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Charlie Robinson, best known for playing Mac the court clerk in the 1980s and ’90s sitcom “Night Court,” died Sunday in Los Angeles due to cardiac arrest and cancer. He was 75.
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Throughout his 50-year career, Robinson appeared in movies such as “Secret Santa,” “The River,” “Set It Off,” “Antwone Fisher,” “Jackson,” “Even Money” and “Miss Lettie and Me,” and TV series including “Buffalo Bill,” “Home Improvement,” “Mom,” “Hart of Dixie,” “NCIS” and “The Guestbook.”
One of Robinson’s final projects was a stage production of the play “Some Old Black Man,” which was filmed for a digital broadcast. He starred opposite Wendell Pierce, who paid tribute to the actor and spoke about the special bond they formed while working during quarantine.
“It only took 27 days and we created a lifetime,” Pierce tweeted. “Charlie Robinson and I quarantined together during this pandemic to create a play and in that short time we created a lifetime of friendship. A special bond, like the father and son, we portrayed in the play.”
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According to Variety, Robinson was born in Houston and launched his career as a theater actor and singer for R&B groups Archie Bell and the Drells and Southern Clouds of Joy. In the late 1960s, he attended Chris Wilson’s acting school, Studio 7, at the Houston Music Theatre. He eventually moved to Hollywood and began acting for the screen.
In the 1970s, Robinson acted in films such as “Sugar Hill,” “The Black Gestapo,” “Caribe,” “A Killing Affair” and “The White Shadow.” In his later career, he appeared in “Beowulf,” “Malevolence,” “Land of the Free” and “Mercy Street.” He directed three episodes of “Night Court” and one episode of “Love & War.”
Robinson earned accolades for his theatrical work, including the Image Theatre Award and FRED Award for portraying Simon in “The Whipping Man” and Best Actor Ovation Award for playing Troy in “Fences.”
Throughout his career, he guest starred in television shows including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Key and Peele,” “This Is Us,” “Malcolm & Eddie” and “In The House.”
Robinson is survived by his wife Dolorita; his children Luca, Charlie, Christian and Byron; and his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, daughters-in-law and dog Nala.
Below is a live discussion with Robinson, Pierce and other cast and crew of “Some Old Black Man” after the 1/15/21 premiere screening, hosted by UMS’s Mark Jacobson.
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