LOS ANGELES (AP) — Taurean Blacque, an Emmy-nominated actor who was known for his role as a detective on the 1980s NBC drama series “Hill Street Blues,” has died. He was 82.

Blacque’s family announced in a statement Thursday that Blaque died in Atlanta following a brief illness.

The New Jersey-native began his acting career at the Negro Ensemble Company in New York. His training at the institute helped him secure guest roles on television series including “Sanford and Son,” “What’s Happening,” “Good Times,” “Taxi” and “The Bob New Hart Show.”

Blacque’s biggest breakthrough came when he joined the cast of critically acclaimed show “Hill Street Blues,” where he portrayed the streetwise detective Neal Washington during the show’s entire run between 1981-1987. He earned an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in a drama series in 1981.

Blacque starred with Vivica Fox on the NBC soap opera “Generations,” which touched on the integration of two families – one Black and another white. He became active with the Atlanta Black Theater Company and the Black Theater Festival in North Carolina.

Blacque had two biological sons and adopted 11 children and was the spokesman for the county of Los Angeles Adoption Service.

In 1989, Blacque was asked by President George H.W. Bush to become the national spokesperson for adoption. He was survived by 12 children, 18 grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. The exact cause of death was not disclosed by his family.

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