Howard Rollins was an Oscar-nominated American actor well-known for his role as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the film “Ragtime.” He has further played important roles in the films and tv series “Another World,” “King,” “Wildside,” “In the Heat of the Night,” and so on.

Quick Info
Birth Name
Howard Rollins
Howard Ellsworth Rollins Jr.
Nick Name
Ho Ro
17th October 1950
Death8th December 1996 at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center
Birth Place
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Howard Rollins Sr.
Ruth R. Rollins
Towson University
Zodiac Sign
6 feet
1.83 meters
85 kg
Social Media
Net Worth$3 million at the time of death
Howard Rollins Close Up Portrait
Howard Close Up Portrait Source: Walmart

Where was Howard born and raised?

Howard Rollins was born on 17th October 1950 in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. His full name is Howard Ellsworth Rollins Jr. and he was born to a poor family where his father, Howard Rollins Sr. was a steelworker and his mother, Ruth R. Rollins was a domestic worker.

Howard was educated in his hometown, Baltimore. Upon the completion of high school, he joined Towson University where he studied theatre. Howard was American and he had African-American ethnicity. He had a birth sign, Libra.


Career & Achievements

Howard Rollins made a major contribution to the film industry and made a name for himself with his amazing performance. Like most of the stars, Howard made his acting career debut in 1972 with a minor role in the tv series “Our Street”. In the series, he portrayed the role of Slick. He further appeared in the tv movie, “The Trial of the Moke” in 1978 and several other movies and mini-series such as “King,” “Roots: The Next Generations,” “My Old Man,” “The Member of the Wedding,” and others.

Howard Rollins in the tv series, In the heat of the night
Howard Rollins in the tv series, “In the heat of the night” Source: CheatSheet

In 1981, Howard Rollins made his breakthrough in his acting career through the film “Ragtime” where he portrayed the role of Coalhouse Walker Jr. He was nominated Academy Award, 2 Golden Globe Award, and New York Film Critics Circle Award for his performance. The following year, Howard made another breakthrough with the tv soap opera, “Another World” alongside Kelly Paniagua, Regina Lasko for which he was nominated with Daytime Emmy Award.

Howard gained his first NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series in 1983 for his biographical tv film, “For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story.” In 1988, he landed the main role in the series “In the Heat of the Night” where he portrayed the role of Chief Detectives Virgil Tibbs. Howard won his second NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series. Howard Rollins’s final movie was “Harambee!” where he portrayed the role of Chimbuko.


Drug Addictions and Legal Issues

Howard Rollins has been arrested and been to jail several times during his life. He was an alcoholic and was arrested for driving under influence two times. He was also a drug addict and was once arrested for possessing cocaine in 1988.

Howard served some of his time in a rehabilitation center for which he had to take a break from the series “Heat of the Night.” After spending some time in the rehabilitation center, he continued making her appearance in the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, Howard never seems to overcome his drug addiction which led to health deterioration. Some people said that he went crazy at the end of his death.


Was Howard Rollins Gay & how did he die?

Howard was a gentleman. He had black hair and black eyes. He was 6 feet tall which is about 1.83 meters weighing 85 kg at the time of his death. Howard was 46 years old at the time of his death. He was suffering from HIV and had complications of Lymphoma. The complications caused him bacterial infection and later cancer. Howard died in St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center on 8th December 1996.

Howard Rollins with his co-star Debbie Allen in Ragtime
Howard Rollins with his co-star Debbie Allen in “Ragtime” Source: whosdatedwho

Howard never disclosed his sexuality during his life. He was never married but at the end of his life, Howard was seen wearing woman clothes. Questions were raised if he was gay from the start and hid his sexuality but no one is sure to this date.



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