Roscoe Lee Brown was born on May 2nd 1922 in Woodbury, Gloucester County, New Jersey (not far east of Philadelphia) to a Baptist Minister and his wife. He went to Lincoln College, (now Lincoln University) an all black college in Lincoln College, Pennsylvania and then served in the army in WWII. Afterward he returned to Lincoln to teach French and comparative literature, but at the same time competing internationally as a track star. In 1951 he won the world championship in the 800-yard dash.
Capitalizing on that recognition he was hired by Schenley Import, Corporation, at that time a Kahlua and sole Guinness Stout importer, where he worked as a sales representative until 1956. Then one night he decided, during dinner with friends, he decided to break out & become an actor. The next day he auditioned for, and won, a role in a production at the newly-formed New York Shakespeare Festival.
He began as a fixture of New York Shakespeare Festival productions and then in 1961 joined James Earl Jones in the original cast of a long running Off Broadway production of “The Blacks” by Jean Genet. But he broke out with his portrayal of the mutinous slave Babu in a 1964 production of “Benito Cereno,” a one-act that was part of Robert Lowell’s trilogy “The Old Glory.” Later in career he was Dr. Foster on the Bill Cosby Show and the cook Jebediah Nightlinger in “The Cowboys.”
The Quincy Tale
In 1974, Quincy Jones suffered an aneurysm. He was given a one-in-a-hundred chance of surviving the operation, and when the doctors shaved his head they saved the hair in a plastic bag, in case they needed to glue it back onto his corpse. By the time it was clear that the operation had been successful, an elaborate memorial concert had already been planned, so Jones figured it might as well go ahead.
“They had invited just about everybody I’d ever known and cared about,” he recalls. “Cannonball Adderley with Freddie Hubbard in the band; Sarah Vaughan; Minnie Riperton; The Main Ingredient, with Cuba Gooding, Sr., on lead vocals; Ray Charles; Billy Eckstine; the Watts Prophets; Marvin Gaye. Roscoe Lee Brown did a recitation… “Quincy Jones, New Yorker Magazine, October 8th 2001 issue
Even with metal plates in his head, witnessing a memorial service for himself, Jones could not help admiring the talent onstage. “That’s some lineup,” he admits.
With little information on Roscoe, we’ve pegged him to 19 Cancer, (HS) an “artists model of a legendary bird” because of his ability to take elements of the known make them a whole ” for someone else to use.
With his stellium in the 12th house of great service and secret enemies, highlighting his need to speak out about the racism he raced and with the ruler of the 12th in the 2nd, and sextile, suggests his need to avoid stereotypical “black” roles and instead stand on his own (he played many Shakespearean roles beyond Othello)–see the trine to Mars in the 6th that supports this.
His 4th house with Saturn opposite the Midheaven says he looked for a career that would allow him to be a “voice” of the times. His ascendant in Cancer is trine Saturn in the 4th and its Lord in the 10th suggests he found some amount of success in his life but also hints at the gastric cancer from which he died at 81.
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