Ron Glass

Ron Glass (July 10, 1945-November 25, 2016) is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as the witty Detective Ron Harris in the television sitcom Barney Miller (1975-1982), and as the spiritual Shepherd Derrial Book in the science fiction series Firefly and its sequel film Serenity.

Early life

Glass was born in Evansville, Indiana, the son of Lethia and Crump Glass. Graduating from Saint Francis Seminary in 1964, Glass attended the University of Evansville where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree double majoring in Drama and Literature. Years later the university honored his work in television and film with their highest commendation, the Medal of Honor. Glass stated in an interview that he knew he wanted to act while he was in college. A teacher liked his voice and encouraged him to try out for a play. He went on to act in that play (and many others) during his time there.


Glass made his stage debut at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis before moving to Hollywood. His earliest TV appearances include episodes of Sanford and Son in 1972 and episodes of Good Times in 1974. In 1975, he landed the role of Det. Ron Harris in Barney Miller which ran until 1982. The following season, Glass also co-starred with Demond Wilson on television in the short-lived remake of The Odd Couple, called The New Odd Couple. In 1992, he costarred in the short-lived sitcom Rhythm and Blues, a kind of “black WKRP, playing “the fifth Top” opposite Roger Kabler.
Since then, Glass has appeared in dozens of television series, including sitcoms such as Family Matters and the Disney children’s series Teen Angel where he played God’s cousin Rod. He was in Star Trek: Voyager (in the episode “Nightingale”) and the cult science fiction series Firefly (2002), in which he played Derrial Book, a religious man with a mysterious past. Glass himself is a Buddhist. Glass reprised his role from Firefly in the film Serenity (2005).
Glass also provides the voice of Randy Carmichael for the Nickelodeon series All Grown Up! and Rugrats .
Glass appeared in the 2008 film Lakeview Terrace, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Patrick Wilson.
Glass most recently provided the voice for the knowledgeable scholar “Garth” in the 2008 video game Fable II.


Glass died of respiratory failure on November 25, 2016, at the age of 71.

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