For many, March 18 is simply the day after St. Patrick’s Day, but for comedy lovers, it also marks the anniversary of the untimely tragic death of comedic legend Robin Harris.
Originally from Chicago, Harris grew up most of his life in Los Angeles before moving to Kansas for college, where he began his career as a stand-up comedian. Before long, his shows had drawn sold-out crowds and he soon moved into mainstream film and television with roles in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988), Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989), Eddie Murphy’s Harlem Nights (1989), Mo’ Better Blues (1990), and most notably, as Pop, the father of Kid in House Party (1990).
While Harris, unfortunately, died of a heart attack on March 18, 1990, in his hotel room after performing to a sold-out crowd, his legacy has managed to live on in more ways than one. Not only was his son was born a few months after his death, but the comedy world managed to bring him to life in House Party 2, where early 90’s special effects brought his picture to life saying, “Keep your mind on them books and off them ‘gals!”
Additionally, he had been slated to star in a full-length feature film, Bebe’s Kids, which was based on his comedy sketches of the same name. While his death prevented the movie from ever being made, it was adapted into a cartoon film. The animated feature film was written and produced by the Hudlin Brothers, directed by Bruce W. Smith, and featured the voices of other celebrities such as Faizon Love (as Harris), Vanessa Bell Calloway, Marques Houston, Nell Carter, Jonell Green, Rich Little, and Tone Lōc.
While it’s been almost 30 years since his death, Harris’s legacy continues to inspire generations of comedians and actors- as well as keep audiences laughing.