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


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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