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Alan Autry



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July 31, 1952 in Shreveport, LA
Alan Autry is best known by television audiences for his portrayal of police officer Bubba Skinner on the series In the Heat of the Night. Born Carlos Brown in Shreveport, LA, he was raised in Riverdale, CA, and became a star athlete and football player at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1975 and spent two years as a second string quarterback for the team. In 1978, he joined the British Columbia Lions in the Canadian Football League, and that same year he made his acting debut (as Carlos Brown) in Remember My Name. In 1979, he appeared in a small role in North Dallas Forty, and he portrayed Slug in Popeye (1980). Still working under his given name, he appeared in series such as Best of the West, and he was first noticed in a serious way in movies in 1982, with his portrayal of Bowden, one of the doomed National Guardsmen, in Southern Comfort. By 1983, he was working as Alan Autry, and got guest roles in series such as The A-Team and Cheers. Finally, in 1988, Autry was chosen for the role of Sergeant (later Captain) Bubba Skinner in the series In the Heat of the Night -- his good looks, deep voice, and complex character, as a white Southerner who takes some time to get accustomed to the working methods of a black police detective (portrayed by Howard E. Rollins) from up north, made him stand out in the part, and Autry became one of the key members of the ensemble cast. Autry continued acting regularly after In the Heat of the Night concluded its run in the 1990s, until 2000, when he ran successfully for Mayor of Fresno, CA, and was elected to a four-year term, thus joining Clint Eastwood, Sonny Bono, Fred Thompson and Ronald Reagan in the ranks of actors elected to political office. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
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