Robert Townsend is acknowledged as one of today's most multi-faceted
and innovative talents. A complete visionary, actor, producer, writer,
director and comedian, he exercises his innate sense for comedy
and storytelling to create timeless bodies of work.
Proud of his humble beginnings as an extra in such films as "Cooley
High," Robert Townsend utilized this experience to learn and hone his
filmmaking skills. Norman Jewison's "A Soldier's Story" provided his first
motion picture acting credit. Acting chores in "The Mighty Quinn" and
directing Eddie Murphy's "Raw" concert film soon followed.
In 1987, Townsend wrote, directed and starred in "The Hollywood Shuffle,"
largely financed by credit cards. The semi-autobiographical lampoon of
the struggles of African-Americans in the industry received critical and
audience acclaim, firmly establishing him as a ground-breaking
In 1991, he again performed writing, directing, and acting
duties on the critically acclaimed American Classic, "The Five
Heartbeats." This tale of the rise and fall of an African-American
singing group during rock 'n' roll's adolescence also spawned a highly
successful soundtrack album and 20-city nationwide tour with The Dells.
The versatile filmmaker created the first-ever inner-city fairy tale
in MGM's 1993 release, "The Meteor Man." The star, writer, and director
brought together an all-star cast, including veterans: James Earl Jones,
Bill Cosby, Marla Gibbs, and Robert Guillaume, for this very special
Robert Townsend spent his hiatus in 1996 directing the New Line release, "B.A.P.S,"
starring Academy Award winners Halle Berry and Martin Landau. Released
in Spring '97, the romantic comedy chronicles two girls from a small
town outside of Atlanta who take over Beverly Hills. His 1997 hiatus was
spent acting in two independent films.
On the small screen, Robert Townsend received two Cable Ace Awards and
multiple N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards for his popular HBO comedy specials,
"Robert Townsend and his Partners In Crime." His innovative variety show
series, "Townsend Television," broke traditional network television
ground, bringing together a rich array of singers, actors, and comedians
for ten very unique hours of television for the Fox network.
Always willing to venture into new territory,
Robert Townsend created "The
Parent 'Hood," which parallels his own life at home, being married with
children. "The Parent 'Hood" won
numerous awards and is an audience favorite on the WB network. Serving
triple duty as Creator, Executive Producer and Actor, the popular family
sitcom starred Townsend as a Communications professor and well-intentioned
father, who together with his lawyer wife, creatively rear four children
in the 90's.
As a workshop, "The Five Heartbeats - The Musical" played
locally to sold out audiences in Los Angeles.
Robert Townsend grew up on Chicago's tough West side where, at age 16, he
auditioned for a small role with The Experimental Black Actors Guild. He
became the group's youngest member, and later studied with the
Chicago-based Second City comedy troupe. While attending college in New
Jersey, he commuted to New York to study acting with Stella Adler and
The Negro Ensemble Company.
He continues to create new avenues for talent earning acclaim
as a quality storyteller who provides entertainment while sending a
positive, albeit, subtle, message. A highly sought-after speaker,
Robert Townsend shares his motivational message of self empowerment in a
challenging industry with national and local organizations, as well as
college campuses nationwide from NYU to USC. With a solid foundation
built on integrity, Robert Townsend continues to explore new ground with
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Born: ..in Illinois / born
..in Chicago / born ChicagoIL
Feb 6, 1957
Based: ..in California / based nCalifornia
..in Los Angeles /