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Actress Esther Rolle Injured in Fatal Car Accident

August 13, 1990

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Actress Esther Rolle, who played the mother in the 1970s hit television series ″Good Times,″ was seriously injured in a single-car accident that killed a Texas woman, authorities said.

Miss Rolle, 69, was in serious but stable condition today following the Sunday afternoon accident, said Kathleen Brown, a nursing supervisor at University Medical Center. She declined to provide specifics about the actress’ injuries.

The character for which Miss Rolle is best known, Florida Evans, started on the situation comedy ″Maude″ and later became the focus of the spinoff ″Good Times.″ In ″Maude,″ Florida Evans was a sassy maid; in ″Good Times,″ the role focused more on how she was the strong-willed matriarch of her family.

Just last year, she became the first woman to receive the NAACP Chairman’s Civil Rights Leadership Award, which honored her work in helping raise the image of blacks through her stage, television and movie work.

More recently, she appeared as the housekeeper Idella in the Academy Award- winning film ″Driving Miss Daisy.″

She was a passenger in a northbound car that rolled over on Interstate 15 near the California border, Nevada Highway Patrol troopers said.

The driver was identified by the Clark County coroner’s office as Paulene Hopkins, 70, of Marshall, Texas. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The car drifted off the left side of the roadway about six miles north of the California border, overcorrected and overturned into the median, according to Nevada Highway Patrol spokeswoman Mary Coyne.

Two other car passengers, Martha Jordan, 63, of Las Vegas, and Mary Collins, 63, of Los Angeles, both received minor injuries.

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