Ron Glass


“It is my really sincere desire that we get an opportunity to play long enough for people to really grab on and become fans, because I think it's a great project.”

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.

Ron Glass

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.

Ron Glass

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.

Quick Facts

Birth Date:
July 10, 1945

Death Date:
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.
  • Ron Glass
  • Ron Glass
  • Ron Glass


BIO: +
PHOTO: CBSNews + Express + Bustle + TVGuide + TheVerge

Last Updated

June 2020

Original Published Date

May 2018

Similar Entries

LeVar Burton Film & TV

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton Jr. is an American actor, presenter, director and author. He is best known for his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation, hosting the long-running PBS children's series Reading Rainbow and in the 1977 award-winning ABC television miniseries Roots.

Read More
Diahann Carroll Film & TV

Diahann Carroll

Diahann Carroll is an American actress, singer and model. She rose to stardom in performances in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts, including Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess.

Read More
Bernie Casey Film & TV

Bernie Casey

Bernard Casey was an American actor, poet, and professional football player. He was an actor and director, known for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

Read More
Ruby Dee Film & TV

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and civil rights activist. She is perhaps best known for originating the role of “Ruth Younger” in the stage and film versions of A Raisin in the Sun (1961).

Read More
Berry Gordy Music

Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy III is an American record executive, record producer, songwriter, film producer and television producer. He is best known as the founder of the Motown record label and its subsidiaries, which was the highest-earning African-American business for decades.

Read More
Delroy Lindo Film & TV

Delroy Lindo

Delroy Lindo is a British-born American actor and theatre director. Lindo has been nominated for Tony and Screen Actors Guild awards and has won a Satellite Award. He is perhaps best known for his roles in three Spike Lee films, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, and Clockers.

Read More