Robert Townsend (born February 6, 1957) is an American actor, comedian, film director, and writer. Townsend is best known for directing the films Hollywood Shuffle (1987), Eddie Murphy Raw (1987), The Meteor Man (1993), and various other films and stand-up specials, especially his eponymous self-titled character as the starring role as Robert Peterson on The WB sitcom The Parent ‘Hood (1995–1999), in which he created the series, as well as directing episodes and Donald “Duck” Matthews in 1991’s The Five Heartbeats. Townsend is also known for his production company Townsend Entertainment which has produced films Playin’ for Love, In the Hive and more. Townsend’s career included stand-up comedy routines which appeared on cable television. During the 1980s and early–1990s, Townsend gained national exposure through his many appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Townsend has worked with Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Chris Tucker, Beyoncé, and Denzel Washington.