Actress, author, talk show host, activist and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete has been touched by the entertainment industry almost of her life. Her career as an actress dates back more than three decades and has led her to becoming a voice for her father, her son and her community.
She was recently seen at the center of Hallmark Channel’s new and very first primetime family docu-series, “Meet the Peetes,” which will be returning for a second season in 2019. Earlier this year, she starred in the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Original Movies “Morning Show Mysteries: Mortal Mishaps” and “Morning Show Mysteries: Murder on the Menu,” based on the novel by Al Roker and Dick Lochte.
Robinson Peete had her first experience in front of the camera at the age of four when she appeared on television opposite her father, Matthew Robinson, who served as a producer and portrayed the original beloved character of Gordon on the iconic children’s program “Sesame Street.” While she knew even at that young age her calling was to be an actress, Robinson Peete opted to lead a typical childhood rather than searching to be the next child star.
However, upon finishing her college education, Robinson Peete’s heart led her back to entertainment. In 1986, she landed a starring role on the FOX television drama “21 Jump Street” opposite unknown cast members including Johnny Depp. She went on to star in many other successful television series including “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” “For Your Love” and “One on One.” Robinson Peete’s successful television career places her as one of only a handful of actresses to star in four shows in syndication. In addition, she had a recurring role on hit comedy series “Mike & Molly” as well as NBC’s hit dram series “Chicago Fire.”
In 1997, Robinson Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, formed the HollyRod Foundation, inspired by her father’s courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease, with the mission to help improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s. Then in 2005, inspired by their eldest son’s autism diagnosis, HollyRod Foundation’s mission expanded to provide support and resources to those affected by autism. Through the HollyRod Foundation and her family’s personal experiences, Robinson Peete has become one of the most trusted advocates for consistent and reliable education, outreach and support for both Parkinson’s and autism.
Her autism advocacy also extends to her book co-written with daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, entitled My Brother Charlie (Scholastic): a bestselling, NAACP Image Award-winning children’s book about autism from the sibling’s perspective. With her first book Get Your Own Damn Beer, I’m Watching the Game: A Women’s Guide to Loving Pro Football (2005, Rodale), Robinson Peete won the 2006 Quill Literacy Award. The follow-up to the children’s book entitled Same But Different: Teen Life on The Autism Express – which was co-authored by her twins Ryan Elizabeth & RJ – was released in spring 2016.
Her longevity and visibility in the entertainment community has led Robinson Peete to a successful career as a brand ambassador/spokesperson for some of the country’s biggest brands. Robinson Peete’s consumer and mom friendly personal brand has partnered with Target, Toys 'R' Us, Colgate, Skechers, Epipen, Carnation and AARP among others.
Robinson Peete’s singing talents have been displayed on theme songs for both “21 Jump Street” and “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.” She also did her own singing as Diana Ross in the miniseries “The Jacksons: An American Dream.” Robinson Peete says fondly that singing is her “first love and passion.”
In addition to her philanthropic work through the HollyRod Foundation, Robinson Peete has become involved with other organizations as well. She currently serves as a member of the board of her alma mater Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine's Board of Overseers.
Robinson Peete’s philanthropic efforts have earned her numerous awards and honors including: Ford’s Freedom Sisters, American Mentor Award, The Southern California Broadcasters’ Association Community Service Award, Gerald R. Ford People Helping People Award, The March of Dimes Healthy Babies, Healthy Futures Award, USC Woman of Distinction Award, Anheuser Busch John E. Jacob Community Service Award, The Genii Award, The Girls Inc. Mentor Award, A Place Called Home Humanitarian Award, McDonald’s 365 Black Award, Los Angeles Magazine’s Most Inspirational Women Award, and many more.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Los Angeles from the age of nine, Robinson Peete was voted “most talented” in high school alongside fellow classmate and future actor Rob Lowe. She did her undergraduate studies at the prestigious Sarah Lawrence College where she majored in Psychology and French. She spent her junior year studying abroad at Sorbonne University in France and became fluent in the language. Robinson Peete and husband of 20+ years, Rodney Peete, are the proud parents of four children ages 12-20. They currently reside in Los Angeles.