Babatunde, Obba 1951–

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Babatunde, Obba 1951–


Some sources cite original name as Donald Cohen; born December, 1951, in Jamaica, Queens, New York, NY; brother of Akin Babatunde (an actor); married; children: two sons. Education: Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, graduated.

Addresses: Agent—Stone Manners Talent and Literary Agency, 6500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Los Angeles, CA 90048.

Career: Actor, voice performer, director, and producer. Metropolitan Brass Ensemble, trumpeter on a tour of the West Indies; Negro Ensemble Theatre, performed as actor; International African American Ballet, founder; singer in nightclubs and other venues, including the Latin Quarter, 1987 and at Upstairs at Greenstreet; voice performer for commercials; also a choreographer and dancer. Harriet Tubman School, teacher and administrator, 1974–76; also a consultant on West African folklore and lecturer. Bill Picket All Black Rodeo, performer. Volunteer with children's and animal rights organizations.

Awards, Honors: Antoinette Perry Award nomination, best actor in a featured role in a musical, 1982, for Dreamgirls; Carbonell Award nominations, best actor in a musical, 1989, for Golden Boy, and 1990, for The Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd; Dramalogue Award and Image Award, best supporting actor in a stage musical, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, both 1991, for Blues in the Night; Barrymore Award nomination, outstanding leading actor in a musical, Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, 1995, for Jelly's Last Jam; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or a special, and Annual CableACE Award nomination, best supporting actor in a movie or miniseries, National Cable Television Association, both 1997, for Miss Evers' Boys; Image Award nomination, outstanding actor in a television movie, miniseries, or dramatic special, and Black Reel Award nomination, best supporting actor, network or cable television category, Foundation for the Advancement of African Americans in Film, both 2000, for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge; Black Reel Award nomination, best supporting actor, theatrical category, 2002, for The Visit; AUDELCO Recognition Award, Audience Development Committee.


Film Appearances:

Short Eyes (also known as Slammer), Film League, 1977.

The face of justice, Married to the Mob, Orion, 1988.

Blink Willie, Miami Blues, Orion, 1990.

Syd, Dead Again, Paramount, 1991.

Television anchor, The Silence of the Lambs, Orion, 1991.

Lane, The Importance of Being Earnest, Eclectic Concepts/Paco Global, 1992.

Jerome Green, Philadelphia (also known as People Like Us), TriStar, 1993.

Lieutenant Theodore "Ted" Sawyer, Undercover Blues (also known as Cloak and Diaper), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1993.

Barfly, Conversations, 1994.

Paul, "Whispers," H. P. Lovecraft's "Necronomicon" (also known as H. P. Lovecraft's "Necronomicon, Book of the Dead" and Necronomicon: Book of the Dead), Turner Home Entertainment, 1994.

Interpreter, Born to Be Wild (also known as Katie), Warner Bros., 1995.

Professor Thurman, A Reason to Believe, Castle Hill Productions, 1995.

Jeffery, Carpool, Warner Bros., 1996.

Lamarr, That Thing You Do!, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1996.

Paul, Multiplicity, Columbia, 1996.

Trinidad, Fatal Pursuit, New City Releasing, 1998.

Willie Long, Life, Universal, 1999.

Tony Waters, The Visit, Shoreline Entertainment/Urbanworld Films, 2000.

Dean Carl Cain, How High, Universal, 2001.

Sergeant Moody, John Q (also known as John Q.), New Line Cinema, 2002.

Voice of Boko, The Wild Thornberrys Movie (animated), Paramount, 2002.

Dr. Howard Perkins, MVP, Extra Film Productions MVP, 2003.

Band leader, The Notebook, New Line Cinema, 2004.

Senator Wells, The Manchurian Candidate, Paramount, 2004.

Voice of Chief Ankamuti, Kangaroo Jack: G'Day U.S.A.! (animated), Warner Home Video, 2004.

Zacharias, After the Sunset, New Line Cinema, 2004.

Craig, Material Girls, Arclight Films, 2006.

Miguel, The Celestine Prophecy, Celestine Films Holding Company, 2006.

Professor Morrison, The Black Man's Guide to Understanding Black Women, Urban Entertainment Group, 2006.

Television Appearances; Series:

Rusty Bennett, All My Children (also known as All My Children: The Summer of Seduction), ABC, 1987.

Xyber 9: New Dawn (animated), Fox, 1999.

Principal Howard Green, Dawson's Creek, The WB, 1999–2000.

Charles Thorne, Half & Half, UPN, beginning 2002.

Uncle Clay, One Life to Live, ABC, 2005.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Berry Gordy, The Temptations, NBC, 1998.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Cornell, M.A.N.T.I.S., Fox, 1994.

Cum Posey, Soul of the Game (also known as Baseball in Black and White and Field of Honour), HBO, 1996.

Isom Dart, The Cherokee Kid, HBO, 1996.

Willie Johnson (a dancer), Miss Evers' Boys, HBO, 1997.

Chett, The Apartment Complex, Showtime, 1999.

Harold Nicholas, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, HBO, 1999.

Ed, One Special Moment, Black Entertainment Television, 2001.

Charles Henderson, Redeemer, USA Network, 2002.

Reverend Jesse, The Great Commission, Showtime, 2003.

Voice of Conroy, Rocket Power: Reggie's Big (Beach) Break (animated), Nickelodeon, 2003.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Dancer, Baryshnikov on Broadway (also known as IBM Presents: Baryshnikov on Broadway), ABC, 1980.

Zodzetric, "Treemonisha" (opera), America's Musical Theatre, PBS, 1986.

Raymond, "God Bless the Child" (also known as "Children of Poverty"), ABC Theatre, ABC, 1988.

The Human Factor, CBS, 1992.

The Art of the Spirit with Avery Brooks, TBS, 1996.

Host, Dorothy Dandridge: An American Beauty, 2003.

Behind the Scenes: The Great Commission, Showtime, 2003.

Soul Decisions, Showtime, 2004.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 19th Annual CableACE Awards, TNT, 1997.

Presenter, Ninth Annual Prism Awards, FX Channel, 2005.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Backstage man, "The Magician," Matlock, NBC, 1988.

Frank Benning, "Soldier Boy," A Different World, NBC, 1990.

Ben, "Crash and Born," Sisters, NBC, 1992.

"Maniac at Large," Tales from the Crypt (also known as HBO's "Tales from the Crypt"), HBO, 1992.

Jameson Walker (some sources cite Parker), "Trading Places," Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, ABC, 1993.

Mongoose, "A.K.A. Kansas," The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (also known as Brisco County, Jr.), Fox, 1993.

Carter Evans, "Fallen Angela," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1994.

Charles, "The Rich Guy," Getting By, NBC, 1994.

Gordy Berry, "The Client," The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, NBC, 1994.

Gordy Berry, "What's Will Got to Do with It?," The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, NBC, 1994.

"Identity Crisis," Thunder in Paradise, syndicated, 1994.

Cezanne Brown, "Summer of Love," Sliders, Fox, 1995.

Charles Ellis, "Freeze Outs," Chicago Hope, CBS, 1995.

Charles Ellis, "Full Moon," Chicago Hope, CBS, 1995.

The director, "The One with All the Jealousy," Friends (also known as Across the Hall, Friends Like Us, Insomnia Cafe, and Six of One), NBC, 1997.

Lieutenant Tony Mays, "The Last Endless Summer," The Burning Zone, UPN, 1997.

Lieutenant Wardell, "Lorne and Max Drop the Ball," Spy Game (also known as Cloak and Dagger and Lorne and Max), ABC, 1997.

Mr. Kirby, "A Day in the Life II," Sparks (also known as Sparks, Sparks, and Sparks), UPN, 1997.

Army veteran, "Dog Day Afternoon," Linc's, Showtime, 1999.

Allardyce, "The Value of Secrets," The Invisible Man (also known as I-Man), Sci-Fi Channel, 2000.

Dr. Joseph Lennox, "The Beholder," The Outer Limits (also known as The New Outer Limits), Showtime, Sci-Fi Channel, and syndicated, 2000.

Benjamin Chadway, "A Clear and Present Stranger," Soul Food, Showtime, 2001.

Judge Richards, "It's Not Just a Word: Parts 1 & 2," Any Day Now, Lifetime, 2001.

Mr. Lowry, "The Price," The Beast, ABC, 2001.

Phillip Hamilton, "Planting Seeds," Family Law, CBS, 2001.

Benjamin Chadway, "Lovers and Other Strangers," Soul Food, Showtime, 2002.

Kevin Dupree, "Maya Con Dios," NYPD Blue, ABC, 2002.

Mr. Singer, "The Philadelphia Chromosome," Strong Medicine, Lifetime, 2002.

Voice of singer, "Brother-Sister Act," Static Shock (animated), The WB, 2002.

Daniel Burden, "Dumb Bunnies," Karen Sisco, ABC, 2003.

Daniel Burden, "The One That Got Away," Karen Sisco, ABC, 2003.

Voice of scientist, "Trouble Squared," Static Shock (animated), The WB, 2003.

Daniel Burden, "Dog Day Sisco," Karen Sisco, USA Network, 2004.

Jason, "Giving Up the Girl," Everwood, The WB, 2005.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Terrence G. Quimby, "Fort Figueroa," CBS Summer Playhouse, CBS, 1988.

Alfonso "Al" Taylor, Heart and Soul (also known as It Will Stand), ABC, 1989.

Tanner, Tom, CBS, 1994.

Ben, Under One Roof, CBS, 1995.

Brian Parish, The Tomorrow Man, CBS, 1995.

Charles Thorne, "The Big Pilot Episode," Half & Half, UPN, 2002.

Stage Appearances:

The Secret Place, off-Broadway production, 1970.

The chabaka (stiltwalker), the orange merchant, an antelope, and a citizen of Timbuktu, Timbuktu! (musical), Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York City, 1978.

Sing Happy! (tribute concert), Lincoln Center, Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, 1978.

Liza Minnelli in Concert (concert), Carnegie Hall, New York City, 1979.

Dancer, Baryshnikov on Broadway, Broadway production, 1980.

Rockets and understudy for Esau, Reggae: A Musical Revelation (musical; also known as Reggae), Biltmore Theatre, New York City, 1980.

Sharky, It's So Nice to Be Civilized (musical), Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, 1980.

C. C. White, Dreamgirls (musical), Imperial Theatre, New York City, 1981–85.

Golden Boy (musical), off-Broadway production, beginning c. 1984, also produced elsewhere, including the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Miami, FL, 1989.

Leroy, Grind (musical), Mark Hellinger Theatre, 1985.

Hamlet Hitchcock "Little Ham" Jones (title role), Little Ham (musical), Westport Country Playhouse, Westport, CT, beginning 1987, some sources cite an off-Broadway production.

The Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd (musical), Coconut Grove Playhouse, 1989.

Saloon singer, Blues in the Night (musical), Los Angeles Theatre Center, Los Angeles, 1990–91.

Jelly Roll Morton, Jelly's Last Jam (musical), Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Music Center, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, 1990–91, also produced elsewhere, including the American Music Theater Festival, Philadelphia, PA, c. 1995.

Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre's 35th Anniversary Celebration and Dinner (also known as Catch the Spirit of Black Theatre), Town Hall, New York City, 2005.

Appeared in the solo show Obba in Concert; appeared as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (the title role) in King, Prince Edward Theatre, London; also appeared off-Broadway in The Breakout, Dream on Monkey Mountain, On Toby Time, Scottsboro Boys, Sheba, and Showdown Time.

Major Tours; Musicals:

Guys and Dolls, 1976.

Curtis Taylor, Jr., Dreamgirls, U.S. cities, between 1985 and 1987.

Billy Flynn, Chicago, U.S. cities, 1998.

Billy Flynn, Chicago, Japanese cities, 2005.

Appeared in other tours, including an international tour with Liza Minnelli, 1978. Some sources cite a tour of Obba in Concert.

Stage Director:

Director of one-act plays.



Himself, Before, during, and "After the Sunset," New Line Home Video, 2005.

Video Work:

Director, Dorothy Dandridge: Singing at Her Best, Koch Vision, 2003.

Director and producer, Oscar's Black Odyssey: From Hattie to Halle, Koch Vision, 2003.

Producer, TV in Black: The First Fifty Years, Koch Vision, 2004.

Soundtrack Albums:

Dreamgirls 1982 original Broadway cast recording), Decca, c. 1990.


"Throw Down," c. 1985.

Performer of songs that have appeared in films.

Video Games:

Voice of Lando Calrissian, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, LucasArts Entertainment, 2001.

Voice of Lando Calrissian, Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II (also known as Rogue Leader and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II), LucasArts Entertainment, 2001.

Voice of Lando Calrissian, Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, LucasArts Entertainment, 2003.


Writings for the Stage:

Author of the solo show Obba in Concert. Also the author of one-act plays and poems.

Writings for Videos:

Oscar's Black Odyssey: From Hattie to Halle, Koch Vision, 2003.



Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 35, Gale, 2002.