Obba Babatunde

Obba Babatunde

The 80s brought continued theater and TV work. After Babatunde appeared as a dancer in the ABC variety special "Baryshnikov on Broadway" (1980), he was cast C.C., as the composer-brother of Jennifer Holliday's Effie, in Michael Bennett's acclaimed "Dreamgirls," loosely inspired by Diana Ross and the Supremes. Babatunde was nominated for a Featured Actor Tony Award and found himself in demand. By the mid-80s, he was headlining in theater (a revival of "Golden Boy"), nightclubs and had landed a regular role on the ABC soap "All My Children."Moving to L.A. in the late 80s, Babatunde began to move into primetime with guest appearances on dramas ("China Beach") and sitcoms ("A Different World") and found small roles in features as well. He has appeared in three films directed by Jonathan Demme ("Married to the Mob" 1988; "The Silence of the Lambs" 1991; and "Philadelphia" 1993). Other credits include "Dead Again" (1991), an all-black version of "The Importance of Being Earnest" (1992, as the servant Lane), "That Thing You Do," "Life" (both 1996), "How High" (2001), "John Q" (2002), "After the Sunset" and "The Manchurian Candidate" (both 2004). The small screen has provided the actor with meaty roles, like his guest appearance as an AIDS patient on "Chicago Hope" in 1994 and, most notably, his Emmy-nominated performance as dancer Willie Johnson, one of the participants in the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, in the HBO original movie "Miss Evers' Boys" (1997). The actor also made a strong showing as Motown impressario Berry Gordy in the NBC telepic "The Temptations" (1998) and as dance man Harold Nicholas, one of the famed Nicholas Brothers and the husband of Dorothy Dandridge (Halle Berry) in the HBO biopic "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" (1999). He turned to series TV in a recurring roles on The WB's "Dawson's Creek" (as Principal Greene in the 1999-2000 seasons), Showtime's "Soul Food" (2000-2004), UPN's "Half & Half" (2002 -) and ABC's "Karen Sisco" (2002-2004). Despite leaving Broadway behind, Babatunde has not abandoned the theater completely. He has frequently appeared on stage in musicals in Southern California, including in the title role of the world premiere of "Jelly's Last Jam" in 1991. More recently, Babatunde co-starred with Jasmine Guy and Charlotte d'Amboise in the national tour of "Chicago" (1997-98).


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