Lester Rawlins

Lester Rawlins (September 24, 1924 - March 22, 1988) was an American stage, screen, and television actor. He graduated from the Carnegie Mellon College of Drama in 1950 with a BFA.[1]

Born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, Rawlins appeared in off-Broadway productions of Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, Winterset, In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, and Nightride, for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance.[2]

His Broadway credits included A Man for All Seasons and Da, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. Rawlins also won Obie Awards for his performance in the 1964 off-Broadway production of the play The Old Glory by the poet Robert Lowell[3] and for his performances in off-Broadway productions of Brendan Behan's The Quare Fellow and Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler.[4][5]

On television, Rawlins had recurring roles on The Defenders, Kojak, The Secret Storm and Ryan's Hope. His feature films included Diary of a Mad Housewife and They Might Be Giants. Rawlins was a regular on the CBS soap opera, The Edge of Night for several years, where he played the role of wealthy Orin Hillyer.[6]

He also could be heard on television and radio commercials, and was most notably the voice-over for the Dunkin' Donuts TV and radio advertising campaign created by the New York advertising agency Ally & Gargano.


Rawlins died of cardiac arrest in New York City in 1988.


Year Title Role Notes
1970Diary of a Mad HousewifeDr. Linstrom
1971They Might Be GiantsBlevins
1976God Told Me ToBoard Chairman
1977A Secret SpaceKevin King
1983LovesickSilent Patient


  1. CMU School of Drama: Notable Alumni Archived 2015-08-03 at Archive.today, drama.cmu.edu; accessed June 8, 2015.
  2. Lester Rawlins at the Lucille Lortel Archives, lortel.org; accessed June 8, 2015.
  3. "The Old Glory Revival, Article in Playbill". Playbill.com. 2011-09-22. Archived from the original on 2012-01-29. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  4. "NY Times Obituary". Nytimes.com. 1988-03-29. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
  5. Lester Rawlins at the Internet Broadway Database
  6. Lester Rawlins on IMDb
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