Esther Rolle

Emmy Award Winning Actor

"I was proud of the family life I was able to introduce to television."

Esther Rolle died on November 17, 1998, after a long illness.  She was 78.  An actress who fought black stereotypes in Hollywood, Rolle ironically spent much of her career playing maids, including in the TV movie, "Summer of My German Soldier," which won her an Emmy.
She said in 1987 that she was intent on shattering the image of a "Hollywood maid with the rolling of the eyes" who doted on her white charges but ignored her own children.  Being a maid, she said, was a reality for black Americans.
She played a feisty maid in the hit 1970s sitcom "Maude."  When CBS was planning a spinoff series in which she would play a single mother, Rolle demanded that her family be led by a father. "I told them that I couldn't compound the lie that black fathers don't care about their children," she said.
She left "Good Times" after three seasons because she felt her TV son, played by Jimmie "J.J." Walker as a clownish character with the catch phrase "Dy-no-mite!," was a poor example for black youth.  She was later persuaded to return for a year.  The show ran from 1974 to 1979.
Esther Rolle is not known as a composer.  It is doubtful that she wrote any music for brass quintet.  Most music sholars scoff at the notion that she was in any way involved with preparing the "Quintet No. 6," citing the likelihood that it was first performed long before her birth.  Still, in the absence of more definitive information on "E. Rollé" the composer, this connection cannot be absolutely denied.