Actor Graham Brown dies at 87

Appeared onstage, on TV, in films

Actor Graham Brown, who performed with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater (of which he was a founding member), the New York Shakespeare Festival, London’s newly reconstructed Globe Theater and most notably the Negro Ensemble Company, died of pulmonary failure on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Fund Nursing Home in Englewood, N.J. He was 87 and had been a resident of the Booth since 2009.

Onstage, one of Brown’s most memorable roles was Jared Philibert, the patriarch of a Caribbean family encased entirely in an iron lung, with only his head visible, in Steve Carter’s play “Nevis Mountain Dew.” He originated the role at the NEC and reprised it in the West Coast premiere, receiving a Los Angeles Critics’ Circle Award for best actor.

On television he played a judge and a minister on “Law and Order,” recurred on “Days of Our Lives” and played a school principal on “Sanford and Son.” He also guested on “Ironside,” “Lou Grant” and “Cagney and Lacey.”

Brown’s bigscreen credits included Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” and “Clockers” as well as “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” in which he played Mr. Wrightson, the irritable department store manager.

His distinctive voice could be heard in many voiceovers and commercials.

Robert E. Brown was born in New York City and was a boxer for a time.

He is survived by a daughter, a grandson and a sister.

More Scene

  • HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 23: Actor

    Diego Luna, Mishel Prada Speak Out Against Border Separations at Latino Media Awards

    Actor Graham Brown, who performed with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater (of which he was a founding member), the New York Shakespeare Festival, London’s newly reconstructed Globe Theater and most notably the Negro Ensemble Company, died of pulmonary failure on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Fund Nursing Home in Englewood, N.J. He was […]

  • LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 22:

    SZA Holds Nothing Back in Second Show Since Vocal Injury Scare

    Actor Graham Brown, who performed with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater (of which he was a founding member), the New York Shakespeare Festival, London’s newly reconstructed Globe Theater and most notably the Negro Ensemble Company, died of pulmonary failure on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Fund Nursing Home in Englewood, N.J. He was […]

  • 'SORRY TO BOTHER YOU'

    Why 'Sorry to Bother You' Director Boots Riley Thinks His Satirical Comedy Is 'Realistic'

    Actor Graham Brown, who performed with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater (of which he was a founding member), the New York Shakespeare Festival, London’s newly reconstructed Globe Theater and most notably the Negro Ensemble Company, died of pulmonary failure on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Fund Nursing Home in Englewood, N.J. He was […]

  • Tesse Restaurant Opens on L.A.'s Sunset

    Tesse Restaurant Takes on the Challenge of Making the Sunset Strip Hip Again

    Actor Graham Brown, who performed with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater (of which he was a founding member), the New York Shakespeare Festival, London’s newly reconstructed Globe Theater and most notably the Negro Ensemble Company, died of pulmonary failure on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Fund Nursing Home in Englewood, N.J. He was […]

  • Tiffany Haddish

    MTV Movie and TV Awards: The 10 Standout Moments

    Actor Graham Brown, who performed with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater (of which he was a founding member), the New York Shakespeare Festival, London’s newly reconstructed Globe Theater and most notably the Negro Ensemble Company, died of pulmonary failure on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Fund Nursing Home in Englewood, N.J. He was […]

  • Michael B. Jordan

    'Black Panther,' 'Stranger Things' Reign at 2018 MTV Movie and TV Awards (Full List)

    Actor Graham Brown, who performed with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater (of which he was a founding member), the New York Shakespeare Festival, London’s newly reconstructed Globe Theater and most notably the Negro Ensemble Company, died of pulmonary failure on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Fund Nursing Home in Englewood, N.J. He was […]

  • Brandon Flynn, Timothy Granaderos, Alisha Boe,

    Alisha Boe Says Brock Turner Case Was Her 'Bible' for '13 Reasons Why' Season 2

    Actor Graham Brown, who performed with Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater (of which he was a founding member), the New York Shakespeare Festival, London’s newly reconstructed Globe Theater and most notably the Negro Ensemble Company, died of pulmonary failure on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Fund Nursing Home in Englewood, N.J. He was […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content