Kid's hip to soaps and
New York Daily News, September 27, 1988
by Larry Sutton
Robinson went from a Manhattan welfare hotel to a Brooklyn apartment house
a few months ago.
Yesterday, he went Hollywood.
Robinson, 12, joined 11 of his young friends from the Prince George Hotel in a starring role on the ABC soap opera "Ryan's Hope."
He picked up an actor's attitude within minutes.
"Jerry, speak to me," Robinson called out to director Jerry Evans when he arrived on the set on W. 66th St.
"No, I'm confident, babe," Robinson told actress Ilene Kristen when she asked if he'd like to rehearse his lines.
The actors got a kick out of the new young star. "He's a sensitive young man, but a little old beyond his years," noted Kristen.
"I'm a lone ranger, honey," Robinson said.
Kristen met Robinson last July. She happened to pass the Prince George, on E. 28th St., and was saddened by the sight of so many kids hanging out with nothing to do.
Since then she has volunteered her spare time at the welfare hotel, teaching the kids acting, singing and fitness exercises.
She invited some of the kids to be actors for a day on the soap. They were each paid union scale - about $97 - and got a chance to sing "Lean on Me" with another star of the show, Tichina Arnold.
Robinson had left the hotel for a Crown Heights apartment with his family. But he made such an impression on Kristen last year that she invited him to appear on the show.
He even got a primary role, speaking several lines by himself.
This particular "Ryan's Hope" episode will air Oct. 6. The kids play residents of a welfare hotel who chase a drug dealer from their neighborhood.
During the ceremony, the ex-wife of the district attorney (Kristen) convinces her friend (Arnold) to sing. The kids join in.
Confused? You're not alone.
"Jerry, explain again how we go from a news conference to a concert," Robinson said as his director passed by.
Show business, babe.