Robert Hooks


Robert (Bobby Dean) Hooks


by Dale Ricardo Shields


Favorite Quote:

What’s Up
Favorite Color:
Gray, Green


Favorite Food:
Fruit, Vegetables, Fish 


Favorite Time of Year:
Favorite Vacation Spot:

Laguna Beach, California


Born: April 18, 1937 (age 78), Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C.

Spouse: Lorrie Marlow (m. 2008)


Kevin Hooks, Eric Hooks, Christopher Michael Carter, Cecilia Ann Hooks Onibudo, Kiyo Dean Tarpley Hooks, Robert (Rob) Hooks, Jr.

Parents: Edward Hooks, Bertha Hooks

Nominations: Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical



Robert Dean (Bobby) Hooks is an African-American actor of films, television, and stage. With a career as a producer, theatre builder, and political activist to his credit, he is most recognizable to the public for his over 100 roles in films and television. 



Slide Presentation by Dale Ricardo Shields


DCN Presents: The Robert Hooks Story



Robert (Bobby Dean) Hooks

Early life

The youngest of five children, Hooks was born in Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C., the son of Bertha (née Ward), a seamstress, and Edward Hooks, who worked on the railroad tracks, where he died.


My mother at age 14. Isn’t she something?. The photo was restored by ‘Dexterity Images’ by artist Dexter Bunn.

My Mother and Me…

Bertha (Bert) Ward Hooks, Elizabeth Ward Eatmon, and Alma Powell, looking fabulous! – Newport Place, NW, Washington, DC.

Here’s a Thursday throwback I’ll share. Standing on my hotel room balcony looking across the court, anxiously waiting to see three of my favorite cousins in all the world. Three amazing women I hadn’t seen since I was a small boy, and they were energetic youngsters growing up on a farm, who taught me everything I needed to know about life on a farm in deep south North Carolina. At the time I was on location in Wilmington North Carolina shooting a big television movie and had called them to see if it was possible for them to come to the film set- so we could hang out and catch up after so many decades… And LOOK!..there they were walking across the courtyard, my three adorable cousins Lula, Mamie and Roxie, the Ward sisters! We, hugged and smooched and had a fabulous mini family reunion all day that day! Here we are pictured outside in the hotel courtyard, Roxie standing with me, Lula (who has since sadly passed) and Mamie sitting. It was one of the most exciting times for me- sitting with them and their husbands, laughing, and sharing wild kid’s stories of my young summer vacation days with them on my Uncle Joe and Aunt Essie’s tobacco farm. These are three great women pictured with me in this photo. 


Robert Hooks is regarded, variously, as a gifted artist who has broken color barriers on stage, film, and television.  A leading man when there were few African American matinee idols. He originated roles on the New York stage in such classics as Dutchman, A Taste of Honey, and Where’s Daddy? for which he won the Theatre World Award. He was the first African American male lead on a television drama, the original N.Y.P.D.

In 1968, Hooks was the host of the new public affairs television program, Like It Is.
Famously, Hooks, along with Douglas Turner Ward, founded The Negro Ensemble Company (NEC). He then brought Gerald Krone in as Production Manager. The NEC is credited with the launch of the careers of many major Black artists of all disciplines, while creating a body of performance literature over the last thirty years, providing the backbone of African-American theatrical classics. This important theater company has produced plays by Charles Fuller, Wole Soyinka, Peter Weiss, Derek Walcott, Samm Art Williams, Leslie Lee, and Joseph A. Walker and many others.

Additionally, Hooks is the sole founder of two significant Black theatre companies: the DC Black Repertory Company, and New York’s Group Theatre Workshop, that were created to mentor the talents of New York’s disadvantaged youth. He brought in Dr. Barbara Ann Teer to help teach classes and develop the workshop.

Robert Hooks was nominated for a Tony Award for his lead role in the musical, Hallelujah, Baby!, has received both the Pioneer Award and the NAACP Image Award for Lifetime Achievement, and has been inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. He also won an Emmy Award for his PBS special Voices of Our People.

He passed down his passion for acting to two of his sons, Kevin Hooks, and Eric Hooks. Kevin Hooks is also a film director, and cast his father in two of his films: Passenger 57 (1992) and Fled (1996). Eric Hooks is an actor, known for Sounder (1972) and Just an Old Sweet Song (1976).

Significant roles for which Robert is known for include Reeve Scott in Hurry Sundown (1967), Mr. T. in the blaxploitation film Trouble Man (1972), grandpa Gene Donovan in the comedy Seventeen Again (2000), and Fleet Admiral Morrow in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). He also appeared on television in an episode of the NBC crime drama series The Eddie Capra Mysteries in 1978 and portrayed Doctor Walcott in the 1980s television series Dynasty.



The momentous Honorary Degree Ceremony at Maryland’s Bowie State University in May of 2000, where I was ‘Class of 2000’ keynote speaker. On that occasion, my son Kevin Hooks and I received our Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees (Honoris Causa).       It was the first time in the University’s history to bestow Honorary Degrees on both father and son. Important family history indeed!


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