The news of Charlie Robinson’s passing has hit the entertainment community pretty hard. The 75-year-old TV and stage actor, best known for playing Mac the court clerk in the 1980s and 1990s sitcom Night Court, died on Sunday in Los Angeles due to cardiac arrest and cancer.
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. In addition to that, Robinson was a staple on TV series including Home Improvement, Mom, NCIS, Buffalo Bill, and The Guestbook.
A Houston native, Robinson began his career as a stage actor and singer for R&B groups Archie Bell and the Drells and Southern Clouds of Joy. In the late 1960s, Robinson enrolled in Chris Wilson’s acting school, Studio 7, eventually moving out to Hollywood and gaining roles in films such as Sugar Hill, Caribe, The White Shadow, The Black Gestapo, and A Killing Affair.
Robinson continued to be celebrated for his work in theatre, earning an Image Theatre Award and a FRED Award for portraying Simon in The Whipping Man, and Best Actor Ovation Award for playing Troy in Fences. His last performance was as 82-year-old Donald Jones in James Tyler’s Some Old Black Man.
Among the actors who paid tribute to Robinson was Wendell Pierce, who spent time with Robinson in recent months. “We created a lifetime of friendship” after 27 days of quarantine together, The Wire star wrote on Twitter.
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.