Roxie Roker, the elegant and beautiful actress best known for her role as Helen Willis on the long-running hit CBS television series "The Jeffersons," has died. She was 66.
Roker died Saturday in Los Angeles, her publicist, Cynthia Snyder, said this week. The cause of death was not revealed.
The actress, also known for her community work, had moved to Hollywood in 1975 when Norman Lear cast her in "The Jeffersons" as part of the upstairs interracial couple. Portraying the black wife Helen, she was married to white Tom Willis, portrayed by actor Franklin Cover. The couple's daughter married Lionel, son of the black title couple played by Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford.
Roker also played the role of Melissa in the 1977 epic television miniseries "Roots."
A veteran stage actress, Roker rejoined her "Jeffersons" cast members after the series ended in 1985 to perform in a stage production of the sitcom.
Born in Miami and reared in Brooklyn, Roker earned a drama degree from Howard University and studied classical acting in England.