Born January 31, 1947 in New York, Turman landed his first role at the age of 12 in the Broadway play A Raisin in the Sun. He soon went on to his iconic turn as New York teenager Leroy “Preach” Jackson in the 1975 classic Cooley High. He later became math professor and retired Army colonel Bradford Taylor on A Different World. Later, Turnman starred in the HBO hit series The Wire as fictional Baltimore mayor Clarence Royce. Turman has also won three NAACP image awards.