Woodbury, New Jersey, USA
Place of Death
Los Angeles, California, USA
Claim to Fame
All in the Family
Salt and Pepper
Cause of Death
Profile Bio Text
Roscoe Lee Browne (May 2, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American actor and director, known for his rich voice and dignified bearing. Browne was the 4th son of Baptist minister Sylvanus S. Browne and his wife Lovie (born Lovie Lee Usher). Born in Woodbury, New Jersey, Browne first attended historically black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he became a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity and graduated with a bachelor`s degree in 1946. He undertook postgraduate work at Middlebury College in Vermont, Columbia University in New York City, and at the University of Florence in Italy. Also an outstanding middle-distance runner, Browne won the Amateur Athletic Union 1,000-yard national indoor championship in 1949. He occasionally returned to Lincoln University between 1946 to 1952 to instruct classes in comparative literature, French, and English. Upon leaving academe he earned a living for several years selling wine for Schenley Import Corporation. Despite his limited amateur acting experience, in 1956 he stunned guests at a party — among them opera singer Leontyne Price — when he announced his intention to quit his secure job with Schenley to become a full-time professional actor.
His theatrical work brought him to the attention of producer Leland Hayward, and in 1964 he began a regular stint as a cast member on Hayward`s satirical NBC-TV series That Was the Week That Was. Starting in the late 1960s, Browne increasingly became a guest star on TV on both comedy and dramatic shows like Mannix, All in the Family, Good Times, Sanford and Son, The Cosby Show and dozens of other shows. He also was a regular on the sitcom Soap where he played Saunders, the erudite butler from 1979 to 1981, replacing Robert Guillaume who went on to his own show Benson. Incidentally, Browne guest starred on Benson with Guillaume. His appearances on The Cosby Show, including a memorable episode in which he recited Shakespeare with fellow guest star Christopher Plummer, also drew acclaim as well winning an Emmy Award in 1986 for his guest role as Professor Foster. He and fellow actor Anthony Zerbe toured the United States with their poetry performance piece, Behind the Broken Words, which included readings of poetry, some of it written by Browne, as well as performances of comedy and dramatic works. His most memorable film roles include Alfred Hitchcock`s Topaz, the title character in William Wyler`s final film, The Liberation of L.B. Jones, and as the narrator in Babe and its sequel Babe: Pig in the City. He is also known for his voice role as the Kingpin in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Four years before his death, Browne narrated a series of WPA slave narratives in the HBO film Unchained Memories in 2003. Browne died of cancer in Los Angeles on April 11, 2007, aged 84.
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Roscoe Lee Browne (May 2, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an African-American actor and director, known for his rich voice and dignified bearing. He made a point of avoiding typical black roles, taking part in New York City's Shakespeare Festival Theater, Leland Hayward’s satirical NBC-TV series That Was the Week That Was, and a poetry performance tour of America. In 1986, he won an Emmy Award.
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Roscoe Lee Browne died on 11th April, 2007. .
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