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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Seminara

The quiet dignity of Roscoe Lee Browne

Roscoe Lee Browne --- Photo Credit: George Seminara

Roscoe Lee Brown

Dignity, always dignity. Roscoe Lee Browne. Actor and Director, 2 time Emmy Winner. Shakespearean exemplar. I first met this gentleman when i was a teenager. I used to mop and clean Phoebe’s Restaurant in the early morning before High School. Under a table I found his wallet. It was 5:30am, I thought, he’s an actor of course he is awake! I called his number, I heard his full voice come on the line and say, “good morning.” I told him what I found. He instructed me to come straight over. I couldn’t because of school, but I would be home after 4:00. He told me that the curtain was at 7:00pm I was to meet him at his table no later than 6:15. Thus commanded I hung up. I arrived at 6:10. Strangely, he was alone at his table. I had seen him surrounded by friends the few times I had seen him at Phoebe’s. Nervously, I approached and placed the wallet on the table and started to leave. “Wait!” I did. Frozen by his command. He examined the wallet. One side and then the other. Slowly he opened it and checked each section. He took out his Amex turned it over and put it back. Then came the cash. $50.00 in mixed bills. He counted them, not once, but twice. He put them back in the wallet. “How was school?” “Um, um, good.” “Um isn’t a word.” He appraised me. “Good is a rather ineffectual answer.”His eyes narrowed, “How was school?” “I had my favorite art class and history, and English, which is boring.”“Boring?” “I read most of the books before, but we start Macbeth next week.”“Shhh, we say the Scottish play. No actor calls it by its name.” “Do you like Shakespeare?” I told him that I did, very much and that, Henry V, was my favorite. (The Scottish play holds that title now)I felt honored like I was part of a club. There was a little more chat about Shakespeare, the theater, and my future schooling. Mr. Browne, took a $10.00 bill and handed it to me. “One good turn deserves another. But please, in the future wait until afternoon to call me.” I saw him several times over the years. I took this photo on one of those times. In 2005 my old grammar school pal, Laurence Fishburne and I had dinner in Los Angeles, and then drinks, and then drinks somewhere else, eventually we ended up at a spot where Roscoe was holding court. He sent them all away. The three of us talked theater. We talked children, and then we joined by Anthony Chisholm a fine actor and another old friend, and then even more theater was discussed. I was dropped off at my hotel at 4:00 am. Unfortunately, I was scheduled to be on set at 6:30am! #bnw#bnwphotography#starsofthescreen#screenactorsguild#actorsequity#laurencefishburne#actor#actorslife#bnw #bnwportrait #Titus Welliver

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