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Leon Robinson

Leon at Madison Square Garden after a USA Basketball vs. Puerto Rico game, August 2003
Born Leon Preston Robinson IV
March 8, 1962 (1962-03-08) (age 47)
New York, New York, United States

Leon Preston Robinson IV (born March 8, 1962), usually credited as simply Leon, is an American actor and singer, who began his professional career as an actor in 1981.


Leon made his professional debut on the CBS Afternoon Playhouse production "Journey to Survival" in 1981. Before striking it on the big screen, Leon amassed numerous small screen credits, notably in a 1989 episode of the NBC series Midnight Caller in which he played an athlete who falls victim to crack cocaine. He also co-starred in the 1989 ABC miniseries The Women of Brewster Place, as the boyfriend of a suburbanite (played by Robin Givens). He became a part of popular music history when he was cast as Saint Martin de Porres in Madonna's controversial 1989 music video "Like a Prayer".

Leon's early film roles included a football teammate of Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves (1983) and as Fortune Smith, the Notre Dame-bound basketball playing co-worker of Matt Dillon, in The Flamingo Kid (1984). It was only after his exposure in the Madonna video that Leon's roles became more substantial. He was a member of a singing group trying to give up his womanizing ways while his brother becomes distant in Robert Townsend's The Five Heartbeats (1991). In 1993, he played a leading role in the film Cool Runnings. That same year, he co-starred as John Lithgow's henchman out to get Sylvester Stallone in Renny Harlin's Cliffhanger and followed with a turn as a disillusioned ex-jock in Above the Rim (1994). Leon also appeared as Lela Rochon's married lover in 1996's Waiting to Exhale and co-produced as well as co-starred in the 1997 romantic drama The Price of Kissing. He also starred in the movie Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored, directed by Tim Reid.

Leon has received critical acclaim for his portrayal of two legendary singers in made-for-TV movies: David Ruffin in the 1998 NBC miniseries The Temptations, and Little Richard in the self-titled 2000 NBC movie based on the life of the rock-and-roll pioneer. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his performance as Little Richard. Leon has also had recurring roles on television series such as Oz and Resurrection Blvd. and briefly hosted his own late-night talk show, The L-Bow Room, on BET.

In 2008, Leon starred in the 20th Century Fox thriller Cover, directed by Bill Duke, and stars alongside Danny Masterson and Dominique Swain in the indie comedy The Brooklyn Heist, directed by Julian Mark Kheel.

Leon, who is also a professional singer, is the lead vocalist of his own band, Leon and the Peoples. In 2007, He received an International Reggae and World Music Award nomination for his band Leon & The Peoples debut CD The Road Less Traveled and completed a 36 city US tour with Reggae super stars Beres Hammond & Marcia Griffiths” on the For The Love Of It Tour. He was a frequent surprise guest on Beres Hammond’s 2008 “A Moment in Time” US tour. He recently performed at NYC's Central Park headlining the 2009 Aids Walk Concert.


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