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Actor Blair Underwood solved the dilemma of his life with a 2-percent solution. “You decide to follow this path of performing arts and all the odds are stacked against you,” he says, looking distinguished in a beige jacket, cinnamon shirt and Levi’s.

“I started in high school in Richmond, Va., and I cannot tell you how many people recommended I not follow this path. I heard it so many times then – I hear it now – only 2 percent of actors or members of the Screen Actors Guild can make a living at this thing. And the other caveat was: you’re African American, the choices are even fewer. So my response to that was, ‘Then I just have to be that 2 percent.’”

He managed the odds and snagged a job on ‘The Cosby Show’ the second day after he’d landed in New York to try his hand at acting. “The challenge came after that. It was a walk-on. But then how do you build on that? How do I get an agent? How do I find a job?”

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