Actor Leon Robinson is cool whenever you see him on screen. He has received critical acclaim for his portrayal of singers: David Ruffin in the 1998 NBC miniseries The Temptations and “JT” in the 20th Century Fox movie, The Five Heartbeats directed by Robert Townsend.
During this period, Robinson joined the ensemble cast of two TV series, playing the popular Jefferson Keane on HBO’s first series, Oz and as Lawrence Hill on Showtime’s Resurrection Blvd, and an uncredited role as “Joseph 13 X” in Michael Mann’s award-winning biopic, Ali starring Will Smith. Many other notable roles are also some fan favorites but it was one role that even scared the cool-character Leon, the role of Little Richard in his biopic.
“You have an added responsibility because those people have relatives and friends that know them,” explains Leon. “So you want to get, at the very least, the spirit of the person. You want to make sure you get that right. I remember the first time I ever heard anything negative about me was when they announced they cast me to play Little Richard. And I heard rumblings like, ‘He’s not ready for Little Richard,’ or ‘He can’t be Little Richard.’ And I was like, ‘Wow. OK. This is gonna be interesting.’ But once I read his book and I saw Little Richard from 1958 to 1963, when I portrayed him, I mean, he was a great-looking guy. He was a stud and he was the King of Rock and Roll. All of a sudden I was like, ‘OK, I can see myself morphing into this guy.’ I was blessed to have played all those roles.”
And it paid off. He received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Little Richard.
When not playing scene-stealing roles on the big screen, the 60-year-old actor simply known as “Leon” takes life day by day and enjoys every minute of it.
“I live in the moment, realizing tomorrow is not promised to me,” Leon admits. “My memories of what I do today is what will make me smile when tomorrow comes. Friends, Family, Movies, Music, Fatherhood, Love, Fashion, Sports, Romance all fit into my daily routine, giving me plenty of moments that make me appreciate my Life & Lifestyle. I appreciate when anyone loves what I do and graciously accept when they don’t.”
To stay in shape, Leon cooks many of his own meals and uses sports like basketball and most notably, tennis. In fact, tennis serves Leon the perfect workout in two major ways:
I. Age Defying
Researchers found that moderate-intensity tennis players 30 to 74 showed better overall lung function than non players of the sport. Tennis players also proved metabolically more fit, with improved lipid metabolism and
lower incidence of hyperlipidemia (the single most meaningful predictor of coronary heart disease). Tennis players older than 55 sported significantly better blood-cholesterol profiles.
II. Bones and Hand-Eye Coordination
In study after study, tennis was found to help bones in both sexes and in all ages. Those who started playing at a young age showed a stronger correlation than those who started at an older age, but healthier bones were maintained even after players decreased their participation. In an analysis of the impact of aging on coordination using tennis players and non-players 20 to 80, non-players showed an increasing decline in their ability to respond with advancing age, while tennis players showed no decline in response at different ages. Researchers cited evidence that in honing focus, tennis outperforms golf, running, weightlifting, inline skating and downhill skiing.
Leon continues to act and perform with his band Leon & The Peoples.