Charlie Robinson, the veteran actor whose best-known role was Mac, the good-natured and pragmatic clerk, on the longtime NBC sitcom “Night Court”, died Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 75 years old.
His family confirmed the death at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in a statement. The family said the cause was a heart attack and organ failure caused by septic shock, and Mr Robinson also had adenocarcinoma, a cancer of glandular cells.
Mr. Robinson’s acting career spanned six decades and included roles in television, film and on stage. His first screen appearance was credited in Jack Nicholson’s first film, “Drive, He Said”, in 1971.
In 1984, he was chosen for the role viewers would know best: Macintosh Robinson, better known as Mac, in “Night Court”, then in its second season.
“Night Court”, broadcast Thursday at 9:30 pm, after “Cheers”, took place in a Manhattan courtroom that hosted a parade of eccentrics and misfits in the middle of the night. It was built around Harry Anderson as Harry Stone, an eccentric and benevolent judge, but it was truly an ensemble spectacle.
John Larroquette came to the fore as Dan Fielding, a bawdy and lustful prosecutor, but Mr. Robinson became a fan favorite as Mac, a Vietnam veteran turned court clerk who preferred cardigans, plaid shirts. and knit ties. He played the role for the remainder of the show’s nine seasons and directed three episodes.
Mr. Robinson was born in Houston on November 9, 1945. He served in the military and briefly attended the University of Houston before leaving to pursue an acting career.
He took the Studio 7 workshop at the Houston Music Theater in the late 1960s and also trained there at the Alley Repertory Theater before moving to Los Angeles, where his family said he studied at the Actors. Studio, the Mark Tapper Forum and the Inner City Cultural. Center.
In addition to “Night Court”, Mr. Robinson has been seen on numerous television shows, including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, “Key and Peele”, “This Is Us”, “Malcolm & Eddie”, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and “NCIS.” Prior to joining the cast of “Night Court,” he was a regular on “Buffalo Bill,” the Dabney Coleman sitcom that only lasted only two seasons but has developed a cult. Her film credits include “The Black Gestapo”, “Gray Lady Down” and “The House Bunny”.
Mr. Robinson won the 2006 Ovation Award for Best Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Troy Maxson in a production of “Fences” by August Wilson at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
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Later in his career, Mr. Robinson had recurring roles in the CW comedy-drama “Hart of Dixie.” and the CBS sitcom “Mom”. In 2020, he appeared in “Love in the Time of Corona,” a miniseries on cable channel Freeform about people seeking connections amid the coronavirus pandemic. His wife, Dolorita Noonan-Robinson, played his nurse.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Robinson’s survivors include his children, Luca, Charlie, Christian and Byron, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Complete information on the survivors was not immediately available.
One of Mr. Robinson’s last professional performances was on stage opposite Wendell Pierce in James Anthony Tyler’s play “Some Old Black Man” at the University of Michigan. Mr. Pierce, best known for his role as a curmudgeonly detective on “The Wire,” played a college professor who moves his father, played by Mr. Robinson, into his Harlem penthouse. The play premiered in the fall of 2020 and aired online earlier this year.
Mr. Pierce said on twitter that he, Mr. Robinson, and the play’s production crew were quarantined together for nearly a month.
“Only 27 days in quarantine with Charlie Robinson and I got to appreciate the man, not just the wonderful actor with great charm and talent on stage, on television and in movies,” Mr. Pierce wrote. “In the life of an actor, the only things you take with you are the work you do and the people you do it with.”
In an interview, Mr Pierce said he had just finished a run playing Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” in London. Mr. Robinson had played the role in 2013, and the two bonded over having portrayed Willy, traditionally a white character.
Mr. Pierce said Mr. Robinson had encouraged him to never stop studying his art.
“He just taught me the kind of actor I wanted to be,” he said. “I thought about how I put my best days behind me and how it worked – well, that just inspired me.”