Many people remember the sophisticated and fabulous Roxie Roker as Helen Willis, half of the interracial couple on ‘The Jeffersons.’ Others may know of her as Lenny Kravitz’s mom, Zoë Kravitz’s grandmother and the cousin of TV weatherman Al Roker.
Roxie Albertha Roker was born in Miami on August 28, 1929 to Albert and Bessie Roker. When Roxie was five years-old, the family moved to Brooklyn, NY for better jobs and educational opportunities for her. She would later graduate from Howard University where she was a member of the drama club and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
The character played by Ms. Roker, Helen Willis, was a black woman with a white husband, Tom (Franklin Cover), television’s first interracial couple. They were neighbors of George and Louise Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford), and the Willises’ daughter eventually married the Jeffersons’ son, Lionel. “The Jeffersons” ran for 10 years.