Roger E. Mosley, who appeared on more than 150 episodes of the '80s classic Magnum, P.I. with Tom Selleck, has died at 83 following a car crash.
Following the accident, which happened Thursday in Lynwood, California, Mosley was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A., where he died early Sunday, August 7, 2022.
Born on December 18, 1938, in Watts, California, it was there were he studied the craft of acting under Raymond St. Jacques at the Mafundi Institute.
His first TV credit was a 1971 episode of Cannon. He then appeared in the TV movie The Living End (1972) and began making guest appearances on shows, including Night Gallery (1971 & 1972), Sanford and Son (1972), The Streets of San Francisco (1974), Kung Fu (1974), and Kojak (1974).
Mosley was acclaimed in Gordon Parks's Leadbelly (1976) for playing blues singer Huddie Ledbetter, went on to embody Sonny Liston in The Greatest (1977), and was known for his work in several Blaxploitation films, including The Mack (1973), a classic in the genre.
Other movies include the John Wayne film McQ (1974), The River Niger (1976) with Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones, and the B.O. hit 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 working on the show 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."
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."