- Joined the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school, but was dismissed less than three months later due to asthma.
- Initially focused more on writing than acting; was the resident playwright at Detroit's Concept East Theater, one of the oldest black theaters in the country.
- Established Wayne State University's Actors Ensemble Theater so he and other black writers and performers could showcase their work.
- Earned a full scholarship to the Yale School of Drama.
- Enrolled in a University of Minnesota program that would lead to a PhD, but he dropped out to star in a Minneapolis production of The Great White Hope.
- Made his film debut in 1976's Leadbelly, which was followed by a myriad of television appearances before his breakout role in 1984's Ghostbusters.
- Lost the role of Winston to Arsenio Hall in 1986 for The Real Ghostbusters, an animated adaption of the movie.
- Became a sergeant in the special service bureau of the San Bernardino County police force in California in 1994 after studying for three acting roles with the police.
- Appeared with son Ernie Jr. in the HBO series Oz.
- Received the 2007 Award for Excellence in Film, Television and Beyond at the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival in California.
- Maggie Donald — Mother
- Linda Kingsberg — Wife
- Ross — Son
- Andrew — Son
- Ernie Hudson Jr. — Son
- Arrana Donald — Grandmother
- Rahaman Hudson — Son
- Jeannie Moore — Ex-wife
- Attended Highland Park Community College, Highland Park, MI; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI (BA, 1972); Yale University, School of Drama, New Haven, CT; attended University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
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