Roscoe Lee Browne
Roscoe Lee Browne
Two public celebrations of the life of Roscoe Lee Browne, who died on April 11 in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer at the age of 81, will be held on Sunday, April 22 from 6pm-8pm.

The New York celebration, organized by Tyne Daly and featuring appearances by the actress as well as Campbell Scott and Maya Angelou, will be held at Saint Charles Borromeo Church (241 West 141st Street). The Los Angeles celebration, to be held at the Mark Taper Forum, is being organized by actor Laurence FIshburne.

The son of a Baptist minister, the New Jersey-born Browne had been a former track star, college professor, and a wine company salesman when he turned his attention to acting in 1956. Over the next four decades, he appeared in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway shows including The Blacks, Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright, The Ballad of the Sad Café, Benito Cereno, The Old Glory, and My One and Only. Browne was also featured in the New York Shakespeare Festival productions of Julius Caesar, King Lear, and Troilus and Cressida.

In 1981, he was seen briefly in his own play Behind the Broken Words at the American Place Theatre with Anthony Zerbe. The pair continued to tour the country with the work for many years. In 1992, he made his final Broadway appearance in Two Trains Running, playing the role of the mentally challenged Holloway. He was nominated for the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play, but lost the award to Fishburne.

Browne's film and television career spanned 45 years, including The Comedians, Topaz, and The Cowboys. He played Polonius in a 2000 version of Hamlet, directed by and starring Campbell Scott. He also guest starred on numerous television shows, including All in the Family, Maude, Soap, and Benson. Browne won the Emmy Award for his guest spot as Professor Foster in The Cosby Show in 1986.