Building bridges seems to be an occupation for Jason George, both on and off camera.
As Dr. Ben Warren, an anesthesiologist-turned-firefighter, he moves seamlessly between ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and its spinoff, Station 19. When he’s not on the set, he tackles social-justice challenges, volunteering for causes such as pay equity and diversity in Hollywood.
For the past five seasons of Grey’s, George has portrayed the husband of Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson). “I love working with Chandra,” he says. ”I’m proud to be playing half of an incredibly successful couple of color that has problems and finds ways to work through them.”
On Station 19, he thrives on the physicality of his role, even though many scenes require wearing 40 pounds of clothing plus fire-fighting equipment.
But Hollywood was not George’s first career choice. He was planning to become a lawyer until an acting class at the University of Virginia changed his mind. “I like solving puzzles,” he says, “and the ultimate challenge of playing a role is the puzzle of the character.”
Working with others to create a better world was ingrained in George at an early age by his father, who served in the Navy, and by his mother, who was president of a teacher’s union in Virginia Beach. Now a married father of three, he uses his celebrity to spotlight important issues.
He was an early supporter of Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit working to reduce gun violence. In Hollywood, he is a longtime national board member of SAG-AFTRA, serving as chair of its diversity advisory committee. And he has spoken several times at the SAG-AFTRA/Television Academy “Dynamic & Diverse” pre-Emmy reception, which encourages diversity in the industry.
“I have a lot of energy for the things I’m passionate about,” George says. “I’m stubborn, and I like to keep my feet moving. That’s how Martin Luther King did it. Put one foot in front of the other, and you can cross any line.”
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 6, 2019