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Rod Perry, who starred on the 1970s ABC series S.W.A.T. and appeared opposite Cicely Tyson in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, died Dec. 17, his family announced. He was 86.
Perry also had the leads in the Blaxploitation films The Black Godfather (1974) and The Black Gestapo (1975).
Perry portrayed Sgt. David “Deacon” Kay opposite Steve Forrest and Robert Urich on S.W.A.T., which was produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg and lasted 37 episodes in 1975-76, then returned for the 2003 S.W.A.T. feature as the father of LL Cool J’s Deke. (Jay Harrington plays the character on the current CBS version.)
And in the 1974 CBS telefilm The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Perry portrayed Joe Pittman, a cowboy who has a brief but happy marriage with Tyson’s Jane, who famously ages from 23 to 110 in the landmark project.
Born on July 30, 1934, in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Roderick Maurice Perry attended Penn State on a track scholarship — he set the world record in the 200-meter hurdles in 1957 — and played on the basketball team.
After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army from 1958-60, then moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. He modeled for the Ford agency and appeared on Broadway with Madeline Kahn and Robert Klein in Leonard Sillman’s New Faces of 1968.
Later, he showed up on television in Barney Miller, Good Times and Babylon 5.
Survivors include his children, Roderick H. Perry, Roderick M. Perry, Ronald, Phaedra and Sheridan (the singer known as DeQn Sue); siblings Edward, Archibald, Adelia Ann, Ruby and Juanita; and grandchildren Daniel, Kylee and Ameera.
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