R.I.P. Charlie Robinson, who played Mac on 'Night Court'

He was the lovable court clerk in cardigan sweaters, though not the first clerk on the sitcom.

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Charlie Robinson had the rare distinction of changing sitcoms without changing time slots. Having honed his acting skills in Houston theater and smaller television roles, Robinson landed his first major recurring role in Buffalo Bill. The comedy was a vehicle for Dabney Coleman, who played an egotistical talk show host. The mouthy "Buffalo Bill" often butt heads with his makeup artist, Newdell, portrayed by Robinson. The show lasted two short seasons, despite getting a choice slot following Cheers on NBC's stellar Thursday night lineup. When the network pulled the plug on Buffalo Bill, it moved a freshman sitcom into its place — Night Court. Robinson jumped to Night Court in its second season, meaning audiences could still find him at 9:30 PM on Thursdays, albeit in a different role.

How Robinson got his Night Court gig is interesting in itself. The courtroom comedy looked rather different in its first season. Paula Kelly was in her single season as the public defender, a position later filled most memorably by Markie Post. And the court clerk was played by Karen Austin, whose character Lana Wagner was established as a love interest for Judge Harry Stone by the writers.

Austin lost her job after just 10 episodes. At the time, her departure was explained as a lack of chemistry, but later, it was reported that she perhaps lost her role due to developing Bell's palsy. Whatever the reason, with Austin off the show, Night Court needed a new clerk. Enter Vietnam vet Macintosh "Mac" Robinson.

Robinson would play Mac for through Night Court's ninth and final season. Known for his cardigans and amiable nature, Mac was often the counterpoint to hotheaded Dan.

Following Night Court, Robinson continued to work in television until the present day. He had recurring roles on Love & WarHart of Dixie and a short run on Home Improvement. In the past year, he appeared on the Disney sitcom Raven's Home and the Freeform rom-com Love in the Time of Corona.

On July 11, Robinson passed away in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 75.

 
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Mirramanee 13 days ago
Great actor who deserved more accolades than he got in life. Particularly loved him on Night Court, which I watched without fail during its entire run. Wishing him peace in the next life and my sincere condolences to his family.
1960sChild 14 days ago
Night Court was a great comedy, unique and quirky. The main cast is the one we all loved, especially Mac. He was what is called the straight comedy character in that show, and he played it very well! Condolences to his entire family. R.I.P. Charlie Robinson and thank you for all the great years of comedy!
UTZAAKE 15 days ago
So familiar with Charlie Robinson's work on both Night Court and Buffalo Bill, but also remember when he appeared in an episode of How I Met Your Mother as the Spokane National Bank president seeing plans for his company's new headquarters which were designed by Hammond Druthers (Bryan Cranston) who had stolen the commission from Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor). Unforgettable.
jacko3 16 days ago
Eternal Blessings for Charlie Robinson ~ Amen - Alleluia!
drnogerms 16 days ago
I find it unbelievable that there is no mention of his role on the sitcom "Mom."

He played the blind neighbor of Christy Plunkett and her "mom."

Shame on whichever METV staff member wrote this article.
kilimanjaro 16 days ago
How about a Night Court marathon this weekend in his memory? And then add it to the regular lineup. It would be a much better addition than Monk!
AnnieCat7 16 days ago
RIP Charlie Robinson. Loved you on that show. I wish somebody would show Night Court again. Loved that show.
drnogerms AnnieCat7 16 days ago
It plays on the LAFF channel several times a day right now.
ELEANOR 16 days ago
I suppose that since METV features television of a certain vintage that there is naturally news of actors and actresses who have passed. Very sad to hear of their passing. What can you say -- that it is irritating, that it is sad, that it is par for the course that RIP stories appear with great regularity as we say goodbye to old friends, especially goodbye to Charlie Robinson who had a good life and did a good job on Night Court.
Sway 16 days ago
RIP Charlie Robinson, Memorable actor
denny 16 days ago
Buffalo Bill was a funny show back in the day.

RIP Charlie Robison
RobertM 17 days ago
My late mother was a big fan of "Night Court".
1960sChild RobertM 14 days ago
Same here, my mom and I loved watching Night Court every week back in the day!
WordsmithWorks 17 days ago
I always find interesting to look on IMDb to see other credits. Charlie (or Charles) Robinson had 126 credits, including six for 2020-21 (two in post production). He had a great 40-year career.
robyni23 17 days ago
RIP Charlie Robinson. Great actor
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