After recurring stints on NYPD Blue and Shark, Henry Simmons was tired of all the drama. “I wanted to do a comedy. I’d read scripts that were funny but none I could see myself in. But I could really see myself in this,” he says of his latest series, the ABC sitcom Man Up! He plays Grant, “the kind of guy that walks into a room, and everyone loves him. He’s very sincere, a people pleaser. He’s very grand,” describes Simmons, whose athletic 6’4” frame matches the character’s outsized personality. “I just try to stay in shape all the time, but the older I get, the harder it gets,” he admits, though you wouldn’t know that to look at him.
He’ll play another athletic role in the movie, From the Rough, based on the life of Catana Starks, the first African-American woman to coach a men's NCAA Division I golf team, played by Taraji P. Henson. “I play the athletic director, I’m against her in the film,” says Simmons.
Offscreen, he’s enjoying life as a newlywed. In May 2010, Simmons married actress Sophina Brown, who was also on Shark, “but we met before that,” he reveals. “We knew each other, but on Shark we weren’t dating. That happened just about when the show ended. I kept comparing everyone to her.” Are any babies on the way? “Not yet,” he says, “But we’re working on it!”
Man Up! premieres tonight at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.