Born and bred in New York City, Perrineau studied dance with the Alvin Ailey Company before segueing to acting in his twenties. He won accolades for his portrayal of a wayward teen in the indie flick Smoke, despite being already in his thirties during filming. After tackling a number of TV guest roles and supporting film parts, he came to prominence as the philosophically minded, wheelchair-dependent narrator of Oz. Although Perrineau continued to appear in movies---including two installments of the Matrix trilogy---television remained his medium, and in 2004 he made his biggest splash to date as a single father on Lost.

Fast Facts

  • Changed last name of Williams to mother's maiden name Perrineau after joining the Screen Actors Guild, which already had a member named Harold Williams.
  • Started his acting career in theater.
  • Landed first television role on the series I'll Fly Away in 1990.
  • Won an NAACP Image Award for his role in Topdog/Underdog in 2001.
  • Nominated for Best Supporting Male for the Independent Spirit Award for his part in Smoke (1995).
  • Skilled in martial arts.
  • Started taking swimming lessons on the location of Lost.


  • 2005, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Winner
  • 1996, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Male: Nominee


  • Holiday Grace Perrineau — Daughter
  • Wynter Aria Perrineau — Daughter
  • Brittany Robinson — Wife
  • Aurora Perrineau — Daughter


  • Attended Shenandoah Conservatory, Winchester, Virginia, United States

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  • Birth Name: Harold Williams
  • Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, United States
  • Profession: Actor

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