Ernie Hudson was born on December 17, 1945 in Benton Harbor, Michigan. His parents, Maggie and Robert Hudson, were both African American. His father worked as a foundryman and his mother was a homemaker. He has three siblings: Robert, David, and Frederick. He attended Benton Harbor High School, where he played football and basketball. After graduation, he attended Wayne State University on a football scholarship. He left Wayne State after two years to pursue a career in acting.
Hudson began his acting career in the late 1960s. His first film role was in the 1971 film “The Organization.” He also appeared in the 1974 film “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.” In 1975, he had a small role in the film “Blacula.” He also appeared in the 1976 film “Car Wash.” In 1978, he had a small role in the film “Animal House.” In 1980, he had a small role in the film “The Blues Brothers.”
In 1982, Hudson landed his most famous role to date: Winston Zeddemore in “Ghostbusters.” He reprised this role in the 1989 sequel “Ghostbusters II.” He also appeared in the 1984 film “The Cotton Club.” In 1985, he appeared in the film “Brewster’s Millions.” In 1986, he appeared in the film “Hoosiers.” In 1988, he appeared in the film “Twins.” In 1989, he appeared in the film “Tango & Cash.”
In the 1990s, Hudson appeared in such films as “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle” (1992), “Demolition Man” (1993), “The Crow” (1994), “Congo” (1995), and “Oz” (1997). He also had a recurring role on the television series “Wiseguy” (1987-1990). In 2001, he appeared in the film “The Majestic.” In 2002, he appeared in the film “Spider-Man.” In 2004, he appeared in the film “The Ladykillers.” In 2005, he appeared in the film “Doom.”
In 2009, Hudson had a recurring role on the television series “Desperate Housewives.” In 2010, he appeared in the film “Legion.” In 2011, he appeared in the film “The Cabin in the Woods.” In 2012, he appeared in the film “Red Tails.” In 2013, he appeared in the film “42.” In 2014, he appeared in the film “Into the Storm.”
Hudson has been married three times. His first wife was Jeannie Moore. They were married from 1969 to 1975. His second wife was Linda Kingsberg. They were married from 1982 to 1990. His third wife is Arielle Carmell. They have been married since 2002. He has four children: Ernie Jr., Andrew, Maya, and Olivia.
As of 2021, Ernie Hudson’s net worth is $20 million. He has earned his wealth through his successful acting career.
Date Of Birth
December 17, 1945
Film producer, Voice Actor, Playwright
Yale University, Benton Harbor High School, Yale School of Drama, University of Minnesota, Wayne State University
Linda Kingsberg (m. 1985), Jeannie Moore (m. 1963–1976)
Ernie Hudson, Jr., Ross Hudson, Rahaman Hudson, Andrew Hudson
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, The Crow, God's Not Dead 2, Congo, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Miss Congeniality, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, The Basketball Diaries, Leviathan, Spaceman, You're Not You, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, The Substitute, Best of the Best 4...
The Last Precinct, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Broken Badges, Wild Palms, Oz, 10-8: Officers on Duty, Transformers: Prime, Highcliffe Manor, Meteor
(2012, on The Basketball Diaries) That was a good experience. I loved that character. He was the only character that wasn't in the book. I got to know Leonardo DiCaprio; he was great to work with. He's a very talented guy; I look at that movie now, and I love the scenes that we had together. It certainly took everything I had. It was some of the best work I've ever done. Once again, it's a film that has a small following. Not nearly as big as The Crow, nor did it do nearly what I thought it would do. I think it was a little bit of a challenge for America to see white kids in those urban drug situations. Whatever the case, it just never really caught on. But I'm glad I had the chance to work with Leonardo and Mark Wahlberg and some of the other guys. It was good.
(2012, on filming Collision Course and what he thought of Jay Leno as an action star) That was one of those films that started with one director; he got fired. We brought in another guy; he got fired. Some of the cast got fired. We moved around; I'm still hanging on-I didn't get fired!-but then we got about halfway through it, and they said, "We ran out of money." Which meant that I left early. So it was one of those productions that just had a lot of issues. But Jay was great. He's had me on The Tonight Show a couple of times. But, they say all of us actors have our own signature and...I'm trying to find the right words here. As an action star, it just didn't seem to fit him. But he was fun to work with, and he was funny in the film. And Pat Morita. I thought they played very well together.
(2012) Congo was my film. It was my character, and I got a chance to do my version of whatever a leading man is, which has always been a bit of a challenge, finding those parts. I had so much fun with that character, and they allowed me, reluctantly, to do the accent and be the African guide. It was just so much fun, and it's probably my favorite character of all. Yeah, I have nothing but fond memories. I'm so glad I got a chance to do that, and when people ask about my career, put (my character) Munro Kelly up against the guys I played on Oz and The Crow and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, and that's my career. That's the range.
(2012, on The Hand That Rocks The Cradle) That was very challenging as an actor, and I felt responsibility not to tell that story and that character badly, because I felt it represented a lot of people. I did a lot of research, which I don't always do, 'cause sometimes you don't feel it's necessary, but I'm proud of it. I'm proud of that character, and I think he represented the best of everything I could possibly be. He's a better person than I am, and I'm really glad to have had an opportunity to do that, because it's not the kind of role I've normally been asked to do. Not before or since. Once I did Ghostbusters, there was the whole thing of being thought of as a comedian. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle broke that a little bit.
(2012) The Crow is so near to my heart. It's one of my favorite films, and it's the one film that all my kids-I have four sons-think of as one of their favorite films as well. It's so tragic what happened. I knew Brandon [Lee] for about eight years before we did the movie, and I just loved him and considered him a good friend. When this happened... I am still trying to recover from that. It's amazing that it could happen. But I'm so glad I did it, because I think the movie really highlighted his abilities as an actor, and if we have to go, at least let it be on a good film, as opposed to something really stupid. But I love (my character) Albrecht because he was a different character than a lot of the characters I've played, and I think he was just a genuinely good guy. He was there, and he was well intentioned. I like that character. But The Crow was a hard shoot. And it's really unfortunate what happened.
(2012, on Penitentiary II and his character Half Dead) That [film] was like The Human Tornado. A friend of mine [Badja Djola] portrayed the first Half Dead, and there were some problems. But another good friend of mine, Cliff Roquemore, who was directing a lot of those kind of films, asked me to do it. He was producing that. And it was stupid. But it was fun. It's one of those characters where I go, "I have no idea what this is, I don't know any human being on the planet who would be this stupid, but I'm committed to it." And, surprisingly, it developed a huge fan base. No matter where I travel-Africa or Europe or wherever-people will come up and say, "Half Dead!" Calling me by the character's name. I really don't understand, but these things have a way of going around the world, so I think that's pretty cool.
(2012, on Oz) Oz was a great experience. The cast on Oz is the best acting troupe I think I've ever had the good fortune of working with. A really talented group of people. Tom Fontana's an amazing writer. Unfortunately, we only did eight episodes a year. I think when you're on a series, you get a chance to learn and grow every time, with some amazing guest stars coming in, but we only did eight a year, which made it impossible to make any real money. But I loved doing it, and there are fans, no matter where I go, who show up because of that. I really appreciate that.
(2012, on Going Berserk) John Candy. Loved John. He was a good friend. David Steinberg directed, and I got a chance to work with those guys for the first time, that whole Second City troupe. They brought me in to read for the role of my character's buddy-who comes in later, looking for me-but it was a smaller part, and I was just so determined to play Jerome Muhammed, but David had already cast the part. I just went in and said, "Let me show you how it should be done," and I convinced him to fire the other guy and give me the job. It's one of those audition stories I tell: Sometimes you can turn things around. But I loved the character. It was silly, but it was fun.
Nice job you did!
(On getting into acting) I grew up in a very poor family. My mother died when I was two months old, I never knew my father: my grandmother raised me. And none in my family had ever finished High School. But I realized that I wanted to do something more with my life, and after getting married at 18 and my wife getting pregnant, and then suddenly realizing that I had to change things and I finally got accepted to the university and got involved with theatre. And I think I did it primarily because of the birth of my older son, and realizing that things that I wanted to ask of him that I couldn't ask if I didn't absolutely try myself.
(On his first job and why he chose acting as a career) Well the first job I had was a janitor in a manufacturing company, and it wasn't a bad job, a lot of people would have been very happy to have it, but it wasn't what I wanted, and I think having my son made me realize it wasn't what I wanted for him. It's very easy to say to a child, 'You can be whatever you want to be', but then that child in turn looks at me and says, 'But why weren't you what you wanted to be?' So I wanted to give it a good shot and give it my best, so I could at least say I ran a good race and you can too. So once my son was born that's when I knew I had to really get serious. I applied at the University and was not accepted, and then I went and talked to the Admittance Officer face to face and convinced him to give me a chance.
After doing so many different kinds of movies, I've found that the people who recognize me come from all walks of life...and everyone knows me from a completely different role.
Doing The Hand that Rocks the Cradle reminded me of the fun I could have while exploring different facets of acting. I loved making that movie, and it also allowed me to re-establish myself as a dramatic actor.
(On his role in Congo) After I saw my performance in that movie, I felt really good about what I was capable of achieving and what I had to offer as an actor.
After Ghostbusters, a lot of people thought that I was a comedian, but doing more comedies wasn't my goal.
Acting is what I do. I consider it my calling and ministry. It's as important as anything I do in life. It's a journey that has taken me to places beyond my wildest imagination and continues to excite me with its endless possibilities.
Being an actor never occurred to me. There was no one even remotely connected to the industry where I was from. It wasn't until I got to college that I realized how much I enjoyed it.
Hudson was on the shortlist for the role of The Master in Doctor Who (1996), Eric Roberts won the role. His only association with the Doctor Who franchise is a major guest role of Stuart Owens in Torchwood: Miracle Day (2011).
Hosted Cinemax's "Summer of a Thousand Movies".
His mother died when he was two months old.
Raised by his grandmother.
He has four sons: Ernie, Jr., Rahaman, Andrew, and Ross.