|Born||Herbert Middleton, Jr.
May 10, 1941
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Taurean Blacque (born Herbert Middleton Jr. in Newark, New Jersey, May 10, 1941) is an American television and stage actor, best known for his role as Detective Neal Washington on the series Hill Street Blues. He also is a past national spokesman for adoptive services, having been one of the first single black men in the United States to adopt a child.
Before appearing on television, Blacque trained and performed at the New Federal Theater in New York, a theater founded to provide opportunities to minorities and women. Early in his acting career, Blacque began making guest appearances in sitcoms such as What's Happening!!, Sanford and Son, The Bob Newhart Show, The Tony Randall Show, Good Times, and Taxi, and auditioned for permanent roles on others, including Venus Flytrap on WKRP in Cincinnati, eventually played by Tim Reid.
In 1981 he joined the cast of the police drama Hill Street Blues, staying with the show throughout its run, which ended in 1987. While appearing on that show, he was nominated in 1982 for the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, but lost to fellow HSB actor Michael Conrad, in the only year in which all the nominees in a category came from the same series. His theatrical career continued during his run on the show, winning him an NAACP Image Award of Best Actor (Local) in 1985 for his role in Amen Corner. In 1986 his stage roles included the male lead in the musical Don't Get God Started during its initial six-week summer run in Beverly Hills.
After Hill Street ended, Blacque moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to provide a better home for his children; in his new home, he has focused on theatrical work while making occasional guest appearances on television. Notable stage performances include Stepping Into Tomorrow with Yolanda King in 1987, and a 1988 revival of Ceremonies in Dark Old Men. Television work included a pilot, Off-Duty, for CBS, in which Blacque once again played a police officer; the show was not picked up by the network. Blacque also had a small role in Disney's animated film Oliver & Company. In 1989, he portrayed Henry Marshall on NBC's Generations. Film work in this period included a lead role in the 1989 science-fiction film DeepStar Six.
As adoptive parent
Blacque initially was asked to serve as spokesman for the County of Los Angeles Adoption Services office though he had no adoptive children at the time. Upon looking into adoption, he was told that as a single black male, he was not eligible to adopt; however, he pressed on, eventually adopting ten children in addition to the two sons he already had. The adopted children included twin boys and a group of five children whose mother could not keep them due to her drug addiction. In 1989 he was asked by President George H. W. Bush to serve as a national spokesman for adoption.
- Taurean Blacque at the Internet Movie Database.
- S. Pearl Sharp. "Giving respect to dads who adopt," News & Notes, National Public Radio, June 16, 2006.
- "History," New Federal Theater Newsletter, 2004.
- Harry Harris. "Reid's into music on and off the screen," The Philadelphia Inquirer (PA), May 24, 1981, TV Seek section, page 4.
- UPI. "'Hill Street', 'Fame' dominate Emmy nominations," The Miami Herald (FL), August 6, 1982, Comics/TV section, page 4B.
- Lorenzo Benet. "'Soldier's Story' wins top NAACP film award," Daily News of Los Angeles (CA), December 10, 1985, L.A. Life section, page 15.
- Leonard W. Boasberg. "Rebirth of a musical: The playwright tells how 'Don't Get God Started' got started - the play opens tomorrow," The Philadelphia Inquirer (PA), June 16, 1987, Features Daily Magazine, page E1.
- "'Stepping Into Tomorrow' to benefit Black Actors Theatre," The Orange County Register, September 1, 1987, Accent section, page E8.
- Tom Jacobs. "'Ceremonies' still vivid, absorbing," Daily News of Los Angeles (CA), February 9, 1988, L.A. Life section, page L19.
- Joan Hanauer, United Press International, Wire services. "The blues and their brews," The Record (New Jersey) - August 16, 1988, page D14.
- Jim Gordon. "Take the gang to see 'Oliver & Company'," Post-Tribune (IN), November 18, 1988, Lifestyles/Weekend section, page 12.