Taurean Blacque, ‘Hill Street Blues’ Star, Dead at 82

by Joe Rutland

Hill Street Blues star Taurean Blacque has died on Thursday at 82 years old. Blacque was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in the hit show. The actor played Detective Neal Washington on the show, which starred Daniel J. Travanti. Blacque’s family announced his death.

He started his career as part of the Negro Ensemble Assembly. Soon, though, Taurean Blacque would land roles on some of the most popular TV shows in the 1970s and ’80s. They included, according to Deadline, Sanford and Son, What’s Happening, Good Times, The Bob Newhart Show, and Taxi. Funeral service information is still pending at this time.

Taurean Blacque Stayed With ‘Hill Street Blues’ Through Its Entire Run

The actor would become part of this new police-related show in 1981. His Emmy nomination comes after Blacque is selected as a nominee in 1982. It was for the Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series category. Blacque stayed with Hill Street Blues until it ended in 1987.

Atlanta was very important in his life. Blacque would become involved with the Atlanta Black Theater Company and North Carolina’s Black Theater Festival. Both of these focus on stage work in the theater. Meanwhile, he also appeared with Vivica A. Fox in Generations. This would become the first daytime serial focusing its main attention on an African American family.

But there was much more to his life beyond acting. Blacque did raise two biological sons. Yet he also adopted 11 children. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush would ask him to become the national spokesperson for adoption. Additionally, Blacque becomes a spokesman for The County Of Los Angeles Adoption Services.

Actor Leaves Behind 12 Children, 18 Grandchildren

Blacque was preceded in death by one of his sons. But he is survived by 12 children, 18 grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. Besides Blacque and Travanti, others in the Steven Bochco-created show included Veronica Hamel, Betty Thomas, and Charles Haid. Michael Conrad, who played Phil Esterhaus there, would find himself as a bit of a TV favorite.

Upon talking with the police officers, Phil would always tell them, “Let’s be careful out there.” Travanti, who played Frank Furillo, and Hamel, who played Joyce Davenport, had some chemistry between them. Their scenes would keep viewers coming back week after week. Mike Post, who also had a hand in creating the theme song for The Rockford Files, was behind the creation of this show’s theme. Someone who would be well known much later started out as a writer on this drama. Dick Wolf, who people know from the Law & Order, FBI, and One Chicago franchises, worked on Hill Street Blues and would go on to fame and fortune in his future.