Matthew T. Robinson
Matthew T. Robinson, Jr. was born in Philadelphia on January 1, 1937. His father, Matthew Sr. was a postal worker and freelance columnist for the old Philadelphia Independent newspaper. His mother Marie was an elementary school teacher. Matt attended West Philadelphia High School and Penn State University.
In 1960, Matt married Dolores James and had two children, Matthew III & Holly. In 1963, Matt began writing and became a producer and on air talent at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. His career break came in the early 1969 when he became co-producer and starred as the original “Gordon” on the enormously popular Sesame Street. After leaving Sesame Street in 1972, Matt went on to produce and write films like “Save The Children” (1973) and “Amazing Grace” (1974). He also wrote several plays including the critically acclaimed off-Broadway production of “The Confessions of Stopin Fetchit”.
His most significant contribution to the entertainment community was as a television writer. He wrote for many of the most successful television in history, including “Sanford and Son” (1972) and “Eight is Enough” (1977). In 1983, he joined forces with fellow Philadelphian Bill Cosby as part of writing staff for seven successful seasons of “The Cosby Show”. As member of the Cosby team, Matt also became the show’s co-producer and solidified himself as one of the most prolific television writers of his generation.
In 1982, at the age of 44, Matt was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Though it limited his ability to function at full capacity during his tenure on The Cosby Show, working on it helped alleviate some of the emotional and physical torment that the disease was waging on his body and mind. Having faith in Matt’s comic sensibilities and work ethic, Mr. Cosby was extremely supportive throughout the run of the show.
In 1994, Matt received the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” from his alma mater Penn State University honoring his many achievements in film and television. This was an especially proud moment for him and his family.
Moved by Matt’s courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease, daughter Holly and son-in-law Rodney Peete created the HollyRod Foundation in 1997. This organization is dedicated to providing medical, physical, and emotional support those suffering with Parkinson’s disease and autism. The HollyRod Compassionate Care program operates within the Center for Parkinson’s Research and Movement Disorders at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California provides low or no-cost treatment with a comprehensive spectrum of services directed at meeting the healthcare needs of under-served Parkinson’s patients.