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Comedian-Actor Robin Harris Dies

March 19, 1990 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) _ Robin Harris, a comedian and actor who appeared in the movies ″Do the Right Thing,″ ″Harlem Nights″ and ″House Party,″ was found dead in a hotel room Sunday, officials said. He was 36.

Harris gave a comedy show Saturday night at the Regal Theater and apparently died in his sleep at the Four Seasons Hotel, said Ardenia Brown of Jam Productions Ltd., promoter of the show.

He was found by his mother, who accompanied him to Chicago, and was declared dead on arrival at 9:02 a.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said hospital administrator Shirley Jackson.


An autopsy was scheduled to determine the cause of death, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

A Chicago native, Harris moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was 8. He performed at black nightclubs in the Los Angeles area after graduating from Ottawa University in Kansas.

Harris played the role of Sweet Dick Willie, a middle-aged black man who hung out on a street corner in Spike Lee’s 1989 film, ″Do the Right Thing.″

″I couldn’t write that character as funny as Robin could,″ Lee said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times last summer. ″He has a sophisticated country wit. He was born in Chicago and raised in L.A. but he reaches way back to Mississippi.″

Harris had recently filmed an HBO comedy special at Chicago’s Vic Theater and also appears in Lee’s upcoming film, ″Love Supreme,″ Brown said.