It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of a family patriarch, Charles Weldon.
His smile lit up the room and brightened up all of our lives. It was so contagious. We hear his song. His heart so strong with all the love he gave to his children, his grandchildren and his dear friends. He had a commitment to the Arts and he was cherished and adored by many for his hard work as an actor in the theater and movies. Well done is the only way to describe his life.
He was born on June 1, 1940 in Wetumka, Oklahoma to Beatrice and Roosevelt Weldon. The Weldon family relocated to Bakersfield, California in 1944 . He attended Bakersfield schools while working in nearby cotton fields until the age of seventeen, when he joined the local doo-wop group, The Paradons.
After the success of their 1960 hit single, “Diamonds and Pearls,” The Paradons dissolved, and Weldon went on to perform with the soul group, Blues For Sale, before discovering his love of acting. His sister Ann introduced him to the theater group Dialogue Black/White and playwright Oscar Brown, Jr. After appearing in the musical Hair at the Geary Theater in San Francisco, California, Weldon accepted Brown’s invitation to perform in Buck White, appearing alongside Muhammad Ali in his only Broadway appearance. In 1970, Weldon joined the Negro Ensemble Company and performed in Joseph Walker’s Ododo. In 1973, he starred in Paul Carter Harrison’s The Great MacDaddy and played Skeeter in Joseph Walker’s The River Niger. Weldon reprised the role in the 1976 film adaptation with stars James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson. He also appeared in several other films including Who's Minding the Mint? (1967), Serpico (1975), Stir Crazy (1980), Fast Walking (1982), Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992), and The Wishing Tree (1999). He appeared in several television mini-series, including A Woman Called Moses (1978) and Roots: The Next Generation (1979). His television credits also include Sanford and Son, Hill Street Blues, Kojak, St. Elsewhere, L.A. Law, and Law & Order.
Throughout his film career, Weldon continued to perform with the Negro Ensemble Company, acting in Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play in 1981. In 2004, Weldon was named artistic director of the Negro Ensemble Company. Additionally, Weldon directed Leslie Lee’s Blues in a Broken Tongue, Jimmy Barden’s Offspring, Samm Art-Williams’ The Waiting Room, and Layon Gray’s WEBEIME. Weldon also produced the Negro Ensemble Company’s Sundown Names and Night-Gone Things. Co-founder of the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc.’s Alumni Organization, Weldon received the Audelco Award for best supporting actor, the Remy award for best leading actor, and the 2006 Henry Award for the Best Supporting Actor in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean.
Charles passed away on December 7, 2018 after a short illness. Please join the family in celebrating the life and legacy of Charles Weldon, Sr. on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 11:00a.m.
Nate Holden Performing Arts Theatre
4708 West Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90016
(Details for the New York City Memorial in February will be announced.)
Sentiments may be sent to:
Charles Weldon, Jr.
180 St. Nicholas, Suite 32
New York, NY 10026
He will be deeply missed by his children Charles Weldon Jr (Lisa Mapps-Weldon), Barbara Ray Pettie (Jake) and Terrie Moore; sisters Anna Weldon,Maxine Weldon and May Frances Weldon; grandson Warren (Jessi); granddaughter’s Lauren (Matt), Tiffany, Kelly, Taylor (Mike), Loren, Jacquel, Jae, Sentella, Daelynn; great-grandson’s Irhee, Elijah and Noah; great-granddaughter Shayla; nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of cherished friends and other family.
Charles is the son of Beatrice Weldon; Grandson of Effie Alford Jennings; and Great Grandson of Matthew Alford.