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Robert Hooks (born Bobby Dean Hooks, April 18, 1937) is an American actor, producer, and activist.[1] He is most recognizable to the public for his over 100 roles in films, television, and stage. Most famously, Hooks, along with Douglas Turner Ward, founded The Negro Ensemble Company (NEC).[2] The NEC is credited with the launch of the careers of many major black artists of all disciplines, while creating a body of performance literature over the last thirty years, providing the backbone of African-American theatrical classics. Additionally, Hooks is the sole founder of two significant black theatre companies: the D.C. Black Repertory Company, and New York's Group Theatre Workshop. [3]

Robert Hooks
Robert Hooks.jpg
Born
Bobby Dean Hooks

(1937-04-18) April 18, 1937 (age 82)
Washington, D.C., United States
Other namesRobert Hooks
OccupationActor
Producer
Activist
Creator Cultural Institutions
Creator/Co-creator Civil Right Organizations
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Lorrie Marlow (aka LorrieGay Marlow) (m.2008)
ChildrenKevin Hooks, Eric Hooks, Cecilia Onibudo, Christopher Carter (née Hooks), Kiyo Tarpley, Robert (Rob) Hooks, Jr.
Parent(s)Mae Bertha "Bert" Ward Hooks (9/27/11 – 12/27/78); Edward Hooks (d. 1939)
WebsiteRobert Hooks
Robert Hooks - Cultural Architect Facebook

Contents

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

The youngest of five children, Hooks was born in Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C. to Mae Bertha (née Ward), a seamstress, and Edward Hooks who had moved from Rocky Mount, North Carolina with their four other children, Bernice, Caroleigh, Charles Edward "Charlie", and James Walter "Jimmy." Robert was their first child born "up-north" and the first to be born in a hospital. His father, Edward, died in a work accident on the railroad in 1939.

Hooks attended Stevens Elementary School. In 1945, at the insistence of his sister Bernice who was doing community arts outreach for youngsters at Francis Junior High School, he performed the lead in his first play, The Pirates of Penzance, at the age of nine. From the ages of 6 to 12, Bobby Dean journeyed with his siblings to Lucama, North Carolina to work the tobacco fields for his uncle's sharecropping farm as a way to help earn money for the coming school year in DC.

In 1954, just as Brown vs. Board of Education was being implemented in the north, he moved to Philadelphia to be with his mother, her second husband, and his half-sister, Safia Abdullah (née Sharon Dickerson). Hooks experienced his first integrated school experience at West Philadelphia High School. Hooks soon joined the drama club and began acting in plays by William Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett. He graduated in 1956, passing on a scholarship to Temple University in order to pursue a career as a stage actor at the Bessie V. Hicks School of Theatre (alongside Charles Dierkop and Bruce Dern with whom he second-acted plays doing their pre-Broadway tryouts in Philadelphia) while working at Browning King, a men's tailor shop at 14th and Chestnut streets.[4][5]

CareerEdit

Having trained at the Bessie V. Smith School of Theatre in Philadelphia, and after seeing A Raisin in the Sun in its Philadelphia tryout in February 1959, Hooks moved to New York to pursue acting. In April 1960, as Bobby Dean Hooks, he made his Broadway debut in A Raisin in the Sun replacing Louis Gossett, Jr. who would be doing the film version. He then continued to do its national tour. He then stepped into the Broadway production of A Taste of Honey, replacing Billy Dee Williams; then repeating the same national tour trajectory as he'd done for "Raisin..." the previous year. In early 1962 he next appeared as the lead in Jean Genet's The Blacks replacing James Earl Jones as the male lead, leaving briefly that same year to appear on Broadway again in Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright before stepping back into the lead role in The Blacks in 1963. He then returned to Broadway, first in Ballad for Bimshire and then in the short-lived 1964 David Merrick revival of The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Any More (as a character created by Tennessee Williams for this revival) and starring Tallulah Bankhead and Tab Hunter in his only stage performance. Immediately thereafter, in March 24, 1964 he originated the role of Clay in Amiri Baraka's Dutchman. With this play, on the advice of Roscoe Lee Brown, Hooks became known as Robert Hooks. He also originated roles on the New York stage in Where's Daddy? for which he won the Theatre World Award and he was nominated for Best Male Lead in a Musical for Hallelujah Baby while he was simultaneously starring in David Susskind's N.Y.P.D.—the first African American lead on a television drama.

In 1968 Hooks was the host of the new public affairs television program, Like It Is.[6]

Most famously, Hooks, along with Douglas Turner Ward, founded The Negro Ensemble Company (NEC).[7] He then brought Gerald Krone in as Production Manager. The NEC is credited with the launch of the careers of many major black artists of all disciplines, while creating a body of performance literature over the last thirty years, providing the backbone of African-American theatrical classics. Additionally, Hooks is the sole founder of two significant black theatre companies: the D.C. Black Repertory Company, and New York's Group Theatre Workshop, built to mentor the talents of New York's disadvantaged youth. He soon brought in Dr. Barbara Ann Teer to teach classes and develop the workshop.[8]

Hooks was nominated for a Tony for his lead role in the musical, Hallelujah, Baby!, has received both the Pioneer Award and the NAACP Image Award for Lifetime Achievement, and has been inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. He also won an Emmy for his PBS special Voices of Our People.

Significant roles for which Hooks is known include Reeve Scott in Hurry Sundown (1967), Mr. T. in the blaxploitation film Trouble Man (1972), grandpa Gene Donovan in the comedy Seventeen Again (2000), and Fleet Admiral Morrow in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). He also appeared on television in an episode of the NBC crime drama series The Eddie Capra Mysteries in 1978 and portrayed Doctor Walcott in the 1980's television series Dynasty.

Personal lifeEdit

Hooks is the father of actor, television and film director Kevin Hooks. He married Lorrie Gay Marlow[9] (Actor/Author/Artist) on June 15, 2008. He was previously married to Yvonne Hickman and Rosie Lee Hooks.[10]

AwardsEdit

  • 1966 - Theatre World Award (1965–66 ) for "Where's Daddy?" (The Billy Rose Theatre)[11]
  • 1979 - American Black Achievement Award - Ebony Magazine
  • 1982 - Emmy Award for Producing (1982) Voices of Our People: In Celebration of Black Poetry (KCET-TV/PBS)
  • 1966 - Tony Nomination, Lead Role in a Musical for Hallelujah, Baby
  • 1985 - Inducted into The Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, recipient Oscar Micheaux Award (1985) [12]
  • 1986 - March 2nd declared Robert Hooks Day by the City of Los Angeles, Mayor Tom Bradley
  • 1987 - Excellence in Advertising and Communications to Black Communities from CEBA (Excellence in Advertising and Communications to Black Communities)
  • 2000 - Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa honorary degree, Bowie State University[13]
  • 2000 - May 25th declared Robert Hooks Day in Washington, DC [14]
  • 2005 - Beverly Hills/Hollywood Chapter NAACP Image Award for Lifetime Achievement[15]
  • 2005 - Beverly Hills/Hollywood Chapter NAACP TRAILBLAZER AWARD to the Negro Ensemble Company
  • 2005 - Trailblazer Award – City of Los Angeles
  • 2006 - The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL), Lifetime Achievement Award (Dallas)[16]
  • 2007 - The Black Theatre Alliance Awards / Lifetime Achievement Award[17]
  • 2015 - Living Legend Award (2015) National Black Theatre Festival [18]
  • 2018 - October 18th proclaimed Robert Hooks Day by Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, DC[19]
  • 2018 - Hooks is entered into The Congressional Record by the Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton, September 4, 2018, Vol. 164. [20][21]
  • 2018 - Visionary Founder and Creator Award - DC Black Repertory Company on its 47th anniversary[22]

Acting CreditsEdit

FilmEdit

TelevisionEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Lorrie Marlow and Robert Hooks". The New York Times. June 15, 2008.
  2. ^ "American Masters: Negro Ensemble Company". Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
  3. ^ Hill, Anthony D.; Barnett, Douglas Q. (4 December 2008). "Historical Dictionary of African American Theater". Scarecrow Press. Retrieved 10 September 2017 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Robert Hooks - The HistoryMakers". thehistorymakers.org. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Robert Hooks Biography (1937–)". www.filmreference.com. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Gil Noble: Visionary Videos: NVLP: African American History". www.visionaryproject.org. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  7. ^ "American Masters: Negro Ensemble Company". Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 2007-04-28.
  8. ^ Hill, Anthony D.; Barnett, Douglas Q. (4 December 2008). "Historical Dictionary of African American Theater". Scarecrow Press. Retrieved 10 September 2017 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "Lorrie Marlow". IMDb. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Robert Hooks". IMDb. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  11. ^ https://www.theatreworldawards.org/past-recipients.html
  12. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=8rADAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA28&lpg=PA28&dq=%22robert+hooks%22+Black+Filmmakers+Hall+of+Fame&source=bl&ots=7ansPeVI7J&sig=hRZZD7jXYCfWiPo60AisZnKzYwY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj2ye-esa3eAhUIMawKHY8ZChYQ6AEwBXoECAIQAQ#v=onepage&q=%22robert%20hooks%22%20Black%20Filmmakers%20Hall%20of%20Fame&f=false
  13. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/2000/05/24/the-reliable-source/d7368bd7-4f3e-48fe-b0a1-e68d02338323/?noredirect=on
  14. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=On9KAQAAMAAJ&q=%22robert+hooks+day%22&dq=%22robert+hooks+day%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiX7LT77NXjAhULjFQKHRokCaUQ6AEIKzAA
  15. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=8kIEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA63&dq=%22robert+hooks%22+naacp+image&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZuaWVsq3eAhUFaq0KHRQKDJsQ6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q=%22robert%20hooks%22%20naacp%20image&f=false
  16. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=8kIEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA63&dq=%22robert+hooks%22+naacp+image&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZuaWVsq3eAhUFaq0KHRQKDJsQ6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q=%22robert%20hooks%22%20naacp%20image&f=false
  17. ^ http://www.btaawards.org/#pastrecipients
  18. ^ https://www.ncblackrep.org/nbtf_wordpress_site/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2015-Brochure.pdf
  19. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/longtime-african-american-actor-robert-hooks-on-the-state-of-black-theater-then-and-now/2018/10/25/5abc4818-d631-11e8-83a2-d1c3da28d6b6_story.html
  20. ^ https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2018/10/19/extensions-of-remarks-section/article/E1428-2
  21. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/longtime-african-american-actor-robert-hooks-on-the-state-of-black-theater-then-and-now/2018/10/25/5abc4818-d631-11e8-83a2-d1c3da28d6b6_story.html
  22. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/longtime-african-american-actor-robert-hooks-on-the-state-of-black-theater-then-and-now/2018/10/25/5abc4818-d631-11e8-83a2-d1c3da28d6b6_story.html

External linksEdit