Cleavon Little was an actor from the US who was famous for portraying a black sheriff in the Academy Award-nominated comedy film Blazing Saddles. He was a skilled artist who primarily acted in movies and TV series in the 1970s and 80s. Became the first black actor to win a Tony Award for his varied yet captivating theatrical performances. He appeared in over 20 plays during his lifetime.

Cleavon’s onscreen performance first appeared terrific, and reviewers predicted that he would be a major movie actor. However, his film career could not measure up to its full potency. His most recent significant acting role was in the 11-episode television series True Colors, portraying Ron Freeman. Unfortunately, the actor died at the age of 53 in 1992.

quick info
birth placeChickasha, Oklahoma, America
birth dateJune 1, 1939
wifeValerie Wiggins
daughterAdia Millett Little
death date22 October, 1992
cause of deathcolon cancer
parentsMalachi Little and Ruby Little
net worth$1-$5 million
weight62 kgs
height6 feet 1 inch
eyes colordark brown
hair color black

Early Life

Cleavon Jake Little was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, America. He came onto this world on June 1, 1939, to Malachi Little and Ruby Little. His horoscope is Gemini. With a black ethnicity, he is an American citizen. Roy, Everett, Rosemarie, and DeEtta are the siblings that he loves and cares about. His sister DeEtta Little(West), is a singer. Moreover, she is famous for her role in the film Rocky‘s soundtrack, Gonna Fly Now.

Cleavon, being born and reared in California,  graduated from Kearny High School in 1957. He went on to San Diego College after that. Following that, he enrolled at San Diego State University. Furthermore, his college degree in dramatic arts was awarded to him in 1965.

After obtaining a scholarship offer at Manhattan’s elite Julliard School, he relocated to Nyc. Between 1965 to 1967, he trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts after finishing his education at Julliard.


In February 1967, Cleavon Little began his professional theater start in the satirical play Macbird! Then, in October 1967, he appeared in an off-Broadway version of Scuba Duba, in which he portrayed the lead character.

Further to his progress on stage, he began to catch the eye of Film industry casting agencies. Soon, he appeared in movies and tv shows such as What’s So Bad About Feeling Good in 1968 and The Felony Squad in 1968. Moreover, he gave a powerful performance in John and Mary in 1969 and Cotton Comes to Harlem in 1970.

In 1969, beginning his debut in broadway, he bagged Drama Desk Award and Tony Award for his brilliant performance. His action for the musical, Purile earned him these achievements. In 1971, he had the busiest year for the actor.

In 1974, his most robust performance featured Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles. For this, he got three Oscar Award nods. Cleavon also received a nomination for the British Academy Award for Most Promising Newcomer. During his last years, he starred in True colors and the sitcom Bagdad Cafe. In 1992, we saw his last appearance on Tales From the Crypt.

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Personal Life

In 1972, Cleavon Little betrothed to Valerie Wiggins. His wife is a British national. The pair had a happy marriage and shared a child named Adia Millett Little. However, what seemed like a happy family turned into a disaster. The duo separated in 1974 after just being married for a short time.

For the majority of his adult life, Little battled ulcers and intestinal issues. Unfortunately, on 22nd October 1992, he passed away. The cause of death was colon cancer. His death broke the heart of several fans. The people deeply loved his iconic roles and performance. He died in California, whereas his remains were strewn at the shore in New York Bay.

Cleavon’s daughter, Adia, resides in Los Angeles. Malachi Little and Ruby Little, his father, and stepmom, reside in San Diego. All the while, his siblings and sisters live in LA too.

Social Media

Since social media only existed in newspapers and magazines, we cannot find him on any platforms. Indeed, Cleavon would have been a hype in social media platforms had it been invented back then. However, his daughter is on Instagram under the name @adiamillett. With over 2k followers, her latest post was on May 21, 2021.

Net Worth

According to sources, Little’s net worth is estimated to be $1-$5 million. During his days, the actor earned quite a hefty amount for himself. Although battling health issues, he gave the audience great performances. However, his exact earnings and assets are unknown to us.

Physical Appearance

Cleavon Little is known for his wide grin and captivating eyes. Moreover, the man has a slim body type weighing around 62 kgs. His height was 6 feet 1 inch. Furthermore, he had dark brown eyes with black hair color. Unfortunately, other information regarding his measurements of his body is unavailable as of now.

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