David Alan Grier (June 30, 1956) is an actor and comedian who has appeared in some retellings of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Aretas Ruth a schoolteacher and William Henry Grier a psychiatrist and writer.


David Alan Grier trained in Shakespeare at Yale University, where he received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. He began his career on Broadway as Jackie Robinson in The First which he earned a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and won the Theatre World Award. He then joined the Broadway cast of Dreamgirls, before going on to star opposite Denzel Washington in A Soldier's Play, which later both actors reprised their roles in the film adaptation titled A Soldier's Story.

Grier has been in many television programs, like Martin. He is most remembered for his roles in the FOX sketch comedy show In Living Color. One sketch, described as "A cross between The Wiz and Flatliners", would prove prophetic, by depicting him as the Cowardly Lion.

Grier portrayed Uncle Henry in the 2005 TV movie The Muppets' Wizard of Oz alongside Queen Latifah  as Aunt Em  who played in The Wiz Live! as the title character.

Grier once portrayed the Wizard in a production of The Wiz back in 2006.

David portrayed the Cowardly Lion in The Wiz Live!  Grier also portrays a farmhand named Robert (homage to Zeke from The Wizard of Oz). He is afraid of Toto who chases him all the time which foreshadows the character he portrays later in the show.


The Wiz Live! earned Grier an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special, and a Critics' Choice Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie Made For Television.

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