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Robert Hooks

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Information about Robert Hooks

Profile image of Robert Hooks

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Producer
Actor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray, Green
Favorite Food:
Fruit, Vegetables, Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Laguna Beach, California
Favorite Quote:
What's Up?

Birthplace

Born:
4/18/1937
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Producer
Actor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray, Green
Favorite Food:
Fruit, Vegetables, Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Laguna Beach, California
Favorite Quote:
What's Up?

Birthplace

Born:
4/18/1937
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Robert Hooks is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Distinguished actor Robert Hooks was born Bobby Dean Hooks on April 18, 1937, in Washington, D.C. He was the youngest of five children. Hooks’ father died while working on a railroad track. His mother supported the family by working as a seamstress. Hooks attended Stevens Elementary School. He performed in his first play, The Pirates of Penzance, at the age of nine. After graduating from Francis Junior High School, Hooks attended Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C. His mother remarried and moved the family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Hooks attended his first integrated school at West Philadelphia High School. Hooks soon joined the drama club and began acting in plays by such authors as William Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett.

Hooks moved to New York City in 1959 to become an actor. That year, he debuted as Bobby Dean Hooks in a touring production of Raisin in the Sun. He made his Broadway debut in 1960 in Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright, and became well known for his role as Clay in LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka's Dutchman in 1964. With this play, Hooks became known as Robert Hooks. Also in 1964, Hooks formed the Group Theater Workshop, offering training in the arts to underprivileged youth. In 1967, Hooks founded The Negro Ensemble Company with Douglas Turner Ward and Gerald Krone. This important theater company has gone on to produce plays by Peter Weiss, Derek Walcott, Wole Soyinka, and many other playwrights.

His television career began in 1963 with the role of a police detective on the television series East Side/West Side. Hooks’ television career spans over forty years. Some of his other television series credits include The White Shadow, Trapper John M.D., WKRP in Cincinnati, Sister Sister, M.A.N.T.I.S., The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Family Matters, A Different World, Clueless, Diagnosis Murder, and Seinfeld. Hooks starred in several made-for-TV movies throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. His television movie credits include Carter's Army (1970), Two for the Money (1972), A Woman Called Moses (1978), Madame X (1981), Words by Heart (1985), Appearances (1990), and Abandoned and Deceived (1995).

Hooks passed down his passion for acting to his sons, Kevin Hooks and Eric Hooks. Kevin Hooks is also a film director, and cast his father in two of his films: Passenger 57 (1992) and Fled (1996). Hooks’ other film credits include Airport '77 (1977) and Posse (1993).

See how Robert Hooks is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robert Hooks' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks talks about his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about the street he was raised on, Newport Place, Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about his mother's work as a seamstress
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robert Hooks talks about being bit by a rat when he was seven years old
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robert Hooks talks about his experience at Stevens Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robert Hooks talks about acting in his first play, 'The Pirates of Penzance'
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Robert Hooks talks about being in his first play when he was nine years old
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about falling in love with the stage at nine years old
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks talks about what he did for fun as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks describes his junior and high school education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about going for a joy ride in a car
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks talks about getting into a fight while in a receiving home for juvenile delinquents for three days
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks talks about his stepfather and step-siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about his experience at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about having a crush on his drama teacher at West Philadelphia High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robert Hooks talks about his first child, Cecelia Ann
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robert Hooks talks about being shut out of his second daughter, Michelle's, life
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about his teachers at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks talks about enjoying jazz in high school and his high school classmate HistoryMaker McCoy Tyner
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks talks about studying at the Bessie V. Hicks School of Drama in Philadelphia from 1957 to 1958
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about seeing 'A Raisin in the Sun' for the first time
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks talks about his first night in New York City, staying in a YMCA and visiting Birdland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks talks about his first experiences in Harlem, New York in 1959
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about multiple jobs he had when he first moved to New York City in 1959
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about meeting Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X in 1960
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about auditioning for 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks talks about people he met while acting in 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks talks about his political activities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about his first wife Yvonne and his sons Kevin and Eric
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks tells the story of how HistoryMaker Douglas Turner Ward took over the role of Walter Lee Younger, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks tells the story of how HistoryMaker Douglas Turner Ward took over the role of Walter Lee Younger, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about Claudia McNeil
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about visiting black communities all across the country while on the road with 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Robert Hooks talks about getting a role in the play 'A Taste of Honey'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about 'Voices of Our People'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks talks about performing in front of his family and friends in Washington, D.C. in 'A Taste of Honey'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks talks about his first time singing on Broadway in 'A Taste of Honey'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about joining the cast of 'The Blacks'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks talks about the plot of 'The Blacks' and the playwright Jean Genet
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks describes the plot of 'Dutchman' by Amiri Baraka
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about fundraising to support civil rights efforts in the South
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about beginning to work with young people in his community, Chelsea, New York, and teaching them about theater
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Robert Hooks talks about the formation of the Group Theater Workshop
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Robert Hooks talks about HistoryMaker Douglas Turner Howard's plays 'Happy Ending' and 'Day of Absence'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about producing HistoryMaker Douglas Turner Ward's two plays, 'Happy Ending' and 'Day of Absence'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks acts out the plot of HistoryMaker Douglas Turner Ward's play 'Happy Ending'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks compares the work of HistoryMaker Douglas Turner Ward and Amiri Baraka
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about the formation of the Negro Ensemble Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks talks about the leadership of the Negro Ensemble Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks talks about the success of the Negro Ensemble Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about raising money for the Civil Rights Movement with his celebrity friends
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about his friendship with HistoryMaker Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robert Hooks talks about acting in his first movie 'Sweet Love Bitter' which debuted in 1967, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about acting in his first movie 'Sweet Love Bitter,' which debuted in 1967, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks talks about meeting Harold Curlman, one of the founders of Group Theatre
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks talks about getting a phone call from Otto Preminger to act in 'Hurry Sundown'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about being shot at while filming the movie 'Hurry Sundown' in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks talks about being kicked out of a restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana while filming 'Hurry Sundown'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks talks about having the N-word written on his door while filming 'Hurry Sundown' in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about the plays he acted in during the 1960s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about his admiration for Sidney Poitier
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Robert Hooks talks about the beginning of his television career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about being approached to star in the television series 'N.Y.P.D.'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks talks about meeting Whoopi Goldberg when she was young
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks talks about playing Henry the Fifth in the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1965
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about the Group Theater Workshop performing a showcase based on Gwendolyn Brooks' poem 'We Real Cool'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks talks about actress Ellen Holly
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks talks about director Joseph Papp
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about his busy schedule during the late 1960s
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about raising his son Kevin Hooks
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Robert Hooks talks about moving back to Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Robert Hooks talks about beginning a community theater company in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about the need for an African American theater company in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks talks about recruiting Vantile Whitfield as the artistic director for the D.C. Black Repertory Company
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks talks about the first play the D.C. Black Repertory Company performed and Lynn Whitfield
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about Ed Murphy, an important benefactor of the D.C. Black Repertory Company
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks talks about the type of audience the D.C. Black Repertory Company attracted
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks talks about leaving the D.C. Black Repertory Company and moving to California in 1977
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about the early career of his son Kevin Hooks
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about his son Kevin Hooks' success as a director
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about the current projects he is working on, 2006
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks talks about the reasons Hollywood only tells certain types of stories about the African American community, pt.1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks talks about the reasons Hollywood only tells certain types of stories about the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks reflects on the reasons it is a struggle to produce good films about the African American experience
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks talks about his experience struggling to convince influential African Americans in Hollywood to read his scripts
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Robert Hooks talks about the obstacles in Hollywood for independent African American filmmakers
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Robert Hooks talks about independent African American filmmakers finding alternative ways to complete their projects
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Robert Hooks talks about his idea for a cooperative African American production company
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Robert Hooks talks about African Americans in Hollywood not using their leverage to help other African Americans
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Robert Hooks talks about his tribute to playwright Lonne Elder III
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Robert Hooks talks about his favorite movies in which he has acted
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Robert Hooks talks about his favorite plays in which he has acted
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Robert Hooks talks about the highlights of his career
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Robert Hooks talks about how he would like to be remembered