Remember Charles 'Roc' Emerson from 'Roc'? He discovered acting while in jail for a major crime

Edduin Carvajal
Aug 21, 2018
08:58 A.M.

Not many people know that Charles S. Dutton, best known as Roc in the TV series with the same name that ran on the Fox network, spent more than a decade in prison.


As I Love Old School Music reported, Dutton dropped out of school in the 7th grade when he was only 12 years old and became a boxer. When he was 17 years old, he got into a fight with a man who allegedly started the conflict.

Given the fact that Dutton was a trained boxer and that he couldn’t control himself, he killed the other man and was convicted of manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

While in jail, he was involved in another fight that drove him to spend six days of solitary confinement.


As a policy of the prison he was serving, he could select one book to read during his time in solitary confinement. By mistake, Dutton chose an anthology of black playwrights. That mistake changed his life for the better.

He liked the plays so much that he talked to the warden so he could create a drama group for the Christmas talent show. The only condition that the warden agreed on was that Dutton went back to school to her his GED (General Equivalency Development).


Thankfully, Dutton completed a two-year college program at Hagerstown, Maryland and got an Associate of Arts degree. Unfortunately, after serving his seven-and-a-half-year term, he was caught with a deadly weapon, which is a crime for a convicted felon.

Dutton went back to prison for another three years. When he finally got out, he pursued his dreams and attended Townsend University in Maryland where he earned his master’s degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama.

After that, his life improved as he got different roles in several projects, including “The Practice” and “Without a Trace.”

Thanks to his performances, he has won different awards, including Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

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