Leon: “Seize The Day”
Actor Leon Robinson is cool whenever you see him on screen. He has received critical acclaim for his portrayal of singers: David Ruffin in the 1998 NBC miniseries The Temptations and JT in the 20th Century Fox movie,The Five Heartbeats directed by Robert Townsend. During this period, Robinson joined the ensemble cast of two TV series, playing the popular Jefferson Keane on HBO’s first series, Oz and as Lawrence Hill on Showtime’s Resurrection Blvd., a costarring role as “Stoney” best friend of Joaquin Phoenix in Miramax’ military drama Buffalo Soldiers, an uncredited role as “Joseph 13 X” in Michael Mann’s award winning biopic, Ali starring Will Smith. Many other notable roles are also some fan favorites but it was one role that even scared the cool-character Leon, the role of Little Richard in his biopic.
“You have an added responsibility because those people have relatives and friends that know them,” explains Leon. “So you want to get, at the very least, the spirit of the person. You want to make sure you get that right. I remember the first time I ever heard anything negative about me was when they announced they cast me to play Little Richard. And I heard rumblings like, ‘He’s not ready for Little Richard,’ or ‘He can’t be Little Richard.’ And I was like, ‘Wow. OK. This is gonna be interesting.’ But once I read his book and I saw Little Richard from 1958 to 1963, when I portrayed him, I mean, he was a great looking guy. He was a stud and he was the King of Rock and Roll. All of a sudden I was like, ‘OK, I can see myself morphing into this guy.’ I was blessed to have played all those roles.”
And it paid off. He received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Little Richard.
When not playing scene-stealing roles on the big screen, the actor simply known as “Leon” takes life day by day and enjoys every minute of it.