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Actor Roger E. Mosley (1938-2022)


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The veteran actor Roger E. Mosley (his middle name was Earl) has died at the age of 83.

The regular cast member of the original CBS detective series "Magnum, P.I." (1980-1988) had been seriously injured in a Thursday auto accident in Lynwood, California, which resulted in paralysis from the shoulders down.

His daughter Ch-a told The Hollywood Reporter that Mosley died Sunday from his injuries at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

"We could never mourn such an amazing man," she wrote on Facebook. "He would HATE any crying done in his name. It is time to celebrate the legacy he left for us all."

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In 1973, Mosley was one of the stars of the popular blaxploitation-era film "The Mack." The crime-drama starred the late Max Julien as John "Goldie" Mickens --an ex-con who became a prosperous and powerful pimp in Oakland, California. Rising star Richard Pryor co-starred as his partner Slim. Mosley played Olinga Mickens, Goldie's Black nationalist brother and conscience. Directed by Michael Campus, the film also starred Juanita Moore, Carol Speed, Dick Anthony Williams and Don Gordon. The picture became an immediate hit with Black audiences -- and it continues to resonate. Recording artists Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Ludacris -- among others -- sampled dialogue from the film in their songs. It also is a favorite movie of the director Quentin Tarantino, who referenced it in his 1993 drama “True Romance.” 

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The 1974 John Wayne police action film "McQ" featured Mosley as an informer who provided tips for a maverick Seattle cop turned private detective (the title character played by Wayne). Directed by John Sturges, the film also starred Eddie Albert, Diana Muldaur, Colleen Dewhurst and Clu Gulager (who died two days before Mosley).

Ripper car movies: McQ (1974)

Gordon Parks Sr.'s 1976 biopic "Leadbelly" starred Mosley as the Louisiana-born Huddie Ledbetter (1888–1949), a convicted murderer turned influential folk and blues musician. In a memorable scene set at the Texas State Penitentiary, Ledbetter performed before Gov. Pat Neff (portrayed by John Henry Faulk) and hoped he'd be granted a pardon. "The movie is one of the best biographies of a musician I've ever seen," wrote the late Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert, "and one of the most direct. It doesn't fool around with the bargain basement Freudianism of most musical biographies, and Leadbelly's music is seen as rising naturally out of his life and experiences."

In the 1977 screen biography "The Greatest," Muhammad Ali played himself opposite Mosley as Sonny Liston -- the brutish and enigmatic reigning heavyweight boxing champion from 1962 to 1964. Directed by Tom Gries ("Breakheart Pass," "Will Penny"), the film focused on the peaks and valleys of Ali's boxing career as well as his conversion to Islam as a Black Muslim and his 1967 refusal to be inducted into the U.S. Army on religious grounds. The drama also featured Ernest Borgnine as trainer Angelo Dundee, John Marley as "Fight Doctor" Ferdie Pacheco, James Earl Jones as Malcolm X and Lloyd Haynes as manager Jabir Herbert Muhammad.

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Mosley appeared as helicopter pilot Thomas "T.C." Calvin in all but four of the 162 episodes of "Magnum, P.I.," which starred Tom Selleck as the title character. Magnum, T.C. and their friend Rick (Larry Mannetti) were Vietnam War buddies transplanted to Hawaii. Magnum was a private investigator who also provided security for a wealthy author's beachfront property on Oahu's north shore. T.C. owned a helicopter charter service called Island Hoppers. His business was supposed to be a struggling one, but Mosley balked at the idea. "‘I refused to be the only black person in Hawaii and be broke and they reversed," he explained. "Tom would be broke and I would be financially well off - except I was always bailing him out."

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In 2019 and 2021, Mosley made guest appearances on CBS' rebooted version of "Magnum, P.I." as a barber and Vietnam War vet named John Booky. He is pictured below with series regular Stephen Hill -- the new T.C.

Magnum P.I.: An Original Series Actor Guest Stars Tonight | KSiteTV

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