Robin Harris

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Robin Harris Sr.
Birth nameRobin Hughes Harris Sr.
Born(1953-08-30)August 30, 1953
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedMarch 18, 1990(1990-03-18) (aged 36)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
MediumStand-up, film
Years active1979–1990
Exetta Harris
(m. 1984)
ChildrenRobin Harris Jr.

Robin Hughes Harris Sr. (August 30, 1953 – March 18, 1990) was an American comedian and actor, best known for his recurring comic sketch about "Bébé's Kids".[1] He was posthumously nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his performance in the film House Party.


Harris was born in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Earl, was a welder, and his mother, Mattie, was a factory seamstress.[2]

In 1961, the family moved to Los Angeles, where he attended Manual Arts High School. Harris then attended Ottawa University in Kansas. During this time, he began to hone his craft of comedy. He worked for Hughes Aircraft, a rental car company, and Security Pacific Bank to pay his bills. In 1980, he debuted at Los Angeles' Comedy Store.[citation needed]


During the mid-1980s, Harris worked as the master of ceremonies at the Comedy Act Theater. His "old school" brand of humor began to gain him a mainstream following. Harris made his acting debut playing a bartender in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988). Harris also had roles in 1989's Do the Right Thing and Harlem Nights. Harris played the father of Kid in House Party (1990). He followed up later that year with a small role as a jazz club MC in Mo' Better Blues.

Bé-bé's Kids[edit]

In Harris' "Bé-bé's Kids" routines, Harris' girlfriend Jamika would insist that he take her son and her friend Bé-bé's three children with them on a date, as she continually agreed to babysit them. The children would regularly make a fool out of and/or annoy Harris. "We Bé-bé's kids", they would proclaim, "we don't die...we multiply."[3]

The Hudlin Brothers had intended to make a feature film based upon the "Bé-bé's Kids" sketches, but Harris died while the film was in pre-production. Bébé's Kids instead became an animated feature. It was directed by Bruce W. Smith and featured the voices of Faizon Love (as Harris), Vanessa Bell Calloway, Marques Houston, Nell Carter, Jonell Green, Rich Little, and Tone Lōc.[4][5]


While sleeping in the early hours of March 18, 1990, Harris died at the age of 36 of a heart attack in the hotel room of his hometown Chicago's Four Seasons Hotel after performing for a sold-out crowd at the Regal Theater.[6] His brother found him dead. Harris was transported back to California and interred in an indoor mausoleum at Inglewood Park Cemetery, near Los Angeles.

At the time of Harris's March 1990 death, his wife was pregnant with their son, Robin Harris Jr.,[6] who was born six months later, in September 1990.

The second episode of sketch comedy show In Living Color aired just over a month after his death, and was dedicated to his memory.[7]

In 2006, a posthumous DVD, titled We Don't Die, We Multiply: The Robin Harris Story (2006), was released. The film features never-before-seen performances by Harris and accolades from such contemporaries as Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, D. L. Hughley, Robert Townsend, and Joe Torry.[8] The film features a rap performed and dedicated to Harris by his son, Robin Jr.[9]

Award nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Film or series
1991 Independent Spirit Award Nominated Best Supporting Male House Party


  1. ^ Christon, Lawrence (1992-07-28). "Comic's Legacy: 'Bebe's Kids'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
  2. ^ Robin Harris; Tragedy of a Funny Man; At His Funeral in Los Angeles, Tribute to a `Down-Home' Comedian; March 26, 1990; David Mills; The Washington Post via; accessed February 24, 2016.
  3. ^ "Robin Harris - Bebe's Kids". YouTube.
  4. ^ James, Caryn (1992-08-01). "Bebe's Kids (1992)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  5. ^ Wilson, John M. (1991-10-11). "In Living Color". Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  6. ^ a b Norwood, Robyn (1997-10-22). "A New Act to Catch". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  7. ^ "Robin Harris - Credits". IMDb. Retrieved 2023-04-28.
  8. ^ Watson, Margeaux (2006-10-26). "We Don't Die, We Multiply: The Robin Harris Story DVD Review". Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  9. ^ Kennedy, John (2006-10-18). "Robin Harris' life and comic legacy depicted in new documentary". Archived from the original on November 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-08-21.

External links[edit]