Veteran actor Austin Stoker, who was best known for his roles in John Carpenter’s sophomore feature “Assault on Precinct 13” and the 1975 blaxploitation film “Sheba, Baby,” passed away on Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to renal failure. He was 92.
His wife of 43 years, Robin Stoker, announced his death on her own Facebook page on a Monday evening. In her eulogy, Robin referred to Austin as “the love of my life.”
Actor and director Bill Duke also paid tribute, calling Stoker “one of Hollywood’s underappreciated actors” and sending his best wishes to Stoker’s loved ones.
Austin Stoker appeared as Lt. Ethan Bishop, a Black police officer, in the groundbreaking indie thriller “Assault on Precinct 13,” in which Bishop and his team of criminals, civilians, and office workers must defend a police station from an invading army of street gangs members.
Stoker’s acting career advanced at the time thanks to the major role, and he became an instant film icon.
Austin Stoker starred in “Battle for the Planet of the Apes,” alongside Roddy McDowall and James Earl Jones, in 1973. He played Macdonald, the human rights hand to Caesar, played by Jones. The 1975 film “Sheba, Baby,” directed by William Girdler, featured him as Brick Williams, the P.I.’s love affair with Pam Grier.
In addition to “Airport ’75,” “Abby,” “Time Walker,” “Combat Cops,” and “The Zebra Killer,” Stoker had significant roles in “The Get-Man” and “Abby,” both of which were directed by Girdler. He had a role in Rob Zombie’s 2019 horror movie “3 From Hell.” Give Till It Hurts, a black comedy set to be released in 2022, is his most recent film credit.
Stoker portrayed Mathilda Harvey’s father, Virgil Harvey, on ABC’s groundbreaking series “Roots,” which aired in 1977. The Six Million Dollar Man, Lou Grant, Trapper John, M.D., and Murder, She Wrote! all featured him as a guest star. An additional award for Stoker’s theatrical efforts came from the Drama-Logue Critics for the play Split Second.
Stoker, whose real name is Alphonso Marshall and was born on October 7, 1930, in Trinidad, moved to New York to pursue a career in show business. In 1969, on an episode of “The Mod Squad,” he made his television debut.
He leaves behind a wife, Robin, two kids, Tiffany and Origen, and two grandkids, Marcus and Austin.