How did Taurean Blacque die? Emmy-nominated 'Hill Street Blues' star passes away at 82
Emmy-nominated actor Taurean Blacque, best known for his role as Detective Neal Washington in the hit NBC crime drama series 'Hill Street Blues', died at the age of 82 in Atlanta on Thursday, July 21. Blacque had been battling an undisclosed illness at the time of his death. His demise has left the acting world in mourning.
Blacque's family announced his passing to Deadline. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Blacque was born Herbert Middleton Jr on May 10, 1940. Beginning his career in show business at New York's influential Negro Ensemble Company, he quickly landed guest roles on TV shows such as 'Sanford and Son', 'What's Happening', 'Good Times', 'The Bob Newhart Show', and 'Taxi', to name a few.
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Blacque made his feature film debut in the 1978 film 'House Calls', which he followed up as a lawyer in the 1979 sequel 'Rocky II'. He then continued to work steadily with film roles in 'Beyond Death's Door' and 'The Hunter' and TV roles in 'The Love Boat' before landing the role of Detective Neal Washington in NBC's 'Hill Street Blues'. He joined the show in 1981, earning an Emmy nomination the following year for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series. He remained with the popular police procedural series during its entire run, through 1987.
Although the show, created by Steven Bochco-Michael Kozoll, was not a big hit in its first season, ranking only 27th among primetime series and never breaking the Top 20 in a three-network universe, it went on to become a major success. Blacque’s character, Detective Neal Washington, was a respected, streetwise, no-nonsense veteran cop known for his constant toothpick and cap. He was partnered with boozy Detective JD LaRue (Kiel Martin), who had a unique take on police work that sometimes straddled - or crossed - the lines of police policy.
Blacque remained a 'Hill Street Blues' member for all seven seasons. After the show ended, Blacque, in addition to remaining active in the Atlanta Black Theater Company and the North Carolina Black Theater Festival, was an original cast member of the groundbreaking 1989-91 TV soap opera 'Generations', the first daytime serial to feature an African American family as part of its main storyline.
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In 1966, Blaque married Shelby, who was a model then. However, later on, they got divorced. Blaque had two biological sons, Shelby and Rodney, and adopted 11 children in the 1980s. The names of his adoptive children are: Paul, Christopher, Marc, Jennifer, Whitley, Marshall, Sammy, Richard, Jeremy, Ashley, and Randy. Blaque was named spokesman for the County of Los Angeles Adoption Services, and in 1989 was asked by President George HW Bush to become a national spokesperson for adoption.
Blacque is survived by 12 children, 18 grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. Information concerning funeral services was not immediately available.