Howard E Rollins Jr.

Actor, Bus driver, Substitute teacher
This commanding black actor came to prominence as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Milos Forman's adaptation of the E.L. Doctorow novel "Ragtime" (1981), for which he earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor. Rollins ... Read more »
Born: 10/16/1950 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Filmography

Actor (27)

Remember WENN 1995 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Drunks 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Harambee! 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

In the Heat of the Night 1987 - 1993 (Tv Show)

Actor

On the Block 1990 (Movie)

Clay Beasley (Actor)

Dear America: Letters Homes From Vietnam 1988 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Johnnie Mae Gibson 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Wildside 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

A Soldier's Story 1984 (Movie)

Captain Richard Davenport (Actor)

The Member of the Wedding 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Chytilova vs. Forman 1982 (Movie)

himself (Actor)

The Neighborhood 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Ragtime 1981 (Movie)

Coalhouse Walker Jr (Actor)

The House of God 1978 (Movie)

Chuck (Actor)

The Trial of the Moke 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Our Street 1971 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

A Doctor's Story (TV Show)

Actor

He's Fired, She's Hired (TV Show)

Actor

King (TV Show)

Actor

My Old Man (TV Show)

Actor

Roots: The Next Generations (TV Show)

Actor

The Boy King (TV Show)

Actor

The House of Dies Drear (TV Show)

Actor

Thornwell (TV Show)

Actor

With Murder in Mind (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

This commanding black actor came to prominence as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Milos Forman's adaptation of the E.L. Doctorow novel "Ragtime" (1981), for which he earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor. Rollins was also memorable in Norman Jewison's tightly-wound drama, "A Soldier's Story" (1984). But Rollins is perhaps best remembered for his television appearances.

On the small screen, the intense actor has portrayed a wide range of characters, ranging from the factual (Andrew Young in the 1978 NBC biographical miniseries "King" and George Haley in the 1979 ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generation") to fictional (Honey in "The Member of the Wedding" NBC, 1982). Rollins was a member of the cast of the NBC daytime drama "Another World" in the early 80s and segued to a primetime series with the short-lived Western "Wildside" (ABC, 1985), in which he played an demolitions expert. But he earned widespread recognition for his role as Virgil Tibbs (the Sidney Poitier role in the feature) in the TV series, "In the Heat of the Night" (NBC, 1988-92; CBS, 1992-93). Rollins has also made headlines with well-publicized battles with substance abuse and arrests for cocaine possession and driving under the influence. His recurring problems led to his dismissal from the series. Although Rollins underwent rehabilitation, his previous history made producers leery of hiring him and work offers were few. His last TV appearance was as a guest performer on "Remember WENN" (AMC, 1996). He died in December 1996 of complications from lymphoma.

Relationships

Hattie Fields

Sister
survived him

Howard Rollins

Father
deceased

Ruth Rollins

Mother
survived him

EDUCATION

Towson State University

Towson , Maryland

Milestones

1996

Final feature role, "Drunks" (film had festival screens and was aired on Showtime before its theatrical release)

1996

Final TV appearances, guest performance on "Remember WENN" (AMC) and on PBS Kwanzaa special "Harambee!"

1985

Primetime series debut as regular, "Wildside" (ABC)

1984

Starred in feature film "A Soldier's Story"

1981

Breakthrough film role, Coalhouse Walker, Jr in Milos Foreman's "Ragtime"

1978

Feature film debut, "The House of God"

1974

Broadway debut, "We Interrupt This Program"

1968

Appeared as regular on PBS series "Our Street"

1967

Stage debut, "Of Mice and Men" in Baltimore, MD

Was a regular on the NBC daytime drama "Another World"

Appeared as regular in TV series "In the Heat of the Night"

SIMILAR ARTICLES