Roxie Roker played the part of Helen Willis, Louise Jefferson's best friend and George's nemesis turned friend, in the episode "The Jeffersons Move Up", which also served as The Jeffersons series pilot.
|Birthname:||Roxie Albertha Roker|
|Born:||August 28, 1929|
|Birthplace:||Miami, Florida, U.S.|
|Died:||December 2, 1995(aged 66)|
|Deathplace:||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Actress, TV Personality, News Anchor|
|Spouse(s):||Sy Kravitz (1962–1985)|
|Series:||All in the Family|
|Character played:||Helen Willis|
Roxie Albertha Roker (August 28, 1929 – December 2, 1995) was an American actress, best known for her groundbreaking role as Helen Willis on the The Jeffersons, half of the first interracial couple to be shown on regular prime time television. She is the mother of musician Lenny Kravitz, the grandmother of actress Zoë Kravitz and the cousin of NBC's Today Show's Al Roker.
Life and career
Roker was born in Miami, FL. Her mother, Bessie (née Mitchell), was from Georgia and worked as a domestic, and her father, Albert Roker, was a native of The Bahamas and a porter.
Roxie, who grew up in Brooklyn, NY, graduated from Howard University, where she was a member of the drama club and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Roker began her professional career with the Negro Ensemble Company and became a successful stage actress. She won an Obie Award in 1974 and was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of Mattie Williams in The River Niger.
She was a reporter on WNEW-TV in New York in the 1970s and hosted a public affairs show for the station known as Bed-Stuy, dealing with events in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
She appeared in guest starring roles on many United States television programs from the 1970s through the 1990s, including "Stone in the River" starring Hal Miller for NBC's Punky Brewster, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, A Different World, Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat, 227, and Beat the Clock. She also had a small role in the television miniseries Roots and in the movie Claudine.
Roker was also a children’s advocate who was cited by the city of Los Angeles for her community work.
Roker was married to television producer Sy Kravitz from 1962 to 1985, and had a son, Lenny Kravitz.
Roxie died in Los Angeles, California on December 2, 1995 of breast cancer at the age of 66.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Roxie Roker, 66, Who Broke Barrier In Her Marriage on TV's 'Jeffersons'", December 6, 1995. Retrieved on July 3, 2010.
- ↑ Robbins, Fred, "Roxie Roker: Her Life is Not Just the Hollywood Life", The Modesto Bee, Wednesday, December 26, 1984
- ↑ Santoski, Teresa. "Death anniversary of groundbreaking Bahamian American actress Roxie Roker", December 2, 2009. Retrieved on July 3, 2010.