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Ron Glass (July 10 1945 - November 25 2016) was an American actor, best known for his role on Barney Miller. He played Derrial Book, a Shepherd with a mysterious past in Joss Whedon's Firefly. Glass himself was a Buddhist, a member of Soka Gakkai International.
Glass was born in Evansville, Indiana. He graduated from Saint Francis Seminary in 1964 and went on to attended the University of Evansville where he received a Bachelor's degree with a double major 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 and 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 Detective 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 2013, he started working with Joss Whedon again, in a minor, recurring role as a doctor on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..