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Holly Robinson Peete Named as ‘Woman of Influence’ at Wonder Women of Los Angeles

Holly Robinson Peete photo by Antwon Maxwell
Holly Robinson Peete photo by Antwon Maxwell (Image credit: Photo by Antwon Maxwell)

Actress, author, talk show host, activist and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete will be honored as a “Woman of Influence” at the Wonder Women of Los Angeles celebration on Monday, June 6, at the Sofitel Los Angeles hotel.

Robinson Peete, known for her roles in 21 Jump Street and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and, more recently, for her work with Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (including Our Christmas Journey, in which she starred and was executive producer), has been very engaged in providing support to people suffering with Parkinson’s Disease and families  affected by autism. Robinson Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, formed the HollyRod Foundation in 1997 to provide resources to those causes and others. 

The Woman of Influence award, chosen by the editors of Multichannel News, is presented to a woman in media who has, in her career and outside activities, been a trailblazer and set an honorable example for others to follow. The most recent honorees are Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Deborah Norville of Inside Edition, at Wonder Women of New York and of Los Angeles, respectively. Previous honorees include Connie Chung, Debra L. Lee, Hannah Storm and Lesley Stahl.

Wonder Women of Los Angeles kicks off the L.A. TV Week events, produced by Future Inc.'s Multichannel News, Broadcasting+Cable and Next TV brands. Other events occurring at the Sofitel Los Angeles include the Next TV Summit, Advanced Advertising, 40 under 40 and TV Tech Summit

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Los Angeles from the age of 10, Robinson Peete had her first experience in front of the camera at the age of four when she appeared on television opposite her father, Matthew Robinson, who served as a producer and portrayed the original beloved character of Gordon on iconic children’s program Sesame Street. While she knew even at that young age her calling was to be in entertainment, Robinson Peete opted to lead a more typical childhood rather than searching to be the next child star.

After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, where she majored in French, Robinson Peete’s heart led her back to show business. She soon landed the part that made her recognizable to viewers throughout the world on the groundbreaking series 21 Jump Street opposite Johnny Depp and went on to star in many other successful television series including Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and For Your Love. She also appeared in a recurring role on Chicago Fire and in Mike & Molly. Her successful television career places her as one of only a handful of actresses to star in four shows in syndication. She helped launch The Talk as one of the original co-hosts. 

Robinson Peete has starred in six installments of Morning Show Mysteries for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Our Christmas Journey premiered in 2021 during the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries “Miracles of Christmas” programming event and dealt with a cause near and dear to her heart: autism. Also for the network, she starred in The Christmas Doctor and A Family Christmas Gift, opposite Patti LaBelle. On Hallmark Channel she starred in all four “Christmas in Evergreen” movies as the town’s beloved mayor, Michelle. 

The HollyRod Foundation initially was inspired by her father’s courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease, aiming to help improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s. Inspired by their eldest son’s autism diagnosis, HollyRod Foundation’s mission expanded to provide support and resources to those affected by autism. Through the HollyRod Foundation and her family’s personal experiences, Robinson Peete has become a trusted advocate for consistent and reliable education, outreach and support for both Parkinson’s and autism. In August 2020, the HollyRod Foundation teamed up with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) for the Delivering Jobs Campaign, which is creating pathways to 1 million employment and leadership opportunities for people with autism, intellectual and/or developmental differences by 2025. Her autism advocacy also extends to her book co-written with her daughter, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, entitled My Brother Charlie (Scholastic), a bestselling, NAACP Image Award-winning children’s book about autism from the sibling’s perspective. She co-wrote the follow-up children’s book entitled Same But Different: Teen Life On The Autism Express – which was co-authored by her twins Ryan Elizabeth & RJ. 

Robinson Peete’s philanthropic efforts have earned her numerous awards and honors including: Ford’s Freedom Sisters; American Mentor Award; The Southern California Broadcasters’ Association Community Service Award; Gerald R. Ford People Helping People Award; The March of Dimes Healthy Babies, Healthy Futures Award; USC Woman of Distinction Award; Anheuser Busch John E. Jacob Community Service Award; The Genii Award; The Girls Inc. Mentor Award; A Place Called Home Humanitarian Award; McDonald’s 365 Black Award and the Los Angeles Magazine Most Inspirational Women Award. ■

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.