Douglas Christopher Judge was born and raised in Los Angeles, and is of African-American and Cherokee ancestry.
Judge always knew that he wanted to be an actor, wanting to invoke feelings in others that he was receiving from the shows. He realized quickly that sports would be the stepping stone to an acting career.
Attending the University of Oregon on a football scholarship, Judge led in kickoff return yardage for 1983-84 and interceptions in 1984, in addition to earning the Casanova Award in 1982 (given to the freshman or newcomer of the year). Judge was also a three-time All-American, a Pacific-10 Conference Selection in 1984, and played in the 1985 Hula Bowl.
While at Oregon, Judge was a pre-med major, then psychology, then telecommunications and film, with a minor in psychology. In his senior year, he won a regional contest to host the West Coast Fox KLSR Morning Show, an “MTV talk show-type thing”; he used this experience to get an agent and move to Los Angeles.
Judge began studying at the Howard Fine Institute in LA in 1989. Some early roles were in Bird on a Wire, Cadence, Neon Rider, and MacGyver with future Stargate SG-1 star Richard Dean Anderson. In the ensuing years, Judge had small parts in various television shows and movies, such as 21 Jump Street (with future SG-1 director Peter DeLuise), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and House Party 2, and as a regular on Sirens from 1994 to 1995.
Judge’s largest role came in 1997 with Stargate SG-1. While at a friend’s house, he saw his friend’s roommate practicing for an audition and was intrigued. While the roommate was away, Judge looked at the audition notes, then called his agent and insisted he get him an audition, or lose him as a client. At the audition, there were three sets of actors for each of the principle roles, but eight or ten for the role of Teal’c. Judge was confident he got the part when they dismissed everyone who read for the part, except him. Out of all the actors on Stargate SG-1, Judge has been in the most episodes.
More recent works of Judge’s include guest spots on Andromeda and Stargate: Atlantis, the television movie Personal Effects, and the films Snow Dogs and A Dog’s Breakfast, the latter written and directed by fellow Stargate actor, David Hewlett.
Judge has written three episodes of Stargate SG-1: ”The Changeling”, ”Birthright”, and ”Sacrifices”. After Stargate SG-1 was canceled, Judge began writing a script for a show called Rage of Angels.
Judge also does voice acting for animated series and video games, including the voice of Magneto on X-Men: Evolution and the canceled Stargate SG-1: The Alliance. In the season eight episodes of Stargate SG-1 (”Avatar” and “The Warrior”), Teal’c informs SG-1 that he plays Def Jam Vendetta, alluding to the fact that Judge was a voice actor in that game. He is also known for voicing Jericho in the video game Turok.