South Orange community reflects on impact, loss of 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' actor Andre Braugher

Toni Yates Image
Thursday, December 14, 2023
NJ community reflects on impact, loss of actor Andre Braugher
Toni Yates talked to South Orange residents about Andre Braugher's impact on the community.

SOUTH ORANGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- The life of actor Andre Braugher, who died Monday after what his family calls a "brief illness," touched the lives of many who saw him on screen, but he especially impacted the New Jersey community of South Orange, the town he called "home."

Braugher had a voice that was meant for the world to hear, and he had the talent to match.

Braugher was born in Chicago, but South Orange, New Jersey was his home. He was no stranger to the performing arts center there, where in 2019, he starred in the play, 'Tell Them I'm Still Here.'

"His loss is an impact on not just our community, but his acting community as a whole because he was a genuine down to earth guy, and it's going to be a loss," said Sheila Corbin-Daniels, the box office manager of Sopac.

Braugher was a favorite to generations of fans, both local and worldwide.

"I used to watch him a lot with my dad, and this morning when I saw the news, that was the first person I thought of, was my dad, I remember watching those shows, the marathon shows with my dad on the couch," South Orange resident Janelle Lefter said.

His first film role was in the 1989 Oscar-winning movie 'Glory,' with Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick and Morgan Freeman.

The Julliard graduate went on to a recurring role as a detective in the remake of several Kojak movies, but then Braugher became a household name in 1993 as detective Frank Pemberton in 'Homicide: Life on the Street,' winning numerous awards for his role, including 'Best Actor for a Drama Series' in 1998.

More recently, he made a 180-degree turn, taking on comedy where he played Captain Raymond Holt in the TV series 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' for eight seasons. He also won awards for how well he brought Captain Holt to life.

Despite all of his career accolades, Braugher once said that his life outside work was most important to him, a life he shared with his wife Ami Brabson, an actress who played his wife on the 'Homicide' series. Together, they raised their three sons.

Braugher died at 61 years old after what his long-time rep called a brief illness.


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