Lester Rawlins

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Lester Rawlins (September 24, 1924 – March 22, 1988) was an American stage, screen, and television actor. He graduated from the Carnegie Mellon College of Drama in 1950 with a BFA.[1]

Born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, Rawlins appeared in off-Broadway productions of Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, Winterset, In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, and Nightride, for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance.[2]

His Broadway credits included A Man for All Seasons and Da, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. Rawlins also won Obie Awards for his performance in the 1964 off-Broadway production of the play The Old Glory by the poet Robert Lowell[3] and for his performances in off-Broadway productions of Brendan Behan's The Quare Fellow and Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.[4][5]

On television, Rawlins had recurring roles on The Defenders, Kojak, The Secret Storm, and Ryan's Hope. His feature films included Diary of a Mad Housewife and They Might Be Giants. Rawlins was a regular on the CBS soap opera, The Edge of Night for several years, where he played the role of wealthy Orin Hillyer.[6]

He also could be heard on television and radio commercials, and was most notably the voice-over for the Dunkin' Donuts TV and radio advertising campaign created by the New York advertising agency Ally & Gargano.


Rawlins died of cardiac arrest in New York City in 1988.[citation needed]


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Diary of a Mad Housewife Dr. Linstrom
1971 They Might Be Giants Blevins
1975 Starsky & Hutch C.J. Woodfield
1976 God Told Me To Board Chairman
1977 A Secret Space Kevin King
1983 Lovesick Silent Patient


  1. ^ CMU School of Drama: Notable Alumni Archived 2015-08-03 at archive.today, drama.cmu.edu; accessed June 8, 2015.
  2. ^ Lester Rawlins at the Lucille Lortel Archives, lortel.org; accessed June 8, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Old Glory Revival, Article in Playbill". Playbill.com. 2011-09-22. Archived from the original on 2012-01-29. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  4. ^ "NY Times Obituary". The New York Times. 1988-03-29. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  5. ^ Lester Rawlins at the Internet Broadway Database
  6. ^ Lester Rawlins at IMDb

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