"I fund raise morning, noon and night for families with autism. I call it creative begging."
Actress, author, 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.
Her longevity and recognizability in the entertainment community has led Robinson Peete to a successful career as a spokesperson for some of the country's biggest brands. She continues her work as the multicultural spokesperson for Colgate toothpaste and in 2008, she and her children were featured as part of Skechers' Nothing Compares to Family campaign highlighting her HollyRod Foundation.
Robinson Peete recently 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 14 years can.
An accomplished author, Robinson Peete won the 2006 Quill Literacy Award with her first book "Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game: A Women's Guide to Loving Pro Football" (2005, Rodale). In March, 2010 she will release her second book, a children's picture book about autism, co-authored by her 11-year-old daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, entitled "My Brother Charlie" (Scholastic).
Robinson Peete had her first experience in front of the camera, and one could argue her philanthropic start, at the age of four when she appeared on television opposite her father, Matthew Robinson, who 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 aspire to be the next child star.
However, upon finishing her college education, Robinson Peete's heart led her back to entertainment and in 1986, she landed a starring role on the FOX television drama "21 Jump Street" opposite Johnny Depp. She has gone on to star in three additional 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 recently starred in the original Lifetime movie "Matters of Life & Dating" for which she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
Robinson Peete's junior year abroad at France's renowned Sorbonne University and performances in Paris nightclubs proved her an obvious choice to sing throughout her acting career. Not only did she perform the theme songs for both "21 Jump Street" and "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper," she also did her own signing as Diana Ross in the miniseries "The Jacksons: An American Dream."
Her successful career and longevity in the entertainment industry continues to keep Robinson Peete in the limelight and she has been able to give voice as an activist and advocate through the HollyRod Foundation. Formed in 1996 with the mission to help improve the quality of life for people plagued with devastating life circumstances, the foundation was given life through her father's sad but inspiring battle with Parkinson's disease. In 2005, inspired by her son, hollyrod4kids was formed to focus on children's causes and to improve the lives of children affected by circumstances beyond their control. Through hollyrod4kids and her family's personal experiences, Robinson Peete has become an advocate for consistent and reliable education, outreach and support on autism. Her activism is respected around the world and she has appeared on such programs as "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Larry King Live," "CNN," "Access Hollywood" and many other news, political, informational and entertainment shows.
In addition to her philanthropic work through her own foundation, Robinson Peete has become involved in other organizations as well. As of this year, she will serve as a member of the board for two highly reputable foundations, Autism Speaks, a national organization to promote autism awareness and raise funds for the fight against the disorder, and the Los Angeles Zoo. Robinson Peete's philanthropic efforts have earned her numerous awards and honors including: The 1999 Woman of Conscience Awards, American Mentor Award, The Buddy Award presented by NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund, The Southern California Broadcasters' Association Community Service Award, 2004 Gerald R. Ford People Helping People Award, The 2004 March of Dimes Healthy Babies, Healthy Futures Award, 2004 USC Woman of Distinction Award, Anheuser Busch John E. Jacob Community Service Award, The Huntington Disease Society Distinguished Achievement Award, The 2004 and 2005 Girls Inc Mentor Award, and The 2006 A Place Called Home Humanitarian Award.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Los Angeles from the age of nine, Robinson Peete was voted "most talented" in junior 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, where she held a memorable performance with Jazz legend Lionel Hampton at the Hotel Meridian Jazz Club.
Robinson Peete and her husband of 14 years, former NFL great Rodney Peete, are the proud parents of four children. They currently reside in Los Angeles.
Holly's charity is the HollyRod Foundation
After watching her father struggle with Parkinson's disease, Holly focused her attention on forming the HollyRod Foundation with her husband, Rodney. The HollyRod foundation sets out to support families who may not have the means to treat a loved one with a serious medical condition. When their eldest son, RJ, was diagnosed with autism, Holly and Rodney expanded their foundation and started to focus on autism. Autism affects one in 91 children and treatment can put an enormous emotional and financial strain on the family. The HollyRod Foundation paves its road through the simple act of providing comfort along the way with medical, physical, and emotional support to achieve a better quality of life for individuals and their families