A collector of antiques, his favorite sport was deep sea fishing.
After "Starsky and Hutch" (1975) ended, Hamilton spent twenty years producing R&B and Gospel records for the Chocolate Snowman label.
Brother of Chico Hamilton.
Brother of jazz drummer Chico Hamilton. Originally cast as "Roop" in the film, Claudine (1974), but was dropped when Diana Sands, originally cast in the title role, had to withdraw because of illness. Diana suggested that the role go to her friend Diahann Carroll. When Carroll auditioned and got the part, James Earl Jones was cast in the role of "Roop".
Divorced father of two children - daughter Candy and son Raoul.
Founded the record label Chocolate Snowman.
Had five brothers and one sister and was raised in East Los Angeles. Two brothers survived him, Chico and Don.
He attended Oakland Technical High School where he played football and studied acting in Oakland, California.
Initially a white actor was cast to play Captain Harold Dobey on "Starsky and Hutch" (1975). Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg, however, remembered Bernie, who had already played a police captain in a previous Spelling-Goldberg TV show, and thought he'd provided the right chemistry and balance. Since they already had film on him, Bernie didn't need a screen test and secured the part.
Managed to avoid stereotyping for the most part in his early films years, his debut was as a baseball player in The Jackie Robinson Story (1950). His most important role was in the frank, groundbreaking drama One Potato, Two Potato (1964) as the black husband of a white woman (Barbara Barrie).
Music producer for twenty years, working on R&B and soul albums.
Operated the Citadel d'Haiti, a nightclub-art gallery on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles during the late '60s and early '70s.
Produced and sang on the album "Capt. Dobey Sings the Blues". Captain Dobey was the gruff police captain he played for four seasons on "Starsky and Hutch" (1975).
Ran away from home as a teenager but eventually attended Oakland Technical High School where he played football and developed an interest in acting.