Esther Rolle, 78, who played the maid in the hit 1970s...

DEATHS ELSEWHERE

November 19, 1998

Esther Rolle, 78, who played the maid in the hit 1970s sitcom "Maude" and the strong-willed mother who kept her ghetto family together in the spinoff series "Good Times," died Tuesday at a hospital in Culver City, Calif., her spokesman Larry Calhoun said.

The cause of death was not determined, but she had diabetes and was undergoing dialysis, Mr. Calhoun said.

A crusader against black stereotypes in movies, Ms. Rolle 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.

When CBS was planning a "Maude" spinoff series in which Ms. Rolle was to play a single mother, she demanded that her family be led by a father.

Pub Date: 11/19/98

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