An accomplished singer and dancer, Obba Babatunde first garnered praise for his theater work in NYC before branching into films and TV. Born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, the handsome, lithe performer was bitten by the showbiz bug early. From the age of 6, he staged shows for his family. Babatunde made his professional debut as a member of the Metropolitan Brass Ensemble on a tour of the West Indies. After graduating from Brooklyn College, he and his brother worked as teachers and administrators at Harriet Tubman School, a private educational institution geared to talented children of color. The dual demands of his growing acting career and working at the school finally came to a head around 1978 and Babatunde made the commitment to pursue his dreams. He racked up credits as a voice-over artist for TV commercials and appeared in various productions Off-Off- and Off-Broadway. One of his first breaks came in 1976 with a touring company of "Guys and Dolls" starring Leslie Uggams and Richard Roundtree. The following year, he made his film debut in a small role in the prison drama "Short Eyes." Babatunde earned notice for his supporting role in the Broadway musical "Timbuktu" (1977-78), a role that required him to perform on stilts. When the show closed, he became one of the featured performers in Liza Minnelli's concert tour (which included playing Carnegie Hall); Babatunde was given a solo, "Mr. Cellophane."