Taurean Blacque, ‘Hill Street Blues’ Regular, Dies at 82

Blacque played Detective Neal Washington on the acclaimed cop series from 1981 to 1987

Deepstar Six Carolco Pictures
"DeepStar Six"/Carolco Pictures

Taurean Blacque, best known for his role on the hit 1980s NBC drama “Hill Street Blues,” died Thursday at the age of 82, his son Rodney Middleton announced on Facebook.

In his post, Middleton shared photos of his father in character as Washington, with his trademark newsboy cap and toothpick-bearing grin. He wrote in the caption, “Thank you all for your prayers, calls and texts to me and my family. My father pass[ed] away today At 2:52 pm est.”

Blacque was one of the few regulars who stayed with the Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll series for its entire run. In 1982, he earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. It was a landmark year for “Hill Street Blues,” which also saw nominations for Michael Conrad, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz, Charles Haid in the supporting category, with Conrad taking homing the Emmy for his role as Sgt. Phil “let’s be careful out there” Esterhaus. Daniel J. Travanti also Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama that year.

Born Herbert Middleton Jr. in Newark, New Jersey, on May 10, 1940, Blacque later changed his name to reflect his astrological sign (Taurus) and the fact he was Black.

After acting at the New York-based Negro Ensemble Company in the mid ’70s, he landed guest roles on series including “Good Times,” “Sandford and Son,” “What’s Happening” and “The Bob Newhart Show.”

From 1989-90, he played Henry Marshall on the NBC soap “Generations,” and was a regular as Detective Wheeler on “Savannah” from 1996-1997.

Rodney Middleton shared the news of his father’s death to Facebook

After he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, he appeared in several productions at the Alliance Theatre of Atlanta, including the James Baldwin play “The Amen Corner.”

His feature films include “Rocky II,” “DeepStar Six,” Steve McQueen’s final film “The Hunter,” and Kevin Hooks’ “Fled.”

Blacque is survived by 12 children, 18 grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.