Rodriguez as Dr. Harry Miles in Peyton Place, 1968.
June 13, 1918
|Died||September 6, 2007
Percy Rodriguez (June 13, 1918 – September 6, 2007) was a Canadian actor who appeared in many television shows and films from the 1950s to the 1980s. Born in the Saint-Henri neighborhood in Montreal, his birth surname was "Rodrigues," but after it was misspelled in a Broadway program early in his career, "Rodriguez" became his de facto stage name and most of his acting credits are under that spelling. He was of Afro-Portuguese heritage.
Life and career
Rodriguez started his acting career in the 1930s, appearing in stage plays and television series in his native country. He eventually moved to New York City, where he made his Broadway theatre debut in Lillian Hellman's Toys in the Attic in 1960. Appearing next in The Actors Studio Theatre production of James Baldwin's Blues for Mister Charlie  (and, shortly thereafter, in an abbreviated television adaptation on CBS), Rodriguez subsequently became a life member of the Studio.
He first gained widespread notoriety in 1968 for his role as neurosurgeon Dr. Harry Miles in the primetime soap opera Peyton Place. Rodriguez managed to avoid the stereotypical roles typically given to Black actors at the time. His deep, authoritative voice and articulate speaking manner helped Rodriguez to be cast usually as intelligent authority figures. He also narrated numerous movie trailers and documentaries throughout his career. He retired from acting in 1987 but continued to do voiceovers. He spoke of his narration of the trailer for Jaws in the documentary The Shark is Still Working. This was his final public appearance.
Selected television work
- Carol for Another Christmas (1964)
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The My Friend the Gorilla Affair" (1966) as President Khufu
- Mission: Impossible four episodes (1966–1970)
- Star Trek episode "Court Martial" (1967) as Commodore Stone
- The Fugitive episode "Passage To Helena" Sheriff Dalton (1967)
- Peyton Place (1968–1969) as Dr. Harry Miles
- Then Came Bronson episode "Two Percent of Nothing" (1969)
- Somerset as The Lieutenant (1971)
- Cannon (1972) episode "A Flight of Hawks"
- Genesis II (1973) as Primus Kimbridge
- Planet of the Apes episode "The Tyrant" (1974) as Aboro
- Good Times episode "Florida's Rich Cousin" (1975) as Cousin Edgar
- Roots: The Next Generations (1979)
- Sanford (1980) as Winston
- Benson (1982–1985) as Judge Harper
- The Atlanta Child Murders (1985) as Maynard Jackson
- T.J. Hooker episode Lady In Blue (1983) as Jason
- The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) as Dr. Benedict Copeland
- Come Back, Charleston Blue (1972)
- Rhinoceros (1974) as Mr. Nicholson
- Galaxina (1980)
- Heavy Metal (1981) voice of the Loc-Nar (uncredited)
- Deadly Blessing (1981) as Narrator
- Captain EO (1987) as Narrator
- The Shark is Still Working (2006) (documentary)
- Jaws (1975)
- The Stuff (1985)
- Into the Night (1985)
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
- She's Having A Baby (1988)
- The Great Outdoors (1988)
- Curly Sue (1991)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
- Glover, William: "'Blues for Mister Charlie' Premiered". The New London Day. April 25, 1964.
- Marsters, Jack: "Dial Turns". July 20, 1964
- Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 279. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
- "A Doctor's Role for Negro Actor". Los Angeles Times. 1968-08-08.
- Nelson, Valerie J. (2007-09-14). "Percy Rodrigues, 89; black actor fought for authority figure roles". Obituaries. The Los Angeles Times.
- Obituary in The Times (London), 3 October 2007 (Registration Required)
- Percy Rodriguez at the Internet Movie Database
- Percy Rodriguez at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- Percy Rodriguez at the Internet Broadway Database