Roscoe Lee Browne - a poet; formerly an international track champion (twice U.S. Indoor 1000 Yard Champion, in 1951 best 800 meters in the world, twice All-American, winner at the Milrose Games and at all major meets in Madison Square Garden, won 800 meters Cups In Paris, Berlin, Oslo, Stockholm, Bologna, Dublin, Belfast and in other cities in Europe, Canada and in the West Indies); an OBIE and Emmy Award winner, a Tony nominee and narrator of two Oscar nominated films and the recipient of three NAACP Image Awards for Best Actor, launched his theater career with the inaugural season of the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. Since then, off and on Broadway and in theater festivals throughout the United State and Europe, he appeared in plays by a wide range of authors, from Shakespeare, Shaw, Genet, Brecht, Giraudoux, Kaufman, Lowell, Sartre and Albee, to such contemporary masters as Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson and MacArthur Award winner Lee Breuer (The Gospel at Colonus). Browne has appeared in four of Walcott’s works (Dream on Monkey Mountain, Panto, Remembrance and The Odyssey). For his performance of Makak in Dream on Monkey Mountain, he received the Los Angeles Drama critics Circle Award for best actor. He has appeared in two of Wilson’s works, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Two Trains Running. For his portrayal of Bynum in Joe Turner, he once again earned the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award. For his Holloway in Trains, he earned his third L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, a Tony Nomination and the Helen Hayes medallion for distinguished work in the theater. 

Roscoe Lee Browne memorialized in recognition of outstanding artistic achievement by the House of Representatives (read more)

While with the Shakespeare Festival (where he spent seven seasons), Browne created and directed A Hand Is on the Gate, a chronicle and celebration of the African-American experience in poetry and song.  The actors for the evening were Gloria Foster, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Moses Gunn, Ellen Holly, Leon Bibb and Josephine Premice, as well as Browne himself.  The true stars of the evening, however, were all the unsung African-American poets.  The evening was hailed as a triumph and moved on to Broadway, garnering two Tony nominations and enduring acclaim.  Browne’s extensive work in television includes the role of Frederick Douglass in Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds, and guest appearances on Barney Miller (Emmy nomination), A Different World, Falcon Crest (Emmy nomination), The Cosby Show (Emmy Award), Law & Order, Seaquest DSV, Spider-Man (Emmy nomination), New York Undercover, the new Cosby, ER, The Shield, HBO’s Unchained Memories Readings from the Slave Narratives and Will & Grace.  Browne’s films include Wyler’s The Liberation of L.B. Jones (title role), Rydell’s The Cowboys (Western Heritage Award), Glenville’s The Comedians, Poitier’s Uptown Saturday Night, Hitchock’s Topaz, Schultz’s For Us The Living, Glimcher’s The Mambo Kings, Noonan’s Oscar-nominated Babe (narrator), Miller’s Babe, Pig in the City (narrator), and Scott’s Hamlet.  He is also the narrator of Heyerdahl’s Oscar-nominated documentary, The Ra Expeditions, the Discovery Channel’s Galapagos, Beyond Darwin and the recording of Star Wars.  As speaker in various symphonic works, he has appeared with the Boston Pops, the L.A. Philharmonic, and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and with the St. Louis, Pittsburgh and New Orleans symphonies. With Jeanne Noble, he created and directed Delta Sigma Theta’s fabled Roses and Revolutions. He toured annually for thirty years in Behind the Broken Words with Anthony Zerbe.