The award marks the first partnership between Variety and the festival. Harewood receives the prize in recognition of his extensive body of work and success in both the U.K. and U.S., as well as his work around mental health and social issues.
Having worked across film, theater and television, Harewood is best known for his starring role on Showtime’s hit series “Homeland” as David Estes, the director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center alongside Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. More recently, he has co-starred alongside Melissa Benoist in the DC Comics series “Supergirl.”
Harewood contributed to the dialogue around mental health in the U.K. with his 2019 BBC documentary “David Harewood: Psychosis and Me,” in which he detailed a psychotic episode he experienced in his 20s, and helped to unpack the societal stigma around mental illness.
Harewood’s theater credits include originating the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Olivier award-winning play “The Mountaintop” with a performance that Variety called “commanding,” and a critically acclaimed performance as Oberon in Julie Taymor’s New York production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Born in Birmingham, England, Harewood first began his acting career as a member of the national Youth Theatre before earning a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at age 18. In 2012, Queen Elizebeth II bestowed the actor with an Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Variety will conduct an in-conversation event with Harewood that will be available later this month. The award sits as part of the Edinburgh TV Festival Awards, which will be distributed virtually on Nov. 18.
Manori Ravindran, international editor for Variety, said: “We are honored to present this award to David Harewood, a trailblazing artist whose many contributions transcend film and television, and have moved the dial on the conversation around mental illness in the U.K. and beyond. We are so pleased to partner with the Edinburgh TV Festival on this exciting new award.”
Stewart Clarke, creative director of the Edinburgh TV Festival, added: “We are excited to be partnering with Variety to recognise David Harewood’s amazing contribution the world of TV. His storied career is a testament to his talent – David has lit up screens in the U.K., U.S. and around the world. Looking beyond TV drama, his BBC documentaries have provided unflinching look at important social issues. His Variety and Edinburgh TV Festival Outstanding Achievement Award is richly deserved.”