Scoey Mitchell, star of the sitcom ‘Barefoot in the Park’, dies at 92

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Scoey Mitchellactor best known for his work on the sitcom’s one-season series “Bare feet in the park“, died on March 19 in Torrance, Calif., his brother, Billy Mitchell, confirmed to Variety. He was 92 years old.

In a Facebook post Monday, Mitchell’s brother wrote, “He sacrificed a lot in the fight to get black people behind the camera, in production and in positions that are taken for granted today. It is important to remember those few who opened the doors to so many people.

Born as Roscoe Mitchell Jr. on March 12, 1930 in New York City, he began his career as a stand-up comedian in nightclubs. One of his first jobs was on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in 1967, which was followed by dozens of comedic television appearances, including on “The Ed Sullivan Show“, “The Tonight Show” and ” The Carol Burnett Show”. Before moving into acting, Mitchell had a spot on the ABC comedy show “What’s It All About, World?”

In 1970, he starred as lawyer Paul Bratter in the short-lived ABC television show “Barefoot in the Park”, adapted from the play by Neil Simon. The sitcom was the first since the 1950s to have a predominantly black cast, but Mitchell was reportedly fired due to tensions between him and the show’s white writers.

“The writers of ‘Barefoot’ consulted with members of Watts’ theater workshop to learn more about “the relationship black people have when alone, without white people around”, but Mitchell felt the writers blacks should have been hired, not just consulted, worked on the sitcom,” the Washington Post reported Last year.

Mitchell’s other TV credits included a guest spot on “The Odd Couple,” a recurring role on CBS’ “Rhoda,” and roles in the TV movies “Voyage of the Yes,” “Cindy,” and “Cops.” Her only film credit was a small role in Richard Pryor’s semi-autobiographical film “Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling” in 1986.

Mitchell also had a handful of directing credits on the television series “Me & Mrs. C,” as well as the made-for-TV movie of the same name, in addition to directing episodes of the nurse sitcom “13 East.” He also wrote for “Me & Mrs. C,” as well as several TV movie writing credits, including “A Whole Lotta Fun” and “Miracle at Beekman’s Place.”

The actor also appeared on a number of popular game shows throughout his career in the 70s and 80s, including ‘Match Game’, ‘Password Plus’ and ‘Hollywood Squares’.

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