Friday, October 17, 2014



You know you are definitely an A-Lister in Hollywood if someone can Google you by only your first name and get results.  I'm talking about the one, the only Leon. True fans know his full name is Leon Preston Robinson, born March 18 and raised in The Bronx.  He has been in the business we know as entertainment since 1982 and has appeared in well over 30 films and theater productions. My favorite films are "The Five Heart Beats", "Above the Rim", "Waiting To Exhale", "The Temptations", "The Woman of Brewster Place" and who can forget his memorable role in "Little Richard".  

As an actor you have to embody the characters and become one with them. Leon has played some heavy, meaty characters to the point where you no longer recognized Leon; you only see the character he portrayed. It takes a skilled actor a few years to perfect becoming unrecognizable as yourself as you become the character.  "It makes me feel really good when someone comes up to me and remembers a line from one of my films", says Leon.  "They will try to imitate the way I said the line in the movie and that's a great compliment to me. The Five Heartbeats is fictitious story however; The Temptations and the Little Richard story were real, breathing people. They have family and friends who know them. Therefore, I have to embody that person by studying how they lived", explains Leon.  "It's a great complement to me when family and friends say that I bought the person to life."  Leon’s talent was so undeniable that he earned a best actor nomination from the NAACP.
 Actors tend to become natural directors and producers of movies because they understand the role of the actor and how to communicate with them. Leon challenged himself by putting on a producer's hat while also starring in the romantic drama, "The Price Of Kissing". "It was natural for me to produce because I have my own production company and I have been producing my own projects for years," says Leon.

Some say it's a small world and that is true within the directing/producing world in Hollywood as well. Leon has worked with major directors such as Forest Whitaker, Robert Townsend in his web series "Diary Of A Single Mom" and Bill Duke in "Cover". You would think it might be a little intimidating for him to work with such great minds however, Leon said it was actually very easy to work with them because they are all actors.  This is one of the reasons why the communication between the actor and director can flow with ease on a set.  "It's a little challenging for an actor to work with a director who has never been an actor. The communication sometimes gets lost and can become a little frustrating.  This is true especially for new directors", says Leon.
When you see people become successful at what they love doing, you wonder if they always knew it as a child growing up. Leon responds, "As a child I wanted to be a priest. I attended parochial schools most of my life and saw that the priest was always the only one talking and I thought, 'I could do that'.”  He laughs and says, “That may have been my introduction to being onstage."

There are some actors who sleep, eat and breathe their craft.  They will tell you without hesitation that their first love is always the theater. "Theater is the mother of acting", explains Leon.  "You get an immediate response from the audience when you're on stage. You don't have to wait to see how it's doing at the box office to know if your audience likes your performance or not."  Well, if his sellout shows night after night is any indication, then Leon knows exactly how his audience feels after his performances.   Leon headlined three national theater tours with sold out performances at the Hollywood's Kodak Theater, New York City's Beacon Theater, Detroit's Fox Theater, and the Warner Theater in DC.  The feeling you get when you take your curtain call is indescribable to an actor and it can become addicting. This may be one of the reasons why actors love theater so much.  You appreciate your audience and send out such a serge of energy and love that the audience can feel it and will give it right back to you in the form of applause and a standing ovation.

Not only does Leon have his own production film company, but he also has a band as well, which he calls, Leon And The Peoples.  Only Leon's trusted loyal fans knew that he was such a talented vocalist and songwriter. The band is so good that they received an international reggae and world music award nomination plus they also completed a 36 city US tour with reggae's greatest bands.  The bands single entitled, Love Is A Beautiful Thing is so inspiring as well as a hot, feel-good tune that they created a reggae version. At first I thought Leon And The Peoples was a reggae band until I heard the single. It is a fun love song that just makes you feel good all over.  "I am always fascinated by love and how people love each other,” says Leon.   “The reggae version is doing better than the original version.”  The music video to the song can be seen exclusively on his websites and If you look closely at the music video of Love Is A Beautiful Thing, you will be able to get a glimpse of Leon's daughter, Noelle who also makes a guest appearance in the music video.
Speaking of his daughter I asked if she showed any signs of following in his footsteps or her mother’s footsteps, Cynthia 'supermodel' Bailey.  "Of course she wants to be a model because of her mother and she is showing little signs of wanting to act however, I want her to do the things that she wants to do," says Leon.  Viewers got a chance to see Leon when he appeared on an episode of Atlanta Housewives because Cynthia Bailey is one of the main cast members. We got a glimpse into how wonderful they are able to co-parent even though they are not together. It was also nice to see Leon and Peter, Cynthia's husband interact with each other. It was a breath of fresh air to see everyone getting along and there was no arguing. I asked Leon if Cynthia had to twist his arm to be on the show and he replied, "I want to know the person who is in my child's life. I will support Cynthia in whatever she is doing. I want people to know that I take care of my child. I want people to know that Cynthia and I are raising our daughter together. Most people know I am Noelle’s father so to not appear on the show would make it look like I don't have an active role in my daughters life and I do."  

We talked a little bit more about how people fall out of love with each other and will tend to not get along even though they have children together. We both tried to explain to each other why relationships get to the point where you don't like each other anymore. Leon said, "It doesn't make sense to not be friends with someone you had a child with. You are bonded together for life because of this child. How can you be mad with the woman who gave birth to your child?" We were silent for a moment because you can't really speak for other people or begin to know their journey.  It’s just like that age-old question… How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know.
 There are a lot of projects and movie roles that Leon has cooking in the fire. One is with Troy Byer who will be directing him in a romantic comedy entitled, “I really Hate My Ex”.  Other upcoming film projects include, “Soul Ties” and “And Then There Was You”.  With Leon’s production company, movie roles and touring with his band, he is definitely not an actor who is sitting on the couch doing nothing.  He explained to me that even though you don't see some actors it doesn't mean they're sitting on the couch.  "The public doesn't get to see a lot of things that happened behind the scenes,” says Leon. “Actors could be working on a sitcom that never gets picked up or you may see a show that is only on the air for three episodes and then it's cancelled.  So just because you don't see them doesn't mean they aren't working."

You can get your copy of Love Is A Beautiful Thing on iTunes now and also visit his website where you can own a Love Is A Beautiful Thing tee shirt.  I love the tee because is looks cute and girly; not like those standard boxy mannish tees.  Leon adds, “I made sure to use the nice, soft cotton that fits all body types.”
Get your t shirt today
As we came to the close of the interview, I just had to tell Leon that he looks like he has not aged one second.  After all he was voted one of the sexiest actors of all time.  “I just stay consistent with everything that I do.  I play tennis, I moisturize and I try to be stress free,” says Leon.  “If there are people around me who are stressed out, I just stay away.”

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