Herbert Middleton, Jr.
May 10, 1941
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Taurean Blacque (born Herbert Middleton, Jr.; May 10, 1941) is an American television and stage actor, best known for his role as Detective Neal Washington on the series Hill Street Blues. He has said he chose the name "Taurean" because his astrological sign is Taurus. He also is a past national spokesman for adoptive services, having been one of the first single black men in the United States to adopt a child. Blacque is a born-again Christian and has told reporters that his faith influenced his desire to be involved with adoption.
Blacque was born in Newark, New Jersey. Before appearing on television, Blacque trained and performed at the New Federal Theatre in New York, a theater founded to provide opportunities to minorities and women. Early in his acting career, Blacque began making guest appearances in sitcoms such as What's Happening!!, Sanford and Son, The Bob Newhart Show, The Tony Randall Show, Good Times, and Taxi, and auditioned for permanent roles on others, including Venus Flytrap on WKRP in Cincinnati, eventually played by Tim Reid.
In 1981 he joined the cast of the police drama Hill Street Blues, staying with the show throughout its run, which ended in 1987. While appearing on that show, he was nominated in 1982 for the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, but lost to fellow Hill Street actor Michael Conrad, in a year in which all the nominees in the category came from the same series. His theatrical career continued during his run on the show, winning him an NAACP Image Award for Best Actor (Local) in 1985 for his role in Amen Corner. In 1986 his stage roles included the male lead in the musical Don't Get God Started during its initial six-week summer run in Beverly Hills.
After Hill Street ended, Blacque moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to provide a better home for his children. In Atlanta, he has focused on theatrical work while making occasional guest appearances on television. Notable stage performances include Stepping Into Tomorrow with Yolanda King in 1987, and a 1988 revival of Ceremonies in Dark Old Men. Television work included a pilot, Off-Duty, for CBS, in which Blacque once again played a police officer; the show was not picked up by the network. Blacque also had a small role in Disney's animated film Oliver & Company. In 1989, he portrayed Henry Marshall on NBC's Generations. Film work in this period included a lead role in the 1989 science-fiction film DeepStar Six.
Blacque initially was asked to serve as spokesman for the County of Los Angeles Adoption Services office though he had no adoptive children at the time. Upon looking into adoption, he claims he was told that as a single black male, he was not eligible to adopt; however, he pressed on, eventually adopting ten children in addition to the two sons he already had.
|1979||Beyond Death's Door|
|1981-1987||Hill Street Blues||Det. Neal Washington||144 episodes|
|1988||Oliver & Company||Roscoe||Voice|