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Who Is Obba Babatunde? & his Wife?

Obba Babatunde is an acclaimed American actor, producer, director, and singer who has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. With a career spanning several decades, Babatunde has showcased his versatility, talent, and passion in numerous stage productions, films, and television shows. From his captivating performances to his behind-the-scenes contributions, Babatunde has become a respected figure in Hollywood. In this comprehensive biography, we delve into the life, achievements, and personal details of Obba Babatunde, shedding light on his journey to success.

Early Life and Education

Born on December 1, 1951, in Jamaica, Queens, New York City, Obba Babatunde, whose birth name is Donald Cohen, discovered his passion for acting at a young age. He grew up with his brother Akin Babatunde, in a loving family whose details remain private. Though his parents’ occupations are not widely known, it is believed that his father was a high school teacher, and his mother was a housewife.

Obba’s interest in acting blossomed during his time at a local elementary school, where he would often perform for his parents and friends. He was also involved in various other artistic pursuits, including singing and dancing. After completing his education at Jamaica High School in Queens, New York City, Obba embarked on his journey to pursue his passion for acting.

The Rise to Stardom

Obba Babatunde’s career in The Rise to Stardom

Obba Babatunde’s career in acting began in the theater, where he honed his skills and gained recognition for his exceptional performances. In the late 1970s, he made his Broadway debut in the musical “Timbuktu!” alongside Eartha Kitt. His captivating portrayal of the character “The Beggar” earned him a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, catapulting him into the spotlight.

Following his success on Broadway, Babatunde made his transition to film and television. In 1981, he landed a role in the critically acclaimed film “The Cotton Club,” directed by Francis Ford Coppola. This marked the start of a flourishing career in the film industry, with Babatunde going on to appear in notable films such as “After the Sunset,” “Philadelphia,” and “The Manchurian Candidate.”

Throughout the years, Babatunde has also made a significant impact on the small screen. He has appeared in numerous television shows, including “Chicago Hope,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Madam Secretary.” One of his most memorable roles was that of the charismatic and flamboyant jazz singer, C.C. White, in the hit television series “Dream On.”

In addition to his acting endeavors, Babatunde has also showcased his talent as a director and producer. He directed the award-winning play “Resurrection: The Rise and Fall of Huey P. Newton” and produced the stage adaptation of the film “Five Heartbeats.” His skills behind the camera have further solidified his reputation as a multifaceted talent in the entertainment industry.

Wife, Family and Relationships

In terms of his personal life, Obba Babatundé is a married man. Some sources

Many sources suggest that he has been married to actress and director, Debrah Sharpe-Babatundé since 1998. It’s also mentioned that he was first married to actress and singer, Vanessa Bell Calloway, from 1985 to 1991.

Obba Babatundé is the father of two children. He has two sons, one of whom is named Antar Tarak Babatundé. Another source suggests that he has a son named Ajumeke and a daughter named Aanisah. However, the details about his family and relationships are quite private and not much is publicly known.

In his professional life, Babatundé has featured in more than seventeen stage productions, thirty theatrical films, sixty made-for-television movies, and two prime-time series. He was nominated for Broadway’s 1982 Tony Award as Best Actor for Dreamgirls. He was awarded the 1991 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Lead Performance for “Jelly’s Last Jam” at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Babatundé has also featured the role of Berry Gordy Jr. in the television movie, The Temptations (1998).

Personal Life and Advocacy

While Obba Babatunde has been open about his professional life, he prefers to keep his personal life private. Details about his relationships and family remain undisclosed. However, it is evident that his passion for his craft and dedication to his work have been driving forces in his life.

Beyond his contributions to the entertainment industry, Babatunde is also known for his advocacy work. He has been actively involved in raising awareness about various social issues, including HIV/AIDS prevention and education. His efforts have earned him recognition and awards from organizations such as the NAACP and the Black AIDS Institute.

Legacy and Impact

Obba Babatunde’s impact on the entertainment industry cannot be overstated. His ability to seamlessly transition between theater, film, and television is a testament to his versatility and talent. His powerful performances, magnetic presence, and dedication to his craft have made him a beloved figure in Hollywood.

Moreover, Babatunde has paved the way for future generations of Black actors and artists, breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes. His success in an industry that has historically lacked diversity serves as an inspiration to aspiring actors of all backgrounds.


Obba Babatunde’s journey to success in the entertainment industry is a testament to his talent, resilience, and passion for his craft. From his early days on Broadway to his notable film and television roles, he has captivated audiences

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