Eriq La Salle (born July 23, 1962) is an American actor, director, writer and producer known for his portrayals of Darryl in the 1988 comedy film Coming to America and Dr. Peter Benton in the NBC drama series ER.
La Salle, one of four children, was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, by his mother, Ada Haynes. He is an alumnus of the Artists Collective, Inc. in Hartford. He attended the Juilliard School's Drama Division for two years as a member of Group 13 (1980–84), then attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Graduate Acting Program in 1984.
At the time of his graduation from NYU, La Salle was cast in Joseph Papp's Shakespeare in the Park production of Henry V. Soon after, he found continuous acting work on Broadway, off-Broadway and in several daytime TV dramas including One Life to Live, where he played the reporter Mike Rivers.
In 1988, La Salle starred alongside Eddie Murphy in the movie Coming to America.
In 1994 the medical drama ER premiered on NBC with La Salle starring as Dr. Peter Benton. He held the role until leaving during the eighth season. In 2009, he returned to ER for three episodes during its 15th and final season, including his uncredited appearance as himself in the opening of "Heal Thyself" to tell the audience of the death of the show's creator Michael Crichton. Also during season 15, he returned to direct an episode...
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