Glynn Russell Turman (born January 31, 1947) is an Emmy award-winning American stage, television, and film actor as well as a writer, director, and producer. He is perhaps best known for his roles as high school student Leroy "Preach" Jackson in the 1975 coming-of-age film Cooley High, math professor and retired Army colonel Bradford Taylor on the NBC sitcom A Different World, and fictional Baltimore mayor Clarence Royce on the HBO drama series The Wire.
Turman was born in New York, New York. He had his first prominent acting role at the age of 12 as Travis Younger in the Broadway play of Lorraine Hansberry's classic A Raisin in the Sun, opposite Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil and Diana Sands. While he did not play the role when it transferred to film in 1961, he intensified his studies at Manhattan's School of Performing Arts. Upon graduation he apprenticed in regional and repertory companies throughout the country including Tyrone Guthrie's Repertory Theatre in which he performed in late 60s productions of "Good Boys," "Harper's Ferry," "The Visit" and "The House of Atreus." He made his Los Angeles stage debut in Vinnette Carroll's "Slow Dance on the Killing Ground." An impressive 1974 performance in "The Wine Sellers" earned him a Los Angeles Critics Award nomination and a Dramalogue Award. The play was also produced on Broadway as "What The Wine Sellers Buy." He won his first NAACP Image Award for his work in the play "Eyes of the American."
A stage director as well, he received his second NAACP Image award for his directing of "Deadwood Dick" at the Inner City Cultural Center. He segued these directing talents to TV where he helmed several episodes of The Parent 'Hood, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, and "The Wayans Bros," among others. He also directed during his seasons of steady employment on A Different World, in which he played the role of Colonel Taylor for five seasons (1988–1993). The show's theme song was sung by his ex-wife, legendary "Queen of Soul" artist Aretha Franklin, to whom he was married from 1978 to 1984.