Obba Babatundé

Obba Babatunde (born Donald Cohen, December 1, 1951) is an American stage and movie actor, voice actor, producer, director and singer. He's also an actor on The Bold and the Beautiful.[1]

Obba Babatunde
Donald A. Cohen - Jamaica High School - 1969.jpg
Obba Babatundé in 1969
Born
Donald Cohen

(1951-12-01) December 1, 1951 (age 68)
OccupationActor, director, producer, singer
Years active1969–present

A native of Queens, New York,[2] Babatundé has appeared in more than seventeen stage productions, thirty theatrical films, sixty made-for-television movies, and two prime-time series. He starred as Zodzetrick in the Houston Grand Opera's 1982 revival of Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha.

Early life and educationEdit

He was born in 1951 as Donald A. Cohen to an African-American family in Jamaica, Queens, New York. As a child, he attended public schools, as did his brother Akin. He was attracted early to theater and from a young age would sing, dance and act for his family. He attended Jamaica High School where he was a well-rounded student who in addition to appearing in the Sing '68 school musical program he was a student aide and a member of both the track and cross country teams. After graduating from Jamaica High School in 1969, he started teaching at a private school for students of color. He also pursued acting jobs in New York, gaining some roles Off-Off-Broadway.[1]

Learning that his ancestry included people from Nigeria, he adopted a name made of Yoruba words: Obba, for "king", and Babatunde, meaning "father has returned again."[3]

CareerEdit

Babatundé has said a breakthrough role was gaining a part in a 1976 touring company of Guys and Dolls, starring Leslie Uggams and Richard Roundtree. Since then he has performed in many other stage productions.[3]

His first Broadway performance was in Timbuktu! in 1978. He is known for starring as C.C. White in Dreamgirls, for which he was nominated for a 1982 Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical. After performing on Broadway in this role, he also toured for two years with the company.[4] He gradually moved into film and television work, and has had numerous roles in both genres.

FilmEdit

His feature film appearances include Life as Willie, The Celestine Prophecy, Material Girls, After the Sunset, The Manchurian Candidate, The Notebook, a SWAT captain in John Q, an attorney in Philadelphia (1993), The Last Fall, If I Tell You I Have To Kill You, The Fallen Faithful, Trapped, Tension, and Kinky.

He also played Harvard College Dean Cain in the movie How High, as well as the role of Willie Long in the movie Life, the role of Lamar, the hotel concierge in the film That Thing You Do!, and in Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, he played Mayor Denny.

TelevisionEdit

Babatundé has appeared in three prime-time series: CBSMadam Secretary, as Barton Royce in the Showtime's I’m Dying Up Here (2017) , and as Dean Fairbanks in Netflix's Dear White People (2017-2018).

Babatundé appeared in a recurring role on Kingdom and Amazon's Hand of God, as Bishop Bruce Congdon. He also appeared in Half & Half, as well as appearances on The Bold and the Beautiful, Boston Legal, Grey's Anatomy, NCIS, Cold Case, Strong Medicine, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Touched by an Angel, Chicago Hope, Any Day Now, Karen Sisco, Dawson's Creek, and Friends. In the 1998 miniseries, The Temptations, he played Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records.

Babatundé appeared as Daniel Harrelson Sr in the 2017 series S.W.A.T..

Voice rolesEdit

Babatundé's voice acting roles in animated movies and games include Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, and Disney Infinity 3.0 as well as Conroy in Rocket Power.[5] In the animated feature The Wild Thornberrys Movie, Babatundé voiced the character of Boko, and in the 2016 Air Bud Entertainment movie Pup Star, he played the soul-singing Basset Hound, Big Ears.

Producer and directorEdit

Babatundé was co-producer and director of Oscar's Black Odyssey, co-producer of Dorothy Dandridge: An American Beauty, and co-producer of TV in Black: The First 50 Years. He is associate producer of the horror film Voodoo Dolls and executive producer of Journey. Most recently, Babatundé directed and co-stars with Katt Williams in the Lionsgate Home Entertainment feature film American Bad Boy, and he produced and directed the short film Clarissa's Gift.

Babatundé also directed a version of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. He co-authored, directed, and produced In the Blink of an Eye.

SingingEdit

Some of his recorded works include singing the title track on the Onaje Allan Gumbs's album Sack Full of Dreams, and "The Gal That Got Away" on Over The Rainbow, the Harold Arlen soundtrack.

In 1982 Babatunde starred as Zodzetrick in the Houston Grand Opera's second production of Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha. They had produced it first in 1976. After the opera was rediscovered, the world premiere was produced in 1972 by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Morehouse College chorus.

Awards and nominationsEdit

In 2016, Babatundé received the Daytime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series", as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Peachtree Village International Film Festival.

In 2010, Babatundé won NAACP Theatre Awards' "Best Lead Male" for his portrayal of Sammy Davis, Jr. in the Old Globe production of the musical Sammy.[6]

Babatundé was nominated for an Emmy in the HBO movie Miss Evers' Boys, an NAACP Image Award in the HBO movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, and an Ovation Award and a Tony Award for his role as C.C. White in the original Broadway cast of Dreamgirls. He won an NAACP Image Award as “Best Actor” for his role as Sarge in A Soldiers Play.[7]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1987 Leonard Part 6 Bongo Drummer Credited as Babatunde
1988 Married to the Mob The Face of Justice Credited as Obba Babatunde
1990 Miami Blues Blink Willie the Informant
1991 The Silence of the Lambs TV Anchor Man Credited as Obba Babatunde
1991 Dead Again Syd – Restaurant Owner Credited as Obba Babatunde
1992 The Importance of Being Earnest Lane
1993 Undercover Blues Sawyer
1993 Necronomicon Paul (part 3) Also known as Necronomicon: Book of Dead
1993 Philadelphia Jerome Green Credited as Obba Babatunde
1995 Born to Be Wild Interpreter
1995 A Reason to Believe Professor Thurman
1995 Fatal Pursuit Trinidad
1996 Multiplicity Paul
1996 Carpool Jeffery Credited as Obba Babatunde
1996 That Thing You Do! Lamarr
1999 Life Willie Long
2000 The Visit Tony
2001 How High Dean Carl Cain
2002 John Q Sergeant Moody Credited as Obba Babatunde
2002 The Wild Thornberrys Movie Boko (voice)
2003 The Great Commission Reverend Jesse
2004 The Notebook Band Leader Credited as Obba Babatunde
2004 The Manchurian Candidate Senator Wells
2004 After the Sunset Zacharias Credited asObba Babatunde
2004 Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.! Chief Ankamuti (voice) Direct-to-video
2004 Joy Road Dr. Howard Perkins
2005 Flip the Script T Mr. Jones Credited as Obba Babatunde
2006 The Celestine Prophecy Miguel Credited as Obba Babatunde
2006 Material Girls Craig Credited as Obba Babatunde
2007 April Fools Detective Combs Direct-to-video
2007 Cover Attorney Miller Credited asObba Babatunde
2008 The Eye Dr. Haskins
2009 Black Dynamite Osiris Credited as Obba Babatunde
2010 Trapped: Haitian Nights Ikliff
2010 The Fallen Faithful Reverend Emmanuel
2011 All-Star Superman Judge / Bibliobot (voices) Direct-to-video
2011 Go Beyond the Lens Host Short film
Credited as Obba Babatunde
2011 The Trap Door Mesmer Direct-to-video
2012 Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire Vampire Actor #4 (voice) Direct-to-video
2012 The Last Fall Larry Armstrong
2012 Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups Mayor Denny Direct-to-video
2013 Dolls of Voodoo Iklif
2014 The Dead Sea Mayor
2014 Lap Dance Roscoe
2015 American Bad Boy Pastor Lovely
2015 Death's Door Mesmer
2015 If I Tell You I Have to Kill You Jonathan Black
2016 Pup Star Big Ears (voice) Direct-to-video
2016 The Watcher Stark
2017 Pup Star 2: Better Together Big Ears (voice) Direct-to-video
2017 'Til Death Do us Part John Harris Credited as Obba Babatunde
2018 The Choir Director Mr. Wilcox
2018 Tennis, the Good Boy Armon (voice) Short film
2018 Kinky Mr. Bernard
2018 Jingle Belle Charles Williams
2018 Revival Nicodemus
2018 City of Lies Police Chief
2019 Mather Mather Short film
2020 Trigger Chief Keaton
2020 The Millennial Mr. Burke
2021 Fuhgedd About It Captain Ross Filming

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1986 America's Musical Theater Zodzetrick Episode: "Treemonisha"
Credited as Obba Babatunde
1987 All My Children Rusty Bennett One episode
1988 God Bless the Child Raymond Watkins Television movie
1988 Matlock Backstage Man Episode: "The Magician"
Credited as Obba Babatunde
1988 CBS Summer Playhouse Terrence Quimby Episode: "Fort Figueroa"
1989 Heart and Soul Also Taylor Television short movie
1990 A Different World Frank Benning Episode: "Soldier Boy"
1992 The Human Factor Episode: "Pilot"
1992 Tales from the Crypt Lieutenant Jamison Credited as Obba Babatunde
Episode: "Maniac at Large"
1992 Sisters Ben Episode: "Crash and Born"
Credited asObba Babatunde
1993 The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Mongoose Episode: "A.K.A. Kansas"
Credited as Obba Babatunde
1994 M.A.N.T.I.S. Cornell Television movie
1994 Getting By Episode: "The Rich Guy"
1994 Hangin' with Mr. Cooper Jameson Walker Episode: "Trading Places"
1994 Tom Tanner Episode: "Pilot"
1994 Thunder in Paradise Carl Episode: "Identity Crisis"
Credited as Obba Babatunde
1994 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Gordy Berry Episodes: "The Client" and "What's Will Got to Do With It?"
1994 Touched by an Angel Carter Scans Episode: "Fallen Angela"
Credited as Obba Babatunde
1995 Under One Roof Ben Episode: "Pilot"
Credited as Obba Babatunde
1995 Sliders Cezanne Brown Episode: "Summer of Love"
1995 Chicago Hope Charles Ellis Credited as Obba Babatunde
Episodes: "Freeze Outs" and "Full Moon"
1996 Soul of the Game Cum Posey Television movie
1996 The Tomorrow Man Brian Parish Television movie
1996 The Cherokee Kid Isom Dart Television movie
1997 Friends The Director Credited as Obba Babatunde
Episode: "The One with All the Jealousy"
1997 The Burning Zone Vince, Police Lieutenant Episode: "The Last Endless Summer"
1997 Miss Evers' Boys Willie Johnson Television movie
1997 Sparks Mr. Kirby Episode: "A Day in the Life II"
1997 Spy Game Lieutenant Wardell Episode: "Lorne and Max Drop the Bell"
1998 The Temptations Berry Gordy 2 episodes
Television miniseries
1999 Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Harold Nicholas Television movie
Credited as Obba Babatunde
1999 Xyber 9: New Dawn Additional Voices (voice) Unknown episodes
1999–2000 Dawson's Creek Principal Howard Green 8 episodes
1999–2004 Rocket Power Conroy (voice) / Various 21 episodes
1999 The Apartment Complex Chett Television movie
1999 Linc's Army Vet Episode: "Dog Day Afternoon"
2000 The Outer Limits Dr. Joseph Lennox Episode: "The Beholder"
2000 The Invisible Man Allardyce Episode: "The Value of Secrets"
2000 Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family Sergeant Bonner Episode: "Bazooka Joe"
2000 Max Steel Additional Voices (voice) Episodes: "Sportsmen" and "Scions"
2001 Any Day Now Judge Richards Episodes: "It's Not Just a Word: Parts 1 & 2"
2001 Family Law Philip Hamilton Episode: "Planting Seeds"
2001–2002 Soul Food Benjamin Chadway Episodes: "A Clear and Present Stranger" and "Love and Other Strangers"
2001–2003 Static Shock Watch Store Salesman / Singer / Scientist (voices) 3 episodes
Credited as Obba Babatunde
2001 One Special Moment Television movie
2001 The Beast Mr. Lowry Episode: "The Price"
2002 Redeemer Charles Henderson Television movie
Credited as Obba Babatunde
2002–2006 Half & Half Charles Thorne 34 episodes
Credited as Obba Babatunde
2002 NYPD Blue Kevin Dupree Episode: "Maya Con Dios"
2003–2004 Karen Sisco Daniel Burden 3 episodes
2004 Soap Talk Himself One episode
2005 Everwood Jason Episode: "Giving Up the Girl"
2006–2013 Winx Club King Teredor (voice) 13 episodes
2007 Cold Case Dr. Octavia Leroy Episode: "Shuffle, Ball Change"
2007 The Young and the Restless Carter Campbell 5 episodes
2007 Boston Legal Dr. Stanley Rivers / Dr. Victor Rivers Credited as Obba Babatunde
Episodes: "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Innocent Man"
2007 Girlfriends Attendant Episode: "Save the Last Dance"
2008 Psych David Gaffney Credited as Obba Babatunde
Episode: "There's Something About Mira"
2008 Saving Grace Doc Episode: "Do You Live Him?"
2009 NCIS Joe Banks Episode: "Knockout"
2009 Grey's Anatomy Dan Gates Episode: "Sweet Surrender"
2010 Criminal Minds Sheriff Sanders Episode: "Solitary Man"
2011 Private Practice Dr. Larry Cannon Episode: "Heaven Can Wait"
2011 Love That Girl! Jim Episode: "Happy Birthday, Bro"
Credited as Obba Babatunde
2011 'Winx Club: Enchantix King Teredor (voice) Episode: "The Wizard's Challenge"
2013 Cult Quentin Farrow Credited asObba Babatunde
Episodes: "The Good Fight" and "Executive Producer Steven Rae"
2014 Enlisted General Murray Episode: "The General Inspection"
2014 Kingdom Detective Gaines 3 episodes
2015 Hand of God Bishop Bruce Congdon 3 episodes
2015–2020 The Bold and the Beautiful Julius Avant 78 episodes
2017 Madam Secretary President Silvanus Fabre Episode: "The Detour"
2017 The Last Tycoon Les Turpin Episode: "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar"
2017–2018 Detroiters Mr. Duvet 3 episodes
Credited as Obba Babatunde
2017 I'm Dying Up Here Barton Royce 7 episodes
2017 D.P.W. Mayor McCann Television movie
2018 The Good Fight Danny Quinn Episode: "Day 492"
2018–present S.W.A.T. Daniel Harrelson, Sr. 14 episodes
Recurring cast
2018 Forever Gregory Episodes: "Oceanside" and "Goodbye Forever"
2018 Ballers J.D. Pritchard Episode: "The Kids Are Alright"
2019 Corporate Cronker Wilson 3 episodes
2019 For the People Philip Kaws Episode: "You Belong Here"
2020 Little Fires Everywhere George Wright Television miniseries
Episodes: "Duo" and "The Uncanny"
2020 Goliath TBA Season 4
Recurring cast[8]

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Lando Calrissian (voice) Credited as Obba Baba Tunde
2001 Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II - Rogue Leader Lando Calrissian (voice)
2003 Star Wars: Rogue Squadron III - Rebel Strike Lando Calrissian (voice)
2006 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent Additional Voices (voice)
2012 Kinect Star Wars Lando Calrissian (voice) Credited as Obba Babatunde
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 Lando Calrissian (voice)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Folio '69 "Donald A. Cohen" (Jamaica High School, Jamaica, New York)". Ancestry.com. Generations Network. 1969. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  2. ^ S. Torriano Berry; Venise T. Berry (2 September 2009). The A to Z of African American Cinema. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810870345. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Chika Udeh, "Everything You Must Know about Hollywood Icon Obba Babatunde", Buzz Nigeria, 2018
  4. ^ "Obba Babatunde", Broadway Productions, Internet Broadway Database, 2001-2019
  5. ^ Avalanche Software. Disney Infinity 3.0. Scene: Closing credits, 5:39 in, Featuring the Voice Talents of.
  6. ^ "Babatunde, Gurira and Zambello Win NAACP Theatre Awards | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  7. ^ "Kiss Me Kate Tops 2011 Ovation Award Nominations". 19 September 2011.
  8. ^ Petski, Denise (February 21, 2020). "'Goliath' Adds Geoffrey Arend & Brandon Scott As Series Regulars, Two Recurring For Season 4". www.deadline.com. Deadline. Retrieved November 25, 2020.

External linksEdit