okay. Right.$$--'Raisin in the Sun'--as a kid you know (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$And (unclear) this is my secret, you know, as a twelve year old kid; you know, twelve year old kid, or eleven year old kid whenever this comes out I said, man, she goes to our church! (Laughter) You know, it's the thing--you know then somebody--I'm glad I found out. I forgot how I found out that it wasn't the same woman. But I'm glad I didn't kind of like announce it or (unclear) (laughter). But I wasn't that kind of person. I wasn't going to go out and say, "You know who goes to my church? Lorraine Hansberry," you know and everything. And I wasn't that kind of person, you know, and everything else. I just waited and I found out, boy, that's not her, you know.$So, there's just amazing--then, you, you'd hear, read everything. Like, like I remember--now that we've become good friends, Don L. Lee.$$Oh, right.$$Don, I remember him when he was Don L. Lee (laughter).$$Now, he's Haki--$$Huh? [HistoryMaker] Haki Madhubuti (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) Madhubuti. Right.$$Remember, I remember when he was Don L. (unclear) Don L. (laughter). So, all this stuff--he had to calm us down, all your stuff, it's just, it's terrific. And you're just saying, now--you're saying, there's a cat--okay, what's, what do I read, you know? Sort of struggling, what do I read? What is the conversation? What is, what is the narrative that's going on here? You're trying to figure--you don't put it in that terms and everything else. So, you have your first major book that you struggle through, Franz Fanon, 'Wretched of the Earth' ['The Wretched of the Earth'].$$Right.$$Nineteen sixty-seven [1967]. Say, whoa. Then you try to read it over and over and over to get the concepts and chara- learn the concepts, what he's talking about. And, and, and, really, your relationship to the concept is visceral the first time. You just feel it, the way he talks about the colonizing, the colonizing, everything else, in some sense. So, you have to, you have to now put on a little hat, and see yourself as a coloni- colonizer as well. So, all these kinds of things are the kind of things that San Francisco State [San Francisco State College; San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California], in a sense, began to shape there. I remember reading Nkrumah [Kwame Nkrumah] you know. I remember, I remember reading Julius Nyerere's African socialism. I wanted to major in economics, now. You know, I'd come out there with the idea I wanted to major in engineering because I was good at math. But it was economics now. So, all these kind of things. And, and it was always--I mean that three years, that three years through 1969, from the spring of--the summer of 1966 through the fall of 1969 and into 1970 were some of the most intense years of my life.$$Right, because there's a lot of activity.$$We brought [HistoryMaker] Nathan Hare out in 19- in the fall of 1967.$$Well, talk about that. Because this, when I was reading about this, I was thinking this would make a really good movie.$$Huh?$$I was thinking it would make a really good movie. Because this--first of all, what you're talking about with Nathan Hare and the takeover--$$Yeah.$$--you know is really the start of black studies. And--$$Well, I think on the one hand, Nathan Hare was the primary voice. He was at Howard University [Washington, D.C.]. And like I said, we know, we controlled the budget, the student budget, let's bring Nathan Hare out there, sp- fall of 1967. And Nathan Hare--and the strike came out of--. And we had Summerskill [John Summerskill], who was the president, who seemed to be one of--kind of like Kennedy liberals and everything else, and everything. He'd lived in Africa, worked in Africa and everything, was (unclear). So, you know, we got a lot of leeway. We'd go in there, and we're young and obnoxious in some way. You know, we go in there, in a meeting with him. And somebody--I'm not going to name who--would take their, have their bullet bandolier on, and then throw it on the table before the meeting (laughter). We'd do stuff like that. We planned stuff like that. We'd go into the meeting and say (laughter)--we would come in, we'd be meeting and someone would take off their bandolier, you know, the bullet--then throw it on the table first and start--you know what I'm saying (laughter). Some (unclear) (laughter). I mean (unclear). And I remember that stuff. You know, I remember we did that stuff, you know. We set the tone of the meeting, right here: "Now we have to have--," this and all, you know. And he was our friend, and--as much as he wanted to be a friend within the narrative and context of the school itself. And then, but the other things that came out of there--since they were organizers back as far as 1966, they were involved in the Western Addition Community Organization, WACO, another organization that were mobilizing in the black community, in the Fillmore [Fillmore District, San Francisco, California]--the traditional black community, in the Fillmore, mobilizing for the fight against redevelopment. So, we would attend meetings and sit there in meetings and just simply be observers; as students, as gophers, or runners, or whatever (unclear), whatever, and facilitate the meeting. So, we were assigned as the BSU meeting--as the BSU, as a part of the Black Student Union, to go to certain meetings in the community and re- and report back. That's how, that's how we functioned. So, we weren't just simply thought of us as students; we had an off-campus office. We got redevelopment agency, who we're barking at to give us an off-campus office right on Ellis [Street] and--between Fillmore, between Fillmore [Street] and Steiner [Street]. We had an office there right around the corner from the really wonderful soul food place. And there were all these things that were there. I think, I think on the one hand, to be--if you look at it now, it's certainly driven by our orientation and commitment, but, and driven--for those who were young, we followed those who had been in the struggle and everything else. And, but, a lot of that was sponsored by our own kind of, like bravado and naivete of youth, you know, all of that stuff.