The Boyfriend of the Week

May 8, 2002

Okay, so we're back to CSI this week, not because I'm done with Buffy (indeed, I still have two more Buff(y) Boyfriends to feature), but because I've started to get complaints from non-Vamp-Slayer fans who are, to quote Niel from "The Young Ones," "Bored, bored, bored."

Since I aims ta please (well, for the most part anyway), this week's Boyfriend, Gary Dourdan, has absolutely nothing to do with demons, vampires, wooden stakes, or the WB Network. Instead, he's one of the stars of one of the biggest shows to hit primetime television since, well, since I've been in charge of making those kinds of exaggerated claims. Except, it's not actually that much of an exaggeration, judging from its ratings AND the number of emails I get each week from fans begging me to feature someone-or-another from the show. This ought to surprise no one, since the show's not only smart, funny, and entertaining, but stocked to the gills with cute guys, gorgeous women, and lots and lots of awe-inspiring science. For nerds like me, it's an unbeatable combination. Technology and sexiness all intertwined! Why, I haven't been this stirred up since Quincy, ME was still on!

You laugh, but just click on that Quince link and you'll see that I'm being serious.

Anyway, Gary plays Crime Scene Investigator Warrick Brown on the show, genius and gambling addict, all rolled into one extremely good-lookin' package. In the Vegas world, they'd say he had a face that launched a thousand chips (bah ha ha!). In my world, they simply say, "Hubba hubba!" and start mopping up the drool.

But, in all seriousness (well, not ALL seriousness), what I like about Gary is only half about his looks. The other half is split into two sizable chunks. First, there's his voice. And here I have to make a confession: of all the great voices out there, I have to say I'm 9 times out of 10 going to go ga-ga over the voice of an African American male. Give me a Denzel or a James Earl Jones any day of the week. Y'all can keep your Peter Coyotes.

Gary is no exception to this -- he has a GREAT speaking voice. Deep and distinctive and smooo-ooo-ooth. Smooth as the well-worn handles of a Vegas slot machine, if I do say so myself. I could listen to Gary talk all day long. If he were a narrator of recorded books, I'd poke my eyes out just to have the excuse to hog them from the library guilt-free.

The other chunk of my affection for Gary has to do with his real-life personality and character. Sure, I don't actually know him personally. But I've read enough about his personal history to know this is one amazing (and gorgeous, did I mention gorgeous?) dude.

To explain, let me first give you some biographical information. The Gare-ster (as I like to call him) (okay, not really) was born on December 11, 1966 in Philadelphia, PA. He was the baby of the family, with four older siblings, all born to Robert (an agent for jazz musicians) and Sandy (a fashion designer) Durdin. You'll note here that Gary changed the spelling of his last name for show biz, making it, in my opinion, far less phonetic, probably for the sole purpose of driving reservation-takers absolutely insane ("You spell your name with a 'V', Mr. Wagner?") (name that punchline!).

Anyway, when Gary was only six, his older brother Darryl, then 23, left for a trip to Haiti, where he was hoping to learn more about his family's French lineage. Shortly after his arrival, however, somebody threw him off a balcony. He died instantly at the scene. The Haitian authorities were unable to find any suspects and the case remains unsolved today. Sound like the plot of one of Gary's shows? Where are Gil and Catherine when you need them?

After the murder, the Durdin family was devastated, especially Gary, who was quite close to his big bro. Though his parents were very supportive of his desire to follow Darryl's career path into the field of music, even sending him to a performing arts high school, Gary was lost in life and could not find his niche. After high school, instead of going on to college as his parents hoped, he entered what he describes as a "reckless" period. He spent his time wandering from city to city playing music in clubs and developing a quite nasty addiction to both alcohol and drugs. When he was held up by a drug fiend and realized he'd be ashamed to die at that moment, having done nothing with his life, he finally decided it was time to snap out of it. He got out of music, quit drinking and drugs cold-turkey, and started pursuing a career in acting and modeling instead.

Of course, he was a very successful model (remember that "hubba" thing from before? uh-huh). And he soon started to land some theater roles as well. At one theater, he met a woman named Roshumba and they quickly fell in love. During one of their vacations in Paris, Gary encountered the director of a new television show, "A Different World" (a spin-off of the Cosby show, remember?). She was smitten with Gary and quickly cast him in a part on the show. If you can think back this far, you might remember him as the hippie guy with the major dreadlocks. Gary did well on the show and had no problems landing other small parts in show biz after that.

Gary and Roshumba eventually married and then quickly divorced. But Gary had a child with another girlfriend (they never wed, though) and remains very close to both his young daughter and her mother to this day. In 1993, he got his first small movie role, in "Weekend at Bernie's II," and from there, he continued to land small parts in films like "The Paper," "Playing God," and "Alien: Resurrection." In 2000, he was cast on a show most people though would never appeal to mainstream America, "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation." But, surely in part due to Gary's undeniable charms, the show, as we all know, has greatly succeeded (in fact, it's become so popular that the network plans a spin-off for next season, CSI: Miami. This Thursday's episode will be a cross-over episode, set in Miami and featuring the cast of the new show, so don't miss it!).

So, how does this all loop back to what I was saying was the other main reason why I love Gary Dourdan? Well, just think about it. He lost his big brother to violence at a young age. He struggled through a youth of confusion and hardship, eventually ending so lost he became an addict. And yet he had the courage, not to mention the strength, to not only find his way back out of the hole, but to abandon his addictions cold-turkey, using sheer determination to make a better life for himself. Since starting on CSI, he's had to star in storylines that feature people being pushed off balconies, which can't be easy for him. And he's also had his character struggle with an addiction of his own (to casino gambling). And, having learned so much about crime scene investigation through the show, he's become determined to return to Haiti and try to find out what happened to his brother. Though he realizes it's probably impossible to find any clues this late in the game, if there's one thing we've learned about Gary Dourdan today, it's that he isn't the kind of guy who gives up easily. So, rock on, man. This guy should be a real inspiration to us all.

Oh, and he's also DAMN CUTE.

Next up for Gary, by the way, is not only more CSI, but two more movie roles as well. First comes the movie "Imposter," a sci-fi thriller based on a Philip K. Dick story. After that comes a movie called "Wanted: Soulful Energy Xchange," which is being billed as a romantic comedy and is apparently about a guy who makes the "fatal mistake" of responding truthfully to his girlfriend's question about their sex life. Ooh, that could get ugly. Well, not UGLY, given the fact Gary's got a starring role. But you know what I mean.

So, Gary Gary all around. A very happy state. And not just because his voice, face, and upper body makes my stomach all flippy, but because he's a good, smart, talented guy who is, in my opinion, currently doing everything right. Including his decision to lop off the dreads (no offense, but yikes!).

MacGyver Factor Score: 96.543%. A few points off because my throat still hurts today and I'm still a bit cranky. I know, I know, it's not fair to let my personal problems interfere with my very clinical and objective scoring system. But, whoa, man -- boy are YOU a sucker if you think this is actually an objective scoring system. I mean, fwah! Come ON!

Boyfriend-Related Links

Gary's IMDB Page
A Gary Dourdan Fan Site
Another Fan Site (this one has good articles you can click on to read, but also INCREDIBLY obnoxious sound files that drove me up the wall everytime I went there -- you've been warned)
The CBS CSI Homepage

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