Broadway Star Chuck Patterson Dies At 68

News & Views | Camille Travis | 01/02/2014 | 02:00 PM EST

The acting vet starred in 'Death of a Salesman,' 'The Five Heartbeats,' 'Law & Order' and more

Actor Chuck Patterson, who helped pave the way for Black Broadway hopefuls, has died. He passed away just two days before Christmas at the age of 68, according to the New York Daily News.

There is no word on the cause of death.

The Memphis, Tenn.-born star got his start in 1972 with various roles in television and film, but it was his role in the 1975 Tony-nominated production Death of a Salesman that catapulted his star. His character Bernard, the neighbor's son, had always gone to White actors, making the casting a refreshing and necessary change.

Patterson also directed for the Ensemble Studio Theater and New Federal Theater and made his last appearance on Broadway in the 1997 show Proposals.

Additionally, the actor is remembered for his role as manager Jimmy Potter in The Five Heartbeats starring Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon, Harry Lennix, Tico Wells and Diahann Carroll. His television credits include "New York Undercover," "Law & Order," "The Famous Jett Jackson" and more.

He is survived by his second wife Cori Thomas and stepdaughter Natasha Newman.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Patterson's family during this difficult time.

(Photo: 20th Century Fox Films)

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