Cleavon Jake Little was Born on June 1, 1939. He was a theatre, screen, and television actor from America. He started on stage in the late 1960s. He received a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award for his performance as Purlie on Broadway in 1970.
Valerie Wiggins, former spouse (M. 1972–1974)
Adia Millett-Little has children.
In California, where he was raised, Cleavon attended Kearny High School, where he received his diploma in 1957. Following that, he went to “San Diego College” and “San Diego State University.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts from the university in 1965.
After being awarded a full scholarship to the famous “Julliard School” in Manhattan, he relocated to New York. He received training at the “American Academy of Dramatic Arts” from 1965 and 1967 after completing his studies at Julliard.
Cleavon Jake Little Career
While Cleavon’s film career first appeared to be highly promising, and reviewers anticipated that he would become a starring actor, it ultimately fell short of its full potential. The television series “True Colors,” in which he played Ron Freeman for 11 episodes, was his last significant acting role. His second noteworthy performance was in the television programme “Baghdad Cafe.” He last appeared on television in a 1992 episode of “Tales from the Crypt.” He passed away from colon cancer a year later at 53.
In the satirical drama “Macbird!” in February 1967, Cleavon Little made his stage acting debut. After that, he appeared in the title role in the off-Broadway production of “Scuba Duba” in October 1967.
Following his breakthrough on stage, he began to catch the eye of Hollywood’s casting directors. He quickly started to feature in movies and television programmes like “John and Mary,” “Cotton Comes to Harlem,” “The Felony Squad,” and “What’s So Bad About Feeling Good” (Movie, 1970).
In 1969, he appeared on Broadway in the play Jimmy Shine. His most notable performance was in the musical “Purlie” in 1970, for which he won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award.
Due to his excellent performances, he was cast in a recurring role on “Temperatures Rising” and the crime drama series “Mod Squad” (1972-1974).
He played Sheriff Bart in the comedic western Blazing Saddles (1974), directed by Mel Brooks after the studio passed on Richard Pryor, who co-wrote the script. Given his history of drug use and unpredictable conduct, studio officials reportedly worried about Pryor’s dependability and decided Little would be a better option. He was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles for this performance.
His performance as Sheriff Bart in the 1974 film Blazing Saddles, for which he got three Oscar nods, was the pinnacle of his acting career. Additionally, Cleavon was nominated for a “British Academy Award” for “Most Promising Newcomer.”
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he had several television appearances, including “Police Story” (1975), “The Rockford Files” (1977), “The Love Boat” (1980), and “The Fall Guy” (1983).
His other significant 1990s roles were in the television series “True Colors” and “Baghdad Cafe” (1990–1991). (1991-1992). His last appearance was in the “Tales From the Crypt” series (1992).
Cleavon Jake Little Major Works
Blazing Saddles (1974), in which Cleavon Little played the affable Sheriff Bart, a black sheriff in a white community, is regarded as his best performance.
In 1985, he appeared on Broadway in “I’m Not Rappaport” alongside his pal Judd Hirsch. He received three “Tony Awards” for his depiction of Midge Carter, which not only gave his acting career new life.
Cleavon Jake Little Awards
American actor Cleavon Little is best known for playing a black sheriff in the Academy Award-nominated comedy “Blazing Saddles.” He was a trained actor who frequently appeared in movies and TV shows, primarily in the 1970s and 1980s. He became the first black actor to win a “Tony Award” because of his diverse and dynamic stage performances. He made appearances in more than twenty plays over his lifetime. He received a scholarship to the “American Academy of Dramatic Arts,” where he made his acting debut in a production of “Macbeth” in 1966.
Cleavon Jake Little Personal Life
In 1972, Cleavon Little wed British subject Valerie Wiggins, and the two produced a daughter they called Adia Millett Little. They divorced in 1974 after only a brief term of the marriage.
He spent most of his adult life dealing with stomach issues and ulcers. On October 22, 1992, in Sherman Oaks, California, he passed away from colon cancer. His ashes were sprinkled at sea in New York Harbor.
On October 22, 1992, Little passed away from colon cancer in his Los Angeles home in the Sherman Oaks neighbourhood.
Adia, Cleavon’s daughter, lives in Los Angeles and is his only heir. While his siblings continue to reside in Los Angeles, his father, Malachi Little, and stepmother, Ruby Little, live in San Diego.