Character actor Roger Mosley, who appeared in a slew of television shows and films in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s but was best known for his regular appearances on “Magnum, P.I.,” died Sunday at the age of 83, his daughter announced.
“Roger E. Mosley, my father, your friend, your ‘Coach Moseley, your ‘TC’ from Magnum P.I., passed away at 1:17 am,” Ch-a Mosley posted on Facebook. “He was surrounded by family as he transcended peacefully. We could never mourn such an amazing man. He would HATE any crying done in his name. It is time to celebrate the legacy he left for us all. I love you daddy. You loved me too. My heart is heavy but I am strong. I will care for mommy, your love of almost 60 years. You raised me well and she is in good hands. Rest easy.”
Mosley died Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from injuries he sustained in a car crash Thursday in Lynwood, Ch-a Mosley told the Los Angeles Times.
After the crash, which left him paralyzed from the shoulders down, Mosley was taken to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood and then transferred to Cedars-Sinai, according to The Times. His death was first reported by Rich Gonzalez of PrepCalTrack, a website that covers high school track and field in California.
Mosley played helicopter pilot Theodore “T.C.” Calvin on “Magnum, P.I.,” which was a smash hit for CBS from 1980-88. He came out of retirement to play Booky, T.C.’s barber, on a “Magnum” reboot episode in 2019.
Mosley was born in Los Angeles and attended Jordan High School.
In addition to “Magnum, P.I.,” he appeared on “Night Court,” “Kung Fu,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Kojak,” “The Rockford Files,” “Baretta” and “Sanford and Son.”
On the big screen, his film roles included 1974’s “McQ” with John Wayne, 1977’s “Semi-Tough” with Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson, 1990’s “Heart Condition” with Denzel Washington and Bob Hoskins, and 1994’s “Pentathlon” with Dolph Lundgren.
Mosley also portrayed heavyweight champion Sonny Liston in the 1977 Muhammad Ali biopic, “The Greatest.”
Mosley was also a longtime high school track and field coach. He was an assistant coach at Monrovia High School at the time of his death.
“My dad was always a man of the community,” Ch-a Mosley told The Times. “Even while famous and having this successful career in Hollywood, he continued to work with youth.
“He personally coached me. I was his first hurdler that he trained to run the 400-meter hurdles, and he made me into a champion. Under his coaching, I learned what it meant to win. … He made sure that I had a work ethic and he instilled in me a strong moral compass to stand on my own two feet and to get a good education and have all the tools I needed to be successful in life.”
Mosley also coached a variety of other sports, including swimming and basketball.
“He was always giving knowledge,” Monrovia High track coach Mike Knowles told The Times. “If you asked him something, you would get the complete answer, not just a part-answer. … He was an encyclopedia of knowledge on different things.”
Knowles met Mosley while training Ch-a Mosley at John Muir High School in Pasadena before he and Mosley became longtime friends and coaching partners.
Knowles told The Times Mosley was a perfectionist who repeatedly declined offers to coach track and field at the college level because he preferred to discover young local talent and mold them into champions.
“He was a tough coach,” Knowles told The Times. “But all his athletes respected him. … They may not always have liked his coaching methods, but everyone that he ever coached that went on to college or to the pros … came back and thanked him for being tough on them and teaching them how it’s going to be in life. And that’s what he did to all of us, basically.
“He didn’t have to do that. He had money. He had fame. He didn’t have to go back to the community and put his time in there. But he did.”