Khary Payton

Voices: Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning

Khary Payton is happy to have survived his second season on AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” returning this winter as King Ezekiel, the benevolent, eccentric and theatrical leader of The Kingdom. Accompanied by his pet tiger Shiva, King Ezekiel has instantly become Payton’s most challenging and favorite role to date.

Cyborg lives on! According to cartoon fans, Payton has become synonymous with one of DC’s hottest heroes Cyborg, having voiced the character for 16 years in numerous series, DVM’s and games.

“Big Hero 6: The Series” premiered in 2017, with Payton as the voice of laser Specialist Wasabi. He is thrilled to be reprising his role of Aqualad in the fan- and critically acclaimed series “Young Justice,” which recently announced its return with season three.

Grimlock from “Transformers: Robots in Disguise,” Rafiki in “The Lion Guard,” video games “The Sims,” Reigel in “Starcraft,” Drebin in “Metal Gear Solid,” Azrael and Killer Croc in the “Batman: Arkham” franchise, and Knox from “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” are just some of the many roles he’s known for.

Born in Augusta, Georgia, Payton caught the acting bug after seeing a production of Cyrano De Bergerac in the 1st grade. As a teenager, he developed a local rep as a rapper and stand-up comic, sharing the stage with such notables as Tom Kenney and Chris Rock. After spending his teenage years consoling comedians at the bar between sets, Payton opted for college at Southern Methodist University in Dallas to study acting and directing. He stayed in Texas for several years thereafter, honing his craft in classical and experimental theatre, before finally making his way to Hollywood.

Payton co-wrote, produced and starred in the independent sci-fi feature “Astronaut: The Last Push.” The film soared through festivals from London to L.A., winning 13 awards, including Best in Show at the IFS and Fargo Film Festivals. Payton took home three awards for Best Actor.