Cleavon Jake Little was an American stage, film, and television actor. Little began his career in the late 1960s on the stage. In 1970, he starred in the Broadway production of Purlie for which he earned both a Drama Desk and a Tony Award. In 1972, Little starred as the irreverent Dr. Jerry Noland on the ABC sitcom Temperatures Rising. Two years later, he won the role for which he is best known, as Sheriff Bart in the 1974 Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles.
In the 1980s, Little continued to appear in stage productions, films, and in guest spots on television series. In 1989, he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor for his appearance on the NBC sitcom Dear John. From 1991 to 1992, he starred on the Fox sitcom True Colors. He made his final onscreen appearance in a 1992 episode of Tales from the Crypt. Little died of colorectal cancer in October 1992 at the age of 53.