Born on December 18, 1938, in Los Angeles, California, and raised by his mother, Eloise, Mosley grew up in the Imperial Courts public housing in the Watts neighborhood. For high school, Mosley attended Jordan High School
Mosley appeared as Monk in Terminal Island (1973). Other actors in the feature were Phyllis Davis, Don Marshall, Ena Hartman, and Tom Selleck, who would later star in the television series Magnum, P.I. which would also feature Mosley. In 1974, Mosley founded the Watts Repertory Company.
Mosley’s most prominent film role was his 1976 starring turn as the title character in Leadbelly, a biography of the musician directed by Gordon Parks. In an article in the November 1982 issue of Ebony magazine, Mosley said that this was his favorite role.
Mosley appeared in Magnum, P.I. from 1980 to 1988. He had a role as Tom Selleck’s friend, helicopter pilot Theodore “T.C.” Calvin, who operates his own tourist charter, Island Hoppers. He appeared in season five of Las Vegas as the billionaire friend of Montecito owner A.J. Cooper (Tom Selleck).
Mosley came out of retirement to appear on the Magnum, P.I. reboot episode “A Kiss Before Dying” as Booky, T.C.’s barber, on March 11, 2019. Stephen Hill, who played T.C. in the new series, said, “It is truly an honor for us to welcome an original cast member of Magnum, P.I.; one who embodied the role of T.C. with such thoughtful and dignified talent.
Mosley also guest-starred on such shows as Night Court, Kung Fu, Starsky & Hutch, Kojak, The Rockford Files, Baretta, and Sanford and Son. He also played a role in Roots: The Next Generations. Mosley made a memorable appearance in the 1973 film The Mack as the militant brother of the main character Goldie. He appeared in other blaxploitation films of the period, including Hit Man (1972); Sweet Jesus, Preacherman (1973); Darktown Strutters (1975); and The River Niger (1976).
Mosley’s other film credits include McQ (1974) with John Wayne, The Greatest (1977, as Sonny Liston), Semi-Tough (1977), Heart Condition (1990), and Pentathlon (1994). He also starred in the television series Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper (1992–1993) as Coach Ricketts in a recurring role with comedian/actor Mark Curry, and in the film A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) with Martin Lawrence, Lynn Whitfield, and Bobby Brown.
He also appeared as a celebrity guest on The $25,000 Pyramid for a week’s worth of shows in July 1983, July 1984, and June 1985.[19
Thank you to the New York Tristate Owner and Operators Association for your continued support of the Black Community.
All featured faces of Black History are not captured in the 2023 theatre production.