Actress, author, talkshow host, activist and philanthropist, Holly Robinson Peete has been touched by the entertainment industry all of her life. Her career as an actress dates back more than two decades and has led her to becoming a voice for her father, her son and her community.
Robinson Peete recently joined the cast of the hit comedy series Mike & Molly shortly after successfully launching the CBS daily talk show The Talk as one of the original co-hosts. The Talk came on the heels of the enormous success Robinson Peete had on the third season of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. Making it all the way to the finals, Robinson Peete set a fundraising record for her charity, HollyRod Foundation shedding a national spotlight on two causes very personal to the Peete Family: autism and Parkinson’s disease.
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 an autism diagnosis. Through the HollyRod Foundation and her family’s personal experiences, Robinson Peete has become an advocate for consistent and reliable education, outreach and support for both Parkinson’s and autism.
Her autism advocacy also extends to her book with daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete. In 2010, Robinson Peete released her second book, an NAACP Image Award winning children’s book about autism from the sibling’s perspective, co-authored by 12-year old Elizabeth Peete, entitled My Brother Charlie (Scholastic). 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. A third book, another Scholastic children’s title is due out in 2013.
Her longevity and visibility in the entertainment community has led Robinson Peete to a successful career as a spokesperson for some of the country’s biggest brands. Robinson Peete’s consumer friendly personal brand has partnered with Target, Toys”R”Us, Colgate , Skechers, Epipen and Carnation among others.
Robinson Peete is very excited to launch a new lifestyle brand of products this summer which will be available at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods. Offering everything from women’s clothing, beauty products to home decor to pet products, the Holly Robinson Peete brand will be very comprehensive reflecting the diverse styles and needs of busy women of all backgrounds and cultures.
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 award-winning 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 also starred in the original Lifetime movie Matters of Life & Dating for which she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
Robinson Peete’s singing talents have been displayed on theme songs for both 21 Jump Street and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, and she also did her own signing as Diana Ross in the miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream. Robinson Peete says fondly that singing is her “first love and passion”.
In late 2008, Robinson Peete wrapped a successful run as an on-air personality alongside her husband Rodney on their daily radio program Meet the Peetes. Airing on the Oprah & Friends network on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, Meet the Peetes captured the reality of two working parents raising their four children, balancing their careers and being activists and advocates on issues which affect their lives. The Peetes were able to effectively balance issues, fun and family in a way only two people who have been married for 17 years can.
In addition to her philanthropic work through the HollyRod Foundation, Robinson Peete has become involved in other organizations as well. She currently serves as a member of the board of Autism Speaks, The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (LA Zoo) and the Keck School of Medicine.
Robinson Peete’s philanthropic efforts have earned her numerous awards and honors including: Ford’s Freedom Sisters, American Mentor Award, The Southern California Broadcasters’ Assoc 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 and McDonald’s 365 Black Award.
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 17 years Rodney Peete are the proud parents of four children. They currently reside in Los Angeles.