Warner - who was named after Malcolm X and jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal - was raised primarily by his mother, Pam Warner, who moved with her son to Los Angeles when he was five. At nine, he expressed an interest in performing, which led to his enrollment in entertainment-oriented schools. By the age of 12, he was landing guest appearances on network television series, which culminated in an audition for veteran comic Bill Cosby's latest TV sitcom. Warner was cast by Cosby himself as son Theodore "Theo" Huxtable on the last day of a national talent search. Based loosely on Cosby's own son Ennis, Theo was a likable teen who struggled with his schoolwork (dyslexia was later revealed to be the source of his problems) but eventually became a top student and an educator. Audiences found Warner a winning weekly presence, and he earned several nominations and awards, including an Emmy nod in 1986 and two Young Artist Awards in 1985 and 1989. Unlike many of his peers, Warner enjoyed a scandal-free young adulthood in the spotlight, and parlayed his fame into largely positive (if unremarkable) projects like "A Desperate Exit" (1986); an "Afterschool Special" (ABC, 1972-1995) about teen suicide; and "The Father Clements Story" (1987), a TV movie about a crusading priest (Louis Gossett) who adopts a troubled teen (Warner). He also made the expected guest appearances as Theo on the "Cosby" spin-off series, "A Different World" (NBC, 1987-1993), as well as hosted "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975-) in 1986. In 1988, he made his off-Broadway debut with "Three Ways Home." The following year, he tried his hand at directing a music video for the popular R&B group, New Edition, which lead to several turns behind the camera at "The Cosby Show;" a short, "This Old Man," (1991); and an all-star educational special titled "Time Out: The Truth About HIV, AIDS and You" (1992). He also served as director, executive producer and host of "The Last Laugh: Memories of 'The Cosby Show'," which aired before the series finale in 1992. After "Cosby" left the airwaves, Warner tried his hand at several subsequent series, including "Here and Now" (NBC, 1992-93), which cast him as a youth counselor, but it disappeared quickly. He found steady work on the animated series "The Magic School Bus" (PBS, 1994-97) as the voice of The Producer (who fielded calls from viewers about the episodes), and later on "Malcolm and Eddie" (UPN, 1996-2001), an "Odd Couple"-style sitcom with comedian Eddie Griffin which netted him an Image Award nomination in 2001. He also directed 15 episodes of the series. There were guest shots on other series as well, including an appearance in a 1995 episode of "Touched By an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003), which earned him another Image Award nod. He also had supporting roles in the feature "Drop Zone" (1994) as Wesley Snipes' brother and the made-for-TV features "The Tuskegee Airmen" (1995) and "Tyson" (1995). After the fourth season demise of "Malcolm and Eddie," Warner turned up on "Jeremiah" (Showtime, 2002-04), a post-apocalyptic sci-fi series which cast him and Luke Perry as survivors of a global plague who seek to rebuild civilization. His next TV effort, "Listen Up" (CBS, 2004-05) brought him back to the major networks as a former pro athlete and ladies' man who co-hosts a TV talk show with a nebbishy Jason Alexander. Despite good reviews, production costs required its cancellation after just one season. Warner kept busy with directing gigs and his side project as bassist and band leader for the jazz outfit, Miles Long, which released a CD, Love and Other Social Issues, in 2005. In 2008, Warner had a supporting role in the Matthew McConaghey/Kate Hudson romantic comedy "Fools' Gold." Back on familiar television turf, Warner picked up a recurring role on the short-lived Sherri Shepherd vehicle "Sherri" (Lifetime, 2009) and another as the ex-husband of study group member Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) on the more successful "Community" (NBC, 2009-15; Yahoo!, 2015). In 2011, he produced and co-starred on the sitcom "Reed Between the Lines" (BET, 2011) as Dr. Alex Reed, the stay-at-home patriarch of a busy modern family.