cleavon little
January 30, 2023

Cleavon Little: A Look at the Life and Legacy of a Hollywood Icon

Cleavon Little was an American actor and comedian best known for his roles in Blazing Saddles and Temperatures Rising. Born on June 1, 1939, in Chickasha, Oklahoma, Little began his acting career in the late 1960s and soon became a rising star in Hollywood. In this article, we will take a closer look at the life, career, and legacy of this iconic actor.

Early Life and Career

Cleavon Little was born into a family of entertainers. His father was a nightclub comedian, and his mother was a singer. After completing high school, Little moved to New York City to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

After graduation, Little began his professional career in theater, performing in various off-Broadway productions. He eventually moved on to television and film, appearing in several popular shows and movies.

Rising to Fame

LIttle’s breakthrough role came in 1974 with Mel Brooks’ critically acclaimed comedy film Blazing Saddles. He played the lead role of Sheriff Bart, a black lawman who tries to save a town from a group of racists. Little’s performance was a hit with audiences and critics alike, earning him widespread recognition and praise.

Following his success in Blazing Saddles, Little went on to appear in several other films and TV shows, including Vanishing Point, Fletch Lives, and the sitcom Temperatures Rising.

Cleavon Little’s Last Days

A sad chapter in Little’s life was his battle with colon cancer, which eventually led to his death on October 22, 1992. He was 53 years old at the time. Despite his illness, Little continued to work, making his final appearance as an actor in the 1992 episode of Tales from the Crypt.

The Legacy of Cleavon Little

Cleavon Little’s contribution to American cinema was enormous. His groundbreaking role as Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles was a milestone in the representation of black actors in Hollywood. Little’s performance paved the way for other black actors to pursue leading roles in films and helped break down barriers of racial prejudice.

In 1994, two years after his death, Little was posthumously honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to film. Today, he is remembered as a trailblazer in Hollywood who used his talent to inspire and entertain audiences for generations to come.


What was the cause of Cleavon Little’s death?

Cleavon Little died of colon cancer on October 22, 1992, in his home in Los Angeles’ Sherman Oaks neighborhood. He was 53 years old at the time of his death.

What was Cleavon Little’s last film?

Cleavon Little’s last appearance as an actor was in the 1992 episode of Tales from the Crypt titled This’ll Kill Ya.

Did Cleavon Little have any children?

Yes, Cleavon Little had one daughter named Adia Millett-Little with his ex-wife, Valerie Wiggins. They were married in 1972 and divorced two years later in 1974.

What was Cleavon Little’s net worth at the time of his death?

As of 2022, Cleavon Little’s net worth is estimated to be around $2 million.

Where is Cleavon Little buried?

Cleavon Little is buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood Hills, California.


Cleavon Little’s incredible talent and groundbreaking work in Hollywood continue to inspire and entertain audiences to this day. He was a pioneer in the representation of black actors in film, and his legacy will be remembered for generations to come. Rest in peace, Sheriff Bart.

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