Percy Rodrigues, who lent his booming voice to the “Jaws” promo campaign and appeared on TV shows including “Peyton Place,” died of kidney problems Sept. 6 in Indio, Calif. He was 89.
Rodrigues broke black actor stereotypes by playing characters of authority such as judges, police chiefs, doctors and lawyers. When he was cast as a doctor in “Peyton Place” in 1968, a headline in the Los Angeles Times said: “A Doctor’s Role for Negro Actor.” His ominous narration was heard in the promotional campaign for “Jaws” in 1975 and in many other trailers.
He appeared on “Star Trek” as Commodore Stone and appeared in mini-series “Roots: The Next Generation.”
He also had recurring roles on the “Sanford and Son” spin-off, “Sanford,” and the “Soap” spin-off, “Benson.” He made guest appearances on shows including “Wild, Wild West,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “The Fugitive,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Then Came Bronson,” “Ironside,” “The Jeffersons” and “The Fall Guy.”
Rodrigues had supporting roles in films including “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,” “Come Back, Charleston Blue,” “Rhinoceros,” “Invisible Strangler,” and “BrainWaves.”
Born in Montreal, he worked as a boxer and machinist and joined the Negro Theater Guild, eventually turning to acting full time. On Broadway, he appeared in Tony-nominated plays “Toys in the Attic” in 1960 and “Blues for Mister Charlie” in 1964.
He recently came out of retirement to record the voiceover for the trailer for upcoming docu “The Shark is Still Working” on the cultural impact of “Jaws.”
He is survived by his wife Karen, a daughter, a son, four grandchildren and two great-granchildren.