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Whitman Mayo, a Black actor, was born on this date in 1930.
Mayo was born in New York City and moved to Los Angeles, where he attended Los Angeles City College and the University of California at Los Angeles. Following college, he spent seven years as a counselor at an institution for delinquent boys. He left counseling and turned to act while picking up odd jobs, such as picking grapes, working at a dairy, and as a railroad worker. He also spent a year in Mexico playing professional volleyball.
Mayo moved to New York where, while at the New Lafayette Theater, he landed a guest appearance as Grady Wilson on "Sanford and Son."
Mayo modeled the character after his grandfather, and few viewers realized that Mayo was only in his early 40s. The role quickly became a recurring character and was eventually spun off for television as the star of the short-lived "Grady." Mayo went on to appear on shows such as "Different Strokes," "Hill Street Blues," and "ER." In his later years, Mayo was on the faculty of Clark Atlanta University, where he taught acting.
Whitman Mayo died on May 22, 2001
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