Ronald Earle Glass was an American actor. He was best known for his roles as literary Det. Ron Harris in the television sitcom Barney Miller (1975–1982), and as the spiritual Shepherd Derrial Book in the science-fiction series Firefly (2002) and its sequel film Serenity (2005).
Glass was born Ronald E. Glass on July 10, 1945 in Evansville, Indiana. His parents were Lethia and Crump. Glass attended Saint Francis Seminary followed by the University of Evansville. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama and literature. He was presented with the Medal of Honor by the University of Evansville in 1980.
Glass began his career as a stage actor before moving to Hollywood. His television debut was a 1972 episode of the NBC series, Sanford and Son. Other early television shows included All in the Family, Hawaii Five-O, The Bob Newhart Show and Good Times. Glass made his feature film debut as “Quintus” in The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder (1974). The film was produced by Arthur Hiller.
In 1975, Glass was cast as detective “Ron Harris” in the ABC sitcom, Barney Miller. The show ran from January 1975 to May 1982 for a total of 8 seasons. Glass’ performance earned him a NAACP Image Award nomination in 1979 and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination in 1982. He starred alongside Demond Wilson in the series The New Odd Couple (1982-83). The show was cancelled after the first season.
Glass held prominent roles in the series, Rhythm & Blues (1992-93), Mr. Rhodes (1996-97), Teen Angel (1997-98) and Firefly (2002-03). He voiced the character “Randy Carmichael” from the animated series All Grown Up! (2004-08). Glass reprised the role of “Shepherd Book”, a Christian “Shepherd” with a mysterious past, in the space western film, Serenity (2005). His film credits also include Lakeview Terrace (2008) with Samuel L. Jackson, Death at a Funeral (2010) with Loretta Devine, and Strange Frame (2012) with Tim Curry.
Ron Glass died on November 25, 2016 at the age of 71. His reported cause of death was respiratory failure. Glass was 5ft 11in tall and had a net worth of $10 million. He never married and had no kids. He was a member of the Soka Gakkai International.
July 10, 1945
November 25, 2016
- He was encouraged by his teacher to audition for a play because the teacher liked his voice which led to his interest in acting.
- He appeared in two episodes of the NBC series Friends in 1999, playing the character Russell.
- He co-starred with Hal Linden in the series Barney Miller.
- Was a member of Alpha Psi Omega Fraternity Inc.