Throughout his 50-year career, Robinson appeared in movies such as “Secret Santa,” “The River,” “Set It Off,” “Antwone Fisher,” “Jackson,” “Even Money” and “Miss Lettie and Me,” and TV series including “Buffalo Bill,” “Home Improvement,” “Mom,” “Hart of Dixie,” “NCIS” and “The Guestbook.”
Born in Houston, Robinson began his career as a theater actor and singer for R&B groups Archie Bell and the Drells and Southern Clouds of Joy. In the late 1960s, Charlie attended Chris Wilson’s acting school, Studio 7, at the Houston Music Theatre. He soon moved to Hollywood and began acting for the screen.
In the 1970s, Robinson acted in films such as “Sugar Hill,” “The Black Gestapo,” “Caribe,” “A Killing Affair” and “The White Shadow.” In his later career, he appeared in “Beowulf,” “Malevolence,” “Land of the Free” and “Mercy Street.” He directed three episodes of “Night Court” and one episode of “Love & War.”
Robinson won awards for his theatrical work, including the Image Theatre Award and FRED Award for portraying Simon in “The Whipping Man” and Best Actor Ovation Award for playing Troy in “Fences.” His last performance was as 82-year-old Donald Jones in James Tyler’s “Some Old Black Man.”
Among the actors who paid tribute to Robinson was “The Wire” star Wendell Pierce, who spent time with Robinson in recent months. “We created a lifetime of friendship” after 27 days of quarantine together, Pierce wrote on Twitter.
We had a mission to find a way to create our art while the world was shut down. By chance, we created a friendship in 27 days that only happens with a shared vision. In that short time he became mentor to me as I questioned if my best days had passed. By example he showed hope.
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) July 13, 2021
Throughout his career, he guest starred in television shows including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Key and Peele,” “This Is Us,” “Malcolm & Eddie” and “In The House.”
Robinson is survived by his wife Dolorita; his children Luca, Charlie, Christian and Byron; and his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, daughters-in-law and dog Nala.