TV Q&A: Haysbert lands roles with voice of authority


Akron Beacon Journal

Q. Who is the African-American announcer with the deep voice who does the Allstate TV commercials?

That would be the veteran actor Dennis Haysbert. His air of authority in the commercials has also been evident in some of his other work, for example when he played the president of the United States on 24 and when he was the leader of a Special Forces team on the CBS series The Unit. But his best-known role, especially in Northeast Ohio, may be the power-hitting Pedro Cerrano of the Cleveland Indians in the Major League movies. He was so convincing in the role that he said it limited his getting other kinds of work for a while. He once told me, “Everybody thought I was that guy.” But other roles and those commercials have changed that image.

Q. Thank you in advance for telling me where I can find Martha Stewart’s show.

You’re welcome in advance. If you are referring to her show for the Hallmark Channel, it is done. But she has a show for public television, Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, which airs at various times on PBS stations (check local listings). And, if you watch programming online, Stewart has an extensive library posted on Q. Can you please tell me who does the voice for that lizard in the Geico commercial?

The Geico gecko has long been given voice by Jake Wood, an English actor whose other credits include a long run as Max Branning on the British drama EastEnders. But during commercial appearances dating back more than a decade, more than one actor has played the role; the most famous is Kelsey Grammer.

Q. Many years ago there was a series about the White House. I think it was called Backstairs at the White House and was about the servants. I did not get to see all the series. Are there any tapes or DVDs?

Backstairs at the White House was a 1979 miniseries for CBS based on a book called My 30 Years Backstairs at the White House. It starred Olivia Cole, Leslie Uggams and Louis Gossett Jr., among others. It is available on DVD; if your local retailer cannot get it (or your library does not have it), the DVD is for sale from online vendors like and

Q. Mark Harmon starred in a TV film, Certain Prey, based on a novel by John Sandford. Is it likely that he will star in any more of the Prey series stories? Will Certain Prey film be released on a DVD?

Sandford’s website notes that “reviews were decidedly mixed with fans and non-fans alike polarized” over the movie, but that the ratings were strong enough that there probably will be more movies. But nothing official has been announced at this writing.

Mailbag updates

A reader asked not long ago when the Fox series Cops would be back. The network had set it for midseason, which now means Dec. 15. This will be the premiere episode of the show’s 25th season, and will include segments from Sacramento, Calif.; Portland, Ore., and Toledo.

Send questions to TV Mailbag, Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or Replies cannot be guaranteed.

Read more TV & Radio stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category