‘Night Court’ Star Charlie Robinson Dies at 75

Charlie Robinson
Warner Bros. Television / S--- My Dad Says - Greg Gayne / CBS / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Veteran actor Charlie Robinson, best known for playing Mac the court clerk in the popular NBC sitcom Night Court, died on Sunday, July 11, in Los Angeles due to cardiac arrest and cancer. He was 75.

Born in Houston, Robinson began his career in entertainment early, starting out as a singer with the groups Archie Bell and the Drells and Southern Clouds of Joy. In the late 1960s, he enrolled in the Studio 7 acting school operated by Chris Wilson at the Houston Music Theatre before moving to Hollywood and starring in numerous movies and television series.

Over the course of his 50-year career, Robinson appeared in shows such as Flamingo Road, St. Elsewhere, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Home Improvement, and The Game. In 1983, he was cast as Newdell in the NBC comedy Buffalo Bill, though the series was canceled after just two seasons and replaced by Night Court, where Robinson would go on to play court clerk Mac from 1984 until the show ended in 1992.

In recent years, Robinson starred in a lead role in the first season of TBS’s anthology comedy series The Guest Book, where he played Wilfred. He also made appearances in NBC drama This Is Us, FX comedy-drama Better Things, and the Disney Channel’s family sitcom Raven’s Home. In 2020, Robinson had a recurring role in Freeform’s romantic-comedy series Love in the Time of Corona.

Robinson was also a highly respected stage actor, having won an Ovation Award for Best Actor for playing Troy in Fences and an NAACP Theatre Award for playing Simon in The Whipping Man.

“Once referred to by Martin Landau as ‘the greatest, underestimated actor in Hollywood,’ Charles Robinson was the love of my life, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather,” said Robinson’s widow, Dolorita Noonan-Robinson. “He was truly the working actor’s actor, and of all his passions, his craft took center stage, with his family being the wind beneath his wings, so he could soar to unbelievable heights! On behalf of my husband and family, I thank you for being part of the audience.”

Several actors, including Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder) and Wendell Pierce (The Wire), also paid tribute to the late actor. Check out their reactions below.