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Sat, 11.15.1930

Whitman Mayo, TV’s “Grady” and Theater Teacher

Whitman Mayo

Whitman Mayo, an African American actor was born 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 acting 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 own grandfather and few viewers realized that Mayo was actually only in his early 40s. The role quickly turned into 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

Reference:
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy Foundation
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90211
Phone: 310-247-3000

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