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Robert Townsend

Actor / Film Director / Screenwriter / Television Director / Television Producer | * 02/06/1957 (64) | Chicago, Illinois, USA
Robert Townsend (born February 6, 1957) is an American actor, director, comedian, and writer. Townsend is best known for directing the films Hollywood Shuffle (1987), Eddie Murphy Raw (1987), The Meteor Man (1993), The Five Heartbeats (1991) and various other films and stand-up specials. He is especially known for his eponymous self-titled character, Robert Peterson as the starring role as on The WB sitcom The Parent 'Hood (1995–1999), a series which he created and of which directed select episodes. Townsend is also known for his role as Donald "Duck" Matthews in his 1991 film The Five Heartbeats. He later wrote, directed and produced Making ()
Photo of Robert Townsend

Robert Townsend was born on February 6, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. He is an actor, comedian, film director, and writer. In 1974, Townsend auditioned for parts at Chicago's Experimental Black Actors' Guild and performed in local plays studying at the famed Second City comedy workshop for improvisation. He enrolled at Illinois State University and a year and later moved to New York to study at the Negro Ensemble Company. Townsend had a brief un-credited role in the movie Cooley High (1975). His career hit mainstream in the early 1980s. This included stand-up comedy routines which appeared on cable television. He also appeared in small parts like the his role in A Soldier's Story (1984) opposite Denzel Washington. Townsend auditioned to be part of Saturday Night Live's 1980-1981 cast, but was rejected when Eddie Murphy was chosen instead. During the 1980s and early 1990s Townsend gained national exposure through his many appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. Townsend established himself when he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the comedy Hollywood Shuffle, his 1987 film about struggling black actors in Hollywood. The success of this project helped him establish credit in the film industry and he gained notoriety, which helped him continue to succeed in other films like The Mighty Quinn (1989) with Denzel Washington, The Five Heartbeats (1991) and The Meteor Man (1993). He created and produced two television variety shows; the CableACE Award–Winning Robert Townsend and His Partners in Crime for HBO, and the Fox Television Variety Show Townsend Television (1993). He also created and starred in the WB Network's sitcom The Parent 'Hood (1995). On the big screen, he has directed Eddie Murphy in Eddie Murphy: Raw (1987); Halle Berry and Martin Landau in B*A*P*S (1997); James Earl Jones and Bill Cosby in The Meteor Man (1993), which Townsend also starred. Other credits include; Love Songs (1999), a TV movie starring Louis Gossett, Jr., and Andre Braugher; the Disney family film Up, Up, and Away (2000); and the Showtime movie, Holiday Heart, starring Ving Rhames. In 2009 he directed Phantom Punch, the film biopic of Sonny Liston, with Ving Rhames in the lead role. During his career, Townsend has made history through being nominated for more than 30 NAACP Image Awards for film and television.

Most frequent genres for this person: Comedies | Drama | Documentaries

Known for these Movies & Shows


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Movies with Robert Townsend as Actor(36)

as Coach Banks2015 Playin' for Love
as Vampire Actor #1 (voice)2012 Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire
as Holden Cole2008 Of Boys and Men
as Bobby Taylor (archive footage)2006 Edge of Outside
as Alan Chambers2003 Black Listed
as Mr. Five2002 I Was a Teenage Faust
as MR. UB2002 Undercover Brother
as Jim Marshall / Bronze Eagle2000 Up, Up, and Away
as Charlie Love1999 Mercenary II: Thick & Thin
as Robert Townsend1999 Jackie's Back!
as Peyton Cody1999 Taxman
as James Saunders1998 Joseph's Gift
as Archive Footage (Hollywood Shuffle)1997 Stuart Hall: Representation & the Media
as Jefferson Reed1993 The Meteor Man
as Maubee1989 The Mighty Quinn
as (Uncredited)1988 I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
as Bobby Taylor1987 Hollywood Shuffle
as Manny1986 Ratboy
as Dwight1986 Odd Jobs
as Jerome1985 American Flyers
as Lester - The Sorels1984 Streets of Fire
as Corporal Ellis1984 A Soldier's Story
as Thin Boy1980 Willie and Phil
as Russell Baker1979 Women at West Point
as Basketball Player in Gym Class1975 Cooley High

TV Shows/Series with Robert Townsend as Actor(4)

as Dr. Napier Frank2018 Black Lightning
as Robert Peterson1995 The Parent 'Hood
1972 M*A*S*H

Movies with Robert Townsend as Crew(31)

Directing/Director2018 Making The Five Heartbeats
Directing/Director2015 Playin' for Love
Writing/Writer2015 Playin' for Love
Directing/Director2014 Bill Cosby: 77
Directing/Director2013 Bill Cosby: Far From Finished
Directing/Director2012 In the Hive
Directing/Director2009 Diary of a Single Mom
Directing/Director2009 Phantom Punch
Production/Producer2008 Of Boys and Men
Directing/Director2002 10,000 Black Men Named George
Directing/Director2001 Carmen: A Hip Hopera
Directing/Director2000 Up, Up, and Away
Directing/Director2000 Little Richard
Directing/Director2000 Holiday Heart
Directing/Director1999 Jackie's Back!
Directing/Director1999 Love Songs
Directing/Director1997 B.A.P.S.
Directing/Director1993 The Meteor Man
Writing/Screenplay1993 The Meteor Man
Production/Producer1993 The Meteor Man
Directing/Director1991 The Five Heartbeats
Writing/Writer1991 The Five Heartbeats
Production/Producer1991 The Five Heartbeats
Directing/Director1987 Hollywood Shuffle
Writing/Writer1987 Hollywood Shuffle
Production/Producer1987 Hollywood Shuffle
Directing/Director1987 Eddie Murphy Raw

TV Shows/Series with Robert Townsend as Crew(4)

Directing/Director2018 Black Lightning
Directing/Director2005 South of Nowhere
Directing/Director1995 The Parent 'Hood
Production/Producer1995 The Parent 'Hood

Full Name: Robert Townsend
Born: Wednesday, 02/06 1957 (February) in Chicago (current age: 64 years + 64 days)
Zodiac sign: Aquarius (Chinese zodiac sign: Rooster)
Educated at: Austin Community Academy High School
Children: Skye Townsend
Robert Townsend frequently works together with these people:
Charlie Dean (10x, Actor)
Bill Cosby (6x, Actor)
Eddie Griffin (5x, Actor)
Rudy Ray Moore (5x, Actor)
Bobby McGee (5x, Actor)
Sut Jhally (5x, Crew)
Chris Rock (4x, Actor)
Alan Alda (4x, Actor)
Salim Akil (4x, Crew)
Gene Reynolds (4x, Crew)
Burt Metcalfe (4x, Actor)
WatchPlayStream ID: PEOPLE:26951, Added: 05/08/2018, Last updated: 04/05/2021