Tommy Hollis

TV, film and stage thesp Tommy Hollis, who originated the role of Booker T. Washington in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning “Ragtime” and portrayed the father of the title character in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” died Sept. 9 of a heart attack in New York City. He was 47.

Recipient of the 1991 Theater World Award for outstanding Broadway debut, as Reverend Avery in August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson,” Hollis performed in the original Broadway casts of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Ragtime” and “Seven Guitars.”

He also originated the title role of Jesse in “I Just Stopped by to See the Man” at London’s Royal Court Theater and performed in George C. Wolfe’s “Colored Museum” in New York, London and Los Angeles.

In addition to reprising his roles in “The Piano Lesson” and “The Colored Museum,” Hollis’ television work included Alex Haley’s miniseries “Queen,” telepics “Separate but Equal” and “The Vernon Johns Story.” He also had appearances on such series as “Law & Order” and “New York Undercover,” plus a recurring role on “I’ll Fly Away.”

His film credits included Mike Nichols’ “Primary Colors,” Spike Lee’s “Malcom X,” “The Professional” and “Ghostbusters.”

Invited by artistic director Lloyd Richards, Hollis helped develop new works by playwrights at the Eugene O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference for several seasons. Recipient of last year’s Fox Foundation Fellowship, Hollis also was a concert performer and traditional gospel singer who most recently sang in a tribute to the late producer, Lyn Austin.

He is survived by his mother, four sisters, two brothers, a stepmother, six nieces and 15 nephews.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading