Many Never Knew “White Shadow” Actor’s Father Is A Legendary 70s/80s Actor Too
If you’re from the Old School era of the late 1970’s/early 80’s, you more than likely are very familiar with actor, Kevin Hooks (59). From 1978 to 1981, he played “Morris Thorpe”- the high school basketball player who had a problem with authority, in hit TV show, “White Shadow.” For those who aren’t familiar with “White Shadow,” here’s a quick rundown: The show was about a former Caucasian Chicago Bull player becoming a high school coach in South Central Los Angeles.
Here’s the thing, what many fans didn’t know at that time, is that as we were watching Kevin Hooks do his thing on “White Shadow,” we were also watching his Pops play roles in other various TV shows and films. Simply put, Kevin’s dad is a legend and if you don’t know who he is, get ready to learn a lil’ somethin’ today ILOSM fam.’
Who’s His Daddy?
Meet Kevin Hook’s father, actor Robert Hooks. Remember him? Robert’s most popular roles include ‘Reeve Scott”‘ in “Hurry Sundown” (1967); ‘Mr. T’ in the 70’s 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 portrayed ‘Doctor Walcott’ in the 1980s television series, “Dynasty.”
Robert was once married to Kevin’s mother, Yvonne Hickman (whom there are no photos of, because she apparently wasn’t into the spotlight like her ex-husband and son), whom he also has two more children with. Kevin always pays homage to his dad online, just as he did this past Father’s day with his Instagram tribute to him:
Robert Hooks OTHER Actor Son
In addition to having one actor son, Robert actually has another one! His name is Eric Hooks and many of y’all may not know him by name, but if you know anything about classic Black films from back in the day, you’ll probably remember his face. Eric Hooks mostly acted during his childhood years, with one of his most popular roles being in the film, “Sounder.” In that dramatic 1972 classic, Eric starred alongside his brother, Kevin, as well as Hollywood heavyweights, Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield.
So as you can see, acting was in their blood because they had their Pops set a great example for them.
Aside from Kevin and Eric Hooks, their father has 5 more children- Cecelia Ann Hooks Onibudo, Christopher Carter, Michelle Thomas Hooks, Robert Hooks Jr., and Kiyo Dean Tarpley Hooks.
Why He Started The Negro Ensemble Company
According to New York Times, Robert Hooks is also ‘a founder of the Negro Ensemble Company, a theater group in Manhattan of which he was the executive director from 1965 to 1978.’ In the interview below, Robert Hooks explained how Sidney Poitier and Douglas Turner Ward, encouraged him to relocate from Philadelphia to New York on pretty much a wing and a prayer to hopefully spark a successful acting career. It was from there, that something else was sparked in him- his transition from being a then up-and-coming Broadway actor- to creating his own platform that would offer equal opportunities for many Black actors.
One more fun fact about Robert, is that he didn’t give on up on finding love again, after his two failed marriages to Rosie Lee Hooks and Yvonne Hickman. In 2008, he married his bride, Lorrie Marlow, at the age of 70 years young. These days, the brotha is still happy, healthy and married at 81.