Taurean Blacque, the veteran theater and television actor best known for playing Detective Neal Washington in Hill Street Blues, has died in Atlanta following a brief illness, Deadline reports. He was 82 years old.
Born on May 10th, 1941 in Newark, New Jersey, Blacque trained at the New Federal Theatre in New York before beginning his television career with guest appearances on shows like Sanford and Son, What’s Happening, Good Times, The Bob Newhart Show and Taxi.
In 1981, Blacque joined the cast of NBC’s new police procedural Hill Street Blues as Detective Neal Washington, a veteran cop partnered with the rule-breaking Detective J.D. LaRue (Kiel Martin). Blacque was nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 1982, but lost to his co-star Michael Conrad as Hill Street Blues swept the nation. The actor remained on the program until its end in 1987.
Blacque also continued to work in theater throughout the ’80s. In 1985, he won the NAACP Image Award for Best Actor (Local) for his performance in Amen Corner. He performed alongside Yolanda King in Stepping Into Tomorrow in 1987, and appeared in Ceremonies in Dark Old Men in 1988. After moving to Atlanta to focus on raising a family (Blacque adopted 11 children in his lifetime, and was at one point a George H.W. Bush-appointed spokesman for adoption), he was active in the Atlanta Black Theater Company and North Carolina’s Black Theater Festival.
From 1989 to 1991, Blacque starred alongside Vivica Fox in Generations, the first daytime soap opera to focus on a Black family. In 1996, he portrayed Detective Wheeler on The WB’s short-lived primetime soap Savannah.