Rosalind Cash worked steadily from her debut in Klute with Jane Fonda, until her death from cancer in 1995, the year of her final film role, which was Tales From the Hood.
Cash made a huge splash alongside Charlton Heston in The Omega Man before she found herself playing roles in blaxploitation films. Then she appeared in several blaxploitation films before the 70s came to an end and she focused more on television roles.
Cash was another of those female actors who was more than capable of being an on-screen badass, as she proved in Omega Man, but didn’t really get the chance to show that side of her talent again. Like so many other actresses of the era, she was relegated to being the girlfriend, the mother, the sister, or the anything else but the lead in a film. Had she been in her prime 30 years later she likely would have been another Milla Jovovich or Michelle Rodriguez.
Why We Love and Respect Her: After making an impact with her role in Omega Man, she then made movies like Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, The Monkey Hustle and Death Drug. Whether she did it because she wanted to, or whether it was all that was being offered, is irrelevant as far as we’re concerned.
Best Known For: Omega Man, obviously, and maybe for being Dorothy’s black daughter in law in an episode of The Golden Girls.
Rosalind Cash in Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde as Dr. Billie Worth
Blaxploitation Role Call:
Melinda (1972) as Terry Davis: Terry is a former lover of radio DJ Frankie J. Parker, and becomes involved in a mafia-ordered hit on Melinda, Frankie’s current squeeze. Melinda was the former girlfriend of MItch, a local crime boss, and when she left him, she took some valuable information with her and he wants it back. After they kill Melinda, they set their sights on Frankie because there are still unresolved issues with Melinda’s transgression. Terry tries to help Frankie, but becomes a victim herself.
Amazing Grace (1974) as Creola Waters: Who doesn’t love a good movie about corrupt local politics, and a community of people trying to put an end to such shenanigans? Well, that’s what you have here in Amazing Grace. While it was primarily a vehicle for Moms Mabley, it also featured Moses Gunn, Slappy White, and Rosalind Cash.Cash is Creola, the wife of Welton Waters, Grace’s neighbor, who is running for political office, but is in reality little more than a pawn for the corrupt political machine looking to suck money out of the community and into their own pockets. Creola drinks too much, and is a bit snooty with the women in town, and is also a participant in the effort to get Welton elected under false pretenses.
Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde (1976) as Dr. Billie Worth: Dr. Worth’s boyfriend, Dr. Pryde, is working on a cure for liver disease, and eventually tries the serum he’s created on himself. The result is he’s turned into an ashy-white madman who likes to kill whores.
The Monkey Hustle (1976) as Vi’s Mama: Win is Baby D’s older brother and gets sucked into a small-time hustling gang when he returns from being on tour with his band and finds Baby D already involved. Win’s girlfriend, Vi, has kicked him to the curb for an older man, despite her mother’s protests. , and he hates seeing his younger brother among a group of young guys who get sucked into an apprenticeship at Monkey Hustle Inc., with Daddy Foxx, Yaphet Kotto,
Death Drug (1978) as Doctor Harris: This is one of those movies I’ve heard about for years, but still have not managed to actually see, unfortunately. This thing is notorious for its over-the-top portrayal of the effects of PCP. When it comes to Rosalind Cash’s role in the movie, I can’t say exactly what it is because I’ve read several different versions of it. I know this is a horrible description of a movie, and it falls short of every other one I’ve done this month, but it is what it is. Here’s the IMDB nutshell plot:
A young man in Los Angeles dreams of striking it big as a singer in the music business. One day he gets signed to a big record contract, but along with the fame and money he develops an addiction to the drug PCP.
Rosalind Cash in Death Drug as Dr. Harris
Working: The Black Actress in the Twentieth Century, Rosalind Cash, by Irma McClaurin-Allen, University of Massachusetts Amherst, A Journal of African and Afro-American Studies, Volume 8, Article 6, 1-1-1986
Cash talks about her youth, how she began acting, and the role of race in film based on her experiences from the 1960s-1980s. It’s a damn good read. Here’s something she said regarding her efforts to learn acting:
If you had a play I would do it for a meal. I did shows in churches, basements, people’s houses, and storefronts. I traveled through the South-before the CiviI Rights Bill was passed-in a station wagon with a little heater in the middle. I went to a lot of junior colleges, dressed in the ladies’ room, stayed over in people’s houses because we couldn’t afford to stay anywhere. So I had a lot of rough training. I never went to an institution to leam.