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Tony-Winning Actor Roger Robinson Has Died

Robinson received a 2009 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role in Lincoln Center Theater's revival of Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

Tony winner Roger Robinson has died.
(photo provided by Ebony Repertory Theatre)

Roger Robinson, a Tony Award-winning Broadway actor, died September 26 in Escondido, California. He was 78.

Robinson was born May 2, 1940 in Seattle. He graduated from Bellevue High School in 1958 and briefly attended Everett Junior College before moving to Los Angeles in 1959 to begin his career as an actor.

In 1960, Robinson joined the United States Navy and was sent to the Naval School of Music before receiving orders to join the third Naval District Band in Brooklyn, where he played the oboe and tenor saxophone. In 1963, while still in the Navy, he was hired for the role of a soldier in the off-Broadway play Walk in Darkness, marking his New York professional theater debut.

Upon his discharge from active duty, Robinson took an acting job in a summer stock theater based in Cape May, New Jersey, and in 1969, he made his Broadway debut in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? Subsequent Broadway appearances included The Miser (1969), Amen Corner (1983), The Iceman Cometh (1985), and Drowning Crow (2004). In 1996, he earned his first Tony nomination for the original Broadway production of August Wilson's Seven Guitars, and in 2009, he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for the Broadway revival of August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

Robinson's final stage performance was in the off-Broadway production of Some Old Black Man. He is the first African-American to receive the Richard Seff Award, presented annually by the Actors' Equity Foundation to an actor 50 years of age or older for his performance in a supporting role in a Broadway or off-Broadway production.

Robinson's television credits include the television miniseries King, as well as roles on Starsky and Hutch, The Jeffersons, How to Get Away With Murder, and Elementary, among many others.

Robinson is survived by his sister, Tina Robinson.

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