Harper, born in Iowa City, Iowa, was the son of Dr. Harry D. Harper, II, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Marilyn Harper (née Hill).
Dr. Marilyn Harper was not only one of the first black practicing anesthesiologists in the United States but also a co-author of the book “Wearing Purple.”
Originally named Frank Eugene Harper, he later adopted the name “Hill” as a tribute to his maternal and paternal ancestors.
Acting since the age of 7, Harper completed his high school education at Bella Vista High School in 1984.
Following that, he achieved magna cum laude graduation from Brown University in 1988, earning a BA degree in economics and sociology.
Furthermore, he held the esteemed position of valedictorian in his department.
In 1992, he continued his academic journey and obtained a JD degree with cum laude honors from Harvard Law School.
Harper also pursued a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University.
During his time at Harvard, he actively participated as a full-time member of Boston’s Black Folks Theater Company.
This theater troupe holds a significant reputation as one of the oldest and most highly acclaimed black theater groups in the country.
Harper Was Friends With Barack Obama at Harvard
During his time as a Harvard student, Harper formed a friendship with Barack Obama, engaging in basketball together.
In 2012, Harper received an appointment to The President’s Cancer Panel, a thoroughly reviewed three-member committee tasked with collaborating with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and advising the White House on matters pertaining to cancer policy.
Afterward, he relocated to Los Angeles in order to pursue an acting career.
Harper has been granted a remarkable total of eight honorary degrees, including honorary doctorates from Westfield State College and Howard University.
Hill Harper Education and Acting Career