Howard Rollins, Actor, Dead at 46

Article excerpt

Howard Rollins, the Oscar-nominated actor who was bounced from the TV series "In the Heat of the Night" in 1993 because of drug abuse, has died at 46.

A spokeswoman for his agent said Rollins died Sunday night at Roosevelt Hospital of a bacterial infection due to complications from lymphoma, a cancer he learned six weeks ago that he had contracted.

In "In the Heat of the Night," Rollins starred opposite Carroll O'Connor as Virgil Tibbs, a black detective from the North teamed up with a white police chief in a Southern town. Rollins also had roles in the movies "A Soldier's Story" in 1984 and "Ragtime" in 1981. He was nominated for an Academy Award for "Ragtime," in which he played Coalhouse Walker, a proud musician who turns to anarchism when the mother of his child is killed by police. It was the second death of a star associated with "In the Heat of the Night." O'Connor's son, Hugh O'Connor, who played a law officer on the show, committed suicide last year at age 33 - a death his father blamed on his son's 16-year battle with drugs. …

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