Writer-producer-director Cliff Roquemore died Feb. 5 of cancer in Tulsa. He was 53.Born and raised in Detroit, he studied theater at Wayne State U. and later wrote, directed and produced plays in Detroit at Concept East, Detroit Repertoire and Vest Pocket Theaters. He was involved in more than 200 productions (regional and Off Broadway) including “Selma,” “Invasion of Addis Ababa,” “Shaka Zulu” and “Eubie.” In the mid-1970s, he teamed with comedienne Rudy Ray Moore and wrote, produced and directed several feature films, including “The Human Tornado” (1976), “Petey Wheatstraw” (1978) and “Disco Godfather” (1979). He also was involved in the development and production of several blaxploitation films of the era including “Penitentiary II” and “Body and Soul.” Roquemore also worked as a casting director for Cannon Films, casting “X-Ray,” “Enter the Ninja” and “Body and Soul.” During the 1980s, he teamed with Motown songwriter Mickey Stevenson and wrote, produced and directed numerous musicals including “Color Me Dorothy — The Dorothy Dandridge Story,” “Showgirls,” which ran in Los Angeles and Off Broadway, and “Swann.” He was a writer for the national tour of the musical “The Gospel Truth,” which garnered seven NAACP Image Awards. In 1990, he directed Eartha Kitt in her one-woman show at Nick Stewart’s Ebony Showcase Theater in Los Angeles. In 1999, Roquemore produced the Off Broadway comedy “Lotto, Experience the Dream,” which ran for 1½ years at the Union Square Theater in New York City. He is survived by wife Jennifer, two sons, two daughters, his mother, five sisters, two brothers and five grandchildren.
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