The son of Jamaican immigrants, Carl Lumbly started his career in Minnesota as a journalist, working for the 3M company in public relations, writing freelance and penning for the Associated Press. While on an assignment to do a story on Dudley Riggs' Brave New Workshop Theatre, fate was on Lumbly's side, and he ended up being cast in one of the productions. He stayed there for two years doing improvisational comedy.
Lumbly then moved to San Francisco, where he met and worked with actor Danny Glover in a production of "Sizwe Bansi is Dead" by Athol Fugard. The production brought the two actors to Los Angeles on a Cal Arts Council Tour, where they ended up doing "The Island," another Fugard play, at the Matrix Theatre.
An acclaimed veteran of the stage, Lumbly has been working steadily ever since, appearing in such films as "Escape from Alcatraz," "Caveman," "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension," "Judgment in Berlin," "The Bedroom Window," "Everybody's All American," "To Sleep with Anger," "Pacific Heights," "South Central," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and "Men of Honor." He also starred in the film, "Just a Dream," which was directed by his friend, Danny Glover, for Showtime.
On television, Lumbly starred in the series, "Cagney & Lacey," ABC's "Going to Extremes" and "M.A.N.T.I.S."; had recurring roles on "ER" and "EZ Streets"; and guest starred on "The X-Files," "The West Wing," "Family Law" and "Kate Brasher."
His numerous made-for-television movies and miniseries include "The Chicago Conspiracy Trial," "Tribeca: The Box," "Out of Darkness," "Cagney & Lacey: The Return," "America's Dream Reunion," "The Ditchdigger's Daughter," "Buffalo Soldiers," for which he earned a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor; "Oprah Winfrey Presents The Wedding," "The Color of Friendship" and "Built for Speed: The Little Richard Story." Lumbly received Ace Award nominations for his work in "Nightjohn" and "On Promised Land," both for the Disney Channel.
Lumbly is married to actress Vonetta McGee and has one son. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening, writing and playing with his two dogs.