Roger E. Mosley of 'Magnum, P.I.' Dies Following Car Crash
Actor Roger E. Mosley, who starred on all eight seasons of "Magnum, P.I." with Tom Selleck, died Sunday at 83.
The cause was injuries received in a car crash in Lynwood, California, on Thursday. Following the accident, THR reports Mosley had been transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A.
Born December 18, 1938, he was raised in Watts, California. A high school wrestler, he was studying acting under Raymond St. Jacques at the Mafundi Institute there when he challenged a visiting producer on the subject of sacrifice. Mosley's audacity led to a studio visit.
Mosley's first TV credit was a 1971 episode of "Cannon." He then appeared in the TV movie "The Living End" (1972) and began making the rounds via guest spots on shows including "Night Gallery" (1971 & 1972), "Sanford and Son" (1972), "The Streets of San Francisco" (1974), "Kung Fu" (1974), and "Kojak" (1974).
Mosley soared in "Leadbelly" (1976) as blues singer Huddie Ledbetter, played Sonny Liston in "The Greatest" (1977), and was known for his work in several Blaxploitation films, including "The Mack" (1973), "Sweet Jesus, Preacherman" (1973), and "Darktown Strutters" (1975).
Other feature credits include the John Wayne film "McQ" (1974), "The River Niger" (1976) with Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones, and the box-office smash "Semi-Tough" (1977) starring Burt Reynolds.
But it was his forgotten film "Terminal Island" (1973) that proved most important to Mosley's career — his co-star, Tom Selleck, was later signed to shoot a pilot called "Magnum, P.I.," and producers were looking for a man of color to play the character T.C. Selleck recommended Mosley, who never expected a series pickup.
He wound up shooting 158 episodes of the classic series, from 1980-1988.
Mosley took the representation his role offered seriously, fighting for T.C. to be well-off, well-read, and averse to partying. In a 1982 Ebony magazine interview, he explained his character didn't drug or drink because, "That's not what I want Black kids to see."
R.I.P. to actor Mr Roger E. Mosley, a wonderful actor. I grew up seeing Mr Mosley play tennis at Poinsettia Park in West Hollywood, CA. He was like family. I was honored to play his son Bryant on TV’s Magnum P.I. My prayers and condolences to Mr Mosley’s family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/GlucYxlMPq
After "Magnum," Mosley was a recurring or regular character on "You Take the Kids" (1990-1991) with Nell Carter, "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper" (1992-1993), "Rude Awakening" (1999-2000), and 2010's "FCU: Fact Checkers Unit."
He continued working on the silver screen as well, in "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate" (1996) and "Hammerlock" (2000), among others.
His final work was a two-episode arc on the new "Magnum P.I.," though he did not revive T.C., instead playing a new part.
Mosley is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Toni, his son Brandonn, his daugher Ch-a, one grandson, and many nieces and nephews.
On Facebook, his daughter memorialized him with: "Roger E. Mosley, my father, your friend, your 'coach Mosley' your 'TC' from Magnum P.I., passed away at 1:17am. He was surrounded by family as he transcended peacefully. We could never mourn such an amazing man. He would HATE any crying done in his name. It is time to celebrate the legacy he left for us all. I love you daddy. You loved me too. My heart is heavy but I am strong. I will care for mommy, your love of almost 60 years. You raised me well and she is in good hands. Rest easy."