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  • Broadcast in Entertainment
Olivia Wilder

Olivia Wilder


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With over 30 years in the business, passionate visionary and trailblazer, Robert Townsend, transcends any medium he touches: Actor, writer, director, producer, stand-up comedy or running a television network. The Chicago native is often referred to as one of the "Godfathers of the Independent Film World."  Robert acted out scenes, impersonating famous characters as a child, eventually making his mark in his hometown, and moving on to New York's renowned comedy club, The Improvisation, initiating his career in stand-up comedy. His big break came performing on various television comedy specials, including Rodney Dangerfield's, "It's Not Easy Being Me," and others. He then landed a role opposite Denzel Washington in "A Soldier's Story," and appeared in "Streets of Fire," with Diane Lane, and "American Flyers," with Kevin Costner.
In Hollywood, he saw the difficulty black actors had and lack of good work available in the film industry, leaving a burning desire to step behind the camera, and the independent filmmaker was born. Robert wrote, directed, produced and starred in his own critically acclaimed film, "The Hollywood Shuffle."  His semi-autobiographical, "The Five Heartbeats"continues as an audience favorite, and he has gone on to be nominated for more than 30 NAACP Image Awards for film and television.
Robert's newest film, "In The Hive," was released on DVD on May 7th. It stars Loretta Devine, Vivica A. Fox and the late Michael Clark Duncan in his last role. It is a film about power of love and a gripping reminder that we can all make a difference in a child’s life, even the ones who’ve been relegated to the discarded heap for far too long.