He is an actor, though, and a very good one at that. A Tony nomination for his role in the Broadway revival of August Wilson's, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom proved that he is respected among his theatre peers, while remaining invisible to the average movie goer.
One of the reasons for this is that many of his roles have been supporting the supporting actor in such films as Clockers, Set It Off, Bulworth and Ray, just to name a few. Spike Lee has given him his best roles in the ensemble drama, Get On The Bus and the brilliant satire Bamboozled, but those films played at art houses and sadly, the big movie crowds missed his wonderful work.
Thomas Jefferson Byrd continues to work in movies today and while he will most likely never become a household name, his crucial roles in smaller budget films has made him a true working actor and a very good one at that.