Renowned actor John Amos, a former East Orange resident, will be a special guest at Essex County College’s 49th annual Commencement June 1, at the Prudential Center. He will receive an honorary Essex County College Associate degree during the ceremony.
“We are extremely honored to have such a distinguished guest as Mr. Amos at our Commencement,” said Essex County College President Anthony E. Munroe. “Mr. Amos is not only an outstanding actor, he is a wonderful humanitarian who cares deeply about the youth of our country,” added Dr. Munroe.
Mr. Amos, who last year was inducted into the East Orange Hall of Fame, has an impressive array of television and film credits. His stunning portrayal of Kunta Kinte/Toby in the ground breaking Roots earned Mr. Amos a well-deserved Emmy nomination.
His credits also include the popular television staples of Good Times, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The West Wing and, most recently, the Netflix series The Ranch. Among his movie roles are Coming to America and Die Hard 2.
Mr. Amos, who has born in Newark and is an East Orange High School alumnus, attended Long Beach City College in California before transferring to Colorado State University, graduating with a degree in sociology.
Mr. Amos is a veteran of the New Jersey National Guard and is an Honorary Master Chief of the U.S. Coast Guard. In fact his lifelong passion for sailing, led him to form the Halley’s Comet Foundation, an organization that introduces inner-city and at-risk children to sailing and possible maritime careers. On creating the Foundation, Mr. Amos said, “We need to protect the resources and livelihoods, not just the ones we have today, but in the future too. We have an opportunity to get it right and that’s important to the entire nation.”
His passion for working with at-risk youth stems from his years as a social worker at New York’s Vera Institute of Justice.