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Actor Dennis Haysbert, trim and 6 feet 4, with a quietly powerful demeanor and a voice that brings to mind a cross between Barry White and Isaac Hayes, is a powerhouse that’s just plain hard to miss – on-screen and off.

What is surprising is that, growing up, the odds were very much against Dennis Haysbert even staying alive, much less achieving stardom.

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The popular actor as been working for 25 years as an actor, with roles on television and in movies such as Far From Heaven, Jarhead, Absolute Power, and the hit TV drama “24.” But long before all of this, Dennis was born with a hole in his heart, a defect, he says, that caused the entire family to baby and protect him for many years.

“I was never coddled,” Dennis says, “but always protected. [My family has said] that when I’d come into the room as a child, it would go silent because people could actually hear my heart working.”

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