Actor Roger E. Mosley, who played helicopter pilot Theodore “T.C.” Calvin in the original CBS hit show “Magnum P.I.,” died Sunday at 83.
Mosley died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles three days after a car accident, his daughter, Ch-a Mosley, said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
She announced his death on Facebook.
“Roger E. Mosley, my father, your friend, your ‘coach Mosley’ your ‘TC’ from Magnum P.I., passed away at 1:17am,” she wrote. “He was surrounded by family as he transcended peacefully.
“We could never mourn such an amazing man. He would HATE any crying done in his name. It is time to celebrate the legacy he left for us all.
“I love you daddy. You loved me too. My heart is heavy but I am strong. I will care for mommy, your love of almost 60 years. You raised me well and she is in good hands. Rest easy.”
Prior to joining “Magnum,” Mosley played musician Huddie Ledbetter in the 1976 film “Leadbelly.” In 1977, he played Sonny Liston in the film “The Greatest.”
As Mosley told the story, he made it to the CBS show because the producers wanted a nonwhite actor among the leads. Tom Selleck, who starred in the series, suggested Mosley, who was indifferent to the offer.
He said his agent talked him into doing the pilot by saying it would be a short vacation and little more.
“‘It’s starring this guy Tom Selleck. Tom Selleck has made about five pilot shows … and none of them has sold,’” Mosley quoted his agent as telling him, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “‘So here’s what you do, Roger: Sign up for the show, go over to Hawaii, they’ll treat you good for the 20 days it will take to shoot the [pilot], you’ll get a lot of money, and then you come home. A show with Tom Selleck always fails, and you’ll be fine.’”
Mosley was conscious of how his role would be perceived.
He said that the initial script called for his character to be broke, but Mosley demurred and said he wouldn’t “be the only black person in Hawaii and be broke,” he said. “And they reversed. They decided Tom would be broke, and I would be financially well off — except I was always bailing him out.”
“They [the writers] keep writing for me to smoke and drink, but I won’t do it,” he said in a 1982 interview. “I never get high, smoke or drink on the show or in real life. That’s not what I want black kids to see.”
Tonight’s entertainment can only be in memory of Roger E Mosley, everyone’s favourite rock solid rainbow striped helicopter pilot – TC. His daughter, Ch-a Mosley, wrote: “It is time to celebrate the legacy he left for us all.” 18 Dec 1938 – 7 Aug 2022. https://t.co/Snv1Ma6Bt2 pic.twitter.com/gWVteG1W2E
— James D Kightly (@JDKightly) August 8, 2022
In addition to his daughter, Mosley is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Antoinette; his son, Brandonn; his grandson, Austin; and Rahsan, among his many nieces and nephews.
Ch-a Mosley said there was a side to the actor few knew.
“My dad was always a man of the community,” she said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Even while famous and having this successful career in Hollywood, he continued to work with youth — most recently working as a track coach in the Monrovia [Unified School District].”
“He personally coached me. I was his first hurdler that he trained to run the 400-meter hurdles, and he made me into a champion. Under his coaching, I learned what it meant to win. … He made sure that I had a work ethic, and he instilled in me a strong moral compass to stand on my own two feet and to get a good education and have all the tools I needed to be successful in life.”
“He was always giving knowledge,” said Mike Knowles, who met Mosely while coaching his daughter and became a close friend. “If you asked him something, you would get the complete answer, not just a part-answer. … He was an encyclopedia of knowledge on different things.”
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) August 8, 2022
Knowles said Mosley was “a tough coach. But all his athletes respected him. … They may not always have liked his coaching methods, but every one that he ever coached that went on to college or to the pros … came back and thanked him for being tough on them and teaching them how it’s going to be in life. And that’s what he did to all of us, basically.”
“He didn’t have to do that. He had money. He had fame. He didn’t have to go back to the community and put his time in there. But he did,” Knowles said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.