In Memoriam

WHEREAS, It was with great sadness and a deep sense of loss that word was received of the passing of Roscoe Lee Browne on April 11, 2007, a distinguished Californian whose deeds in life merit the grateful acknowledgment of his community, state and nation: and

WHEREAS, Roscoe was born to a Baptist minister and his wife on May 2, 1925, in Woodbury, New Jersey, graduated from Lincoln University, an historically black university in Pennsylvania in 1946, earned his postgraduate degree at Middlebury College, and did subsequent graduate study at Columbia University, returning to Lincoln where he taught French and comparative literature; and

WHEREAS, Roscoe was also a star athlete, winning the world championship in the 800-yard dash in 1951, he later worked as sales representative for a wine and liquor importer, but at a dinner party in 1956 he announced a decision to become an actor, auditioned for and won a role in “Julius Caesar” the next day at the newly-formed New York Shakespeare Festival and found his life-long artistic passion, performing five more roles with that company; and

WHEREAS, In 1961 he appeared with James Earl Jones in the original off-Broadway cast of Jean Genet’s landmark play “The Blacks,” he won an Obie for his role in “The Old Glory,” received the Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Award for both “The Dream on Monkey Mountain” (1970) and “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” (1989), he wrote and directed “An Evening of Negro poetry and Folk Music (1966), returned to Broadway in Tommy Tune’s 1983 “Kicking the Clouds Away,” and earned a Tony nomination in August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running” (1992); and

WHEREAS, his 1962 debut in films was “the Connection”, he also appeared in “The Comedians” (1967), “Up Tight!” (1968) Hitchcock’s “Topaz” (1969), “The Liberation of L.B. Jones” (1970), “Superfly” (1972), “Uptown Saturday Night” (1974), “Logan’s Run” (1976), “Legal Eagles” (1986), “The Mambo Kings” (1992) and “Dear God” (1996); and

WHEREAS, Roscoe’s television career included memorable appearances on all the top 70’s sitcoms including “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times” and “Barney Miller” (Emmy nominated), he replaced Robert Guillaume on “Soap” (1977), in 1986 he won an Emmy guesting on “The Cosby Show,” and his resonant baritone was heard in documentaries, live-action fare, and animated films, as well as the spoken-word arena with such symphony orchestras as the Boston pops and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and for many years he and actor Anthony Zerbe toured the US in “Behind The Broken Words,” an evening of poetry and drama: now therefore, be it

RESOLVED, By U.S. Congresswoman Diane E. Watson, that the late Roscoe Lee Browne be Memorialized in recognition of outstanding artistic achievement as an actor and groundbreaking success as an African American performer, and that the House of Representatives of these United States be Noticed of the passing of a Citizen of exceptional Honor and Accomplishment.


Attested this twenty-second day of April in the year 2007  


Diane E. Watson

33rd Congressional District