Charles Brown
BornJanuary 15, 1946
United States
DiedJanuary 8, 2004(2004-01-08) (aged 57)

Charles Brown (January 15, 1946 – January 8, 2004)[1] was an American actor and a member of New York City, New York theater troupe the Negro Ensemble Company. He was best known for his performances in Off-Broadway and Broadway plays by Samm-Art Williams and August Wilson.


Charles Brown was born in Talladega, Alabama, and raised in Cleveland, Ohio,[2][3] the son of Mack Brown Sr. His siblings included brothers Mack Jr. and Ramon and sister Shirley.[2] After serving in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, Brown studied theater at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. He performed with that city's D.C. Black Repertory Company, and elsewhere.[2]

Brown became a regular member of the Negro Ensemble Company, where his roles included Southern farmer Cephus Miles in Samm-Art Williams' Home (1979) and military investigator Captain Richard Davenport in 1944 Louisiana in Charles Fuller's A Soldier's Story (1981).[4] Home moved to Broadway in 1980, earning Brown a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Play. In 2001 he received his second, for Best Featured Actor in a Play, for his role as the gambler and con man Elmore in August Wilson's King Hedley II. That part won him a 2001 Drama Desk Award.

Other stage work includes roles in Neil Simon's Rumors (1988); John Guare's A Few Stout Individuals (2002); Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's The Exonerated; Don Evans' Showdown; Leslie Lee's First Breeze of Summer (1975); Richard Wesley's The Mighty Gents (1978); Steve Carter's Nevis Mountain Dew; and Wilson's Fences (1987), in which he portrayed the older son of a character played by James Earl Jones. Television credits included the New York City-shot series Kojak, The Cosby Show, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and The Equalizer.[5] In the 1983 TV series Kennedy, he portrayed the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Brown was married to Renee Lescook.[2] He died of prostate cancer in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lived.[2][3]

Partial filmography


  1. ^ "Charles Brown (SSN 285-42-0579)". United States Social Security Death Index. Retrieved September 23, 2017 – via
  2. ^ a b c d e Gussow, Mel (January 31, 2004). "Charles Brown, 57, Known For Versatility of Stage Roles". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Christenfeld, Seth (January 26, 2004). "Tony Nominee Charles Brown Dies at 57". Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2007.
  4. ^ Rich, Frank (November 27, 1981). "Stage: Negro Ensemble Presents 'Soldier's Play'". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth (January 27, 2004). "Charles Brown, Tony Nominee for King Hedley II, Dead at 57". Playbill. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2007.