Charles S. Dutton

Charles S. Dutton

Charles S. Dutton, a Baltimore native, is a former actor and director who graduated from Towson (State) University with B.A. in 1978. Prior to his education at Towson, he spent time in reform school and prison for various offenses. While in prison, he primarily read leftist literature as a former Black Panther member. By chance he grabbed a book full of plays to read during his time spent in soliatry confinement. He grew a love for stories about race in a comedic light, and promised himself that one day he would stage a show of his own. While incarcerated, he was able to put on the play 'A Day of Absence' and earn a two-year college degree.

He enrolled at TSU in 1976 when released on parole to earn his undergraduate degree. Prompted by his drama professor, he then applied to and was accepted into Yale Unversity, earning his master's degree in 1983 from the Yale School of Drama. 

Dutton continued on the path of channeling his feelings into the arts, becoming an Emmy winner for directing "the Corner," and a two-time Tony nominee. He went on to become the star of "Roc," a TV series about a local Baltimorean garbage man that tries to make a better life for himself in the city. The name of the series is inspired by Dutton's childhood nickname, "Rockhead," which he earned by getting into rock fights in the neighborhood. It was then shortened to "Roc" during his time as an amateaur boxer. 

He has since returned to Towson University to direct "An Evening of Shakespeare" to raise money for the Charles S. Dutton endowment and talk with upcoming theater students.  


This wiki entry was created in collaboration with Ryan Taylor, a summer 2023 intern in Towson University’s Special Collections and University Archives department, and student at Notre Dame Preparatory high school in Towson, Maryland. If you have feedback on the content, please contact us through email (