American actor David McKnight has passed away at the age of 87 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
The acting icon, who was best known for his roles in J.D.’s Revenge and Under Siege, died in Las Vegas on Sunday, his friend and publicist Cynthia Busby revealed.
Besides appearing in a variety of movies like J.D.’s Revenge, Under Siege, Hollywood Shuffle, The Five Heartbeats, and more recently Sharing Christmas and A Christmas For Mary, McKnight also secured dozens of television roles.
Some of his top TV appearances include roles on ER, The Incredible Hulk, Moonlighting, War of the Worlds, Boston Legal, A House Divided, and more.
David was born in Mississippi in 1936. At the age of 4, he moved to Chicago where he discovered acting after enrolling in Wendell Phillips Academy High School and later Wilson Junior College.
Eventually, McKnight enlisted in the United States Army and went on to serve as a police officer after returning home.
It wasn’t until 1970 that he secured his first role in an all-Black soap opera Bird of the Iron Feather. Since then, he made a series of smaller appearances until his first major role as J.D. Walker in the 1976’s J.D.’s Revenge.
Throughout his long and successful career, McKnight forged a close friendship with Robert Townsend, whom he knew from childhood, and went on to appear in his movies Hollywood Shuffle and The Five Heartbeats.
Speaking of Hollywood Shuffle (1987), McKnight previously revealed he teamed up with the director after seeing potential in pieces of his film.
“He said, ‘You’re the only person who told me how to make this film work,’” the actor said back in 2018.
Eventually, McKnight was cast as Uncle Ray in the hit movie. Four years later, he also appeared in Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats.
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