Leslie David Baker (Stanley Hudson)


WANTED:
Middle aged black man with sass.
Big butt. Bigger heart.
Leslie David Baker, known to most of us as the actor who plays the sassy salesman Stanley Hudson on The Office, was born on February 19, 1958 in Chicago, IL. He studied Psychology at Loyola University Chicago as an undergrad and later went on to achieve his Master's degree in Human Services Administration at Spertus College of Judaica, Chicago.

Before pursuing a career in acting, Baker worked in three psychiatric hospitals, briefly taught special education  at the K-8 level while working on his MS and worked in several Administrative positions for the City of Chicago.  (Department of Health (AIDS program), the Office of Cable and Communications, and the Board of Education.)  He also worked as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Health, the CDC, The Academy for Educational Development, The American Red Cross, and the Illinois State Attorney's Office Health Task Force.



When asked by Chicago Magazine how his 9-5 experience compared with working on The Office, he had this to say: 

"I still have the nine-to-five experience without the nine-to-five responsibilities. In the nine-to-five world, you don't have anybody who has your breakfast waiting for you in the morning, or lays out your wardrobe, or styles your hair."

He's called his prior careers his "survival jobs" because as Baker explains:

"I wanted to pursue acting, but I liked living indoors and eating on a regular basis"

Later on, he reluctantly moved to Hollywood, believing it was important to first achieve financial security. He had, however, been acting all along as an extra, in plays and in small commercial work. Once on the West Coast in 1998, he began pursuing his acting career full time appearing in various commercials such as OfficeMax's "Rubberband Man" series.  (Video below, Baker appears at 0:27 & 1:18)


His early acting credits include small parts on the television shows Action, Judging Amy, That 70's Show, Just Shoot Me! & Scrubs, as well as double appearances on Malcolm in the Middle and a recurring role on The Guardian.  See image below for screenshots of these appearances along with episode titles. (Click to make larger)


Leslie has feature film credits according to IMDb, including 2005's Elizabethtown (scene deleted, but you can read his lines in this script under Guard #2) and 2001's Road to Redemption.  View theatrical trailer below, Baker appears during 0:08-0:12.


On how he was cast as Stanley Hudson, Baker told Chicago Magazine:

"I got a call to audition for something called The Office. It was very crowded for the callback, and I had another audition scheduled, so I went to the other audition. [On the way] back, I ran into a whole bunch of traffic. [When I] came back in, they said, "Oh, Leslie! Thank you so much for waiting! You've been so patient! They said you were in the men's room!" And by then I was kind of sweaty, my clothes were rumpled, and I was cranky. And the character was written the way I was feeling that day, and I just let 'er rip. Two weeks later I got a call: "You got the pilot." And, voilĂ , here I am."

And according to TV Guide, he had food poisoning during the filming of the Pilot episode.  "His real life discomfort served to enhance his character's cranky spirit." He's also said that he knew from about halfway through the first table read of The Pilot, that The Office U.S. would be a hit show.

"Your gut, you just know it.  This was clicking. I don't know what told me that.  I don't know where it came from. At the end of the table read, I remember telling Greg Daniels [this was] a hit show."

On how fame had changed his life once the show actually did become a hit, Leslie said:

"Somebody sent me some flowers once. This woman said I was a fine piece of the Lord's handy work."

"The highlight [was when] I got a chance to meet Carol Burnett." "It doesn't get any better when you're standing there with the statue in your hand and Carol Burnett [tells you] 'Well done.'"

On where his life would go from here, now that The Office has finished up after 9 hilarious seasons, Baker said with a knowing smile:

"Just wait."