- Served in the U.S. Air Force, then worked for the post office for eight years.
- After moving to New York, studied acting with director Lloyd Richards at the celebrated Negro Ensemble Company.
- Made his Broadway debut playing Gitlow in the musical Purlie (1970).
- Hosted Saturday Night Live in 1976.
- Released an R&B album in 1992 titled Dance.
- Appeared in a series of ads for Denny's and Old Navy with Isabel Sanford, his costar on The Jeffersons.
- 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
- 1985, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
- Attended Philadelphia Academy of Dramatic Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
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