Charlie Robinson, Actor Best Known for ‘Night Court,’ Dies at 75

Mr. Robinson became a fan favorite as Mac, a levelheaded clerk surrounded by oddballs, on the long-running NBC courtroom comedy.

By Isabella Grullón Paz

Charlie Robinson, the veteran actor whose best-known role was Mac, the good-natured and pragmatic court clerk, on the long-running NBC sitcom “Night Court,” died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 75.

His family confirmed the death, at the Ronald Reagan U.C.L.A. Medical Center, in a statement. The family said that the cause was a heart attack and organ failure brought on by septic shock, and that Mr. Robinson also had adenocarcinoma, a cancer of the glandular cells.

Mr. Robinson’s acting career spanned six decades and included roles in television and film and onstage. His first credited onscreen appearance was in Jack Nicholson’s directorial debut, “Drive, He Said,” in 1971.

In 1984, he was cast in the role for which TV viewers would come to know him best: Macintosh Robinson, better known as Mac, on “Night Court,” then in its second season.

“Night Court,” which aired on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m., after “Cheers,” was set in a Manhattan courtroom that played host to a parade of oddballs and misfits in the dead of night. It was built around Harry Anderson as Harry Stone, a quirky, kindhearted judge, but it was really an ensemble show.

John Larroquette became the breakout star as Dan Fielding, a bawdy, lascivious prosecutor, but Mr. Robinson became a fan favorite as Mac, a levelheaded Vietnam veteran turned court clerk who favored cardigan sweaters, plaid shirts and knit neckties. He played the role for the rest of the show’s nine-season run and directed three episodes.

Mr. Robinson was born in Houston on Nov. 9, 1945. He served in the Army and briefly attended the University of Houston before leaving to pursue an acting career.

He attended the Studio 7 workshop at the Houston Music Theater in the late 1960s and also trained at the Alley Repertory Theater there before moving to Los Angeles, where his family said he studied at the Actors Studio, the Mark Tapper Forum and the Inner City Cultural Center.

In addition to “Night Court,” Mr. Robinson was seen on numerous TV shows, including “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Key and Peele,” “This Is Us,” “Malcolm & Eddie,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “NCIS.” Before joining the cast of “Night Court” he was a regular on “Buffalo Bill,” the Dabney Coleman sitcom that lasted only two seasons but developed a cult following. His film credits include “The Black Gestapo,” “Gray Lady Down” and “The House Bunny.”

Mr. Robinson won the 2006 Ovation Award for best actor in a play for his performance as Troy Maxson in a production of August Wilson’s “Fences” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

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