Miami Vice Wiki
Larry Riley


Miami Vice Character
June 20, 1952, Memphis, Tennessee
June 6, 1992, Burbank, California (age 39, AIDS)
Nina Girvetz (1991-1992, his death, 1 child)

Larry Riley (June 20, 1952 - June 6, 1992) is an American actor & composer. He appeared in the show Miami Vice as Bobby Price, an up-and-coming Vice detective and partner of Jake Esteban in the episode "Cool Runnin'".

Early Life/Career

Riley was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of a preacher. After high school, Riley moved to Chicago, then to New York to pursue an acting career. His first break came when Bob Fosse chose him to replace Ben Vereen in the play Pippin. He would later appear in other plays before branching out into composing, writing the music for the play A Soldier's Story (which he also starred in) and the play received the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Riley received an Obie award for his performance. In 1980 Riley made his TV debut in the soap opera The Doctors, then appeared in Hill Street Blues before reprising his Broadway role in the movie version of A Soldier's Story, which was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Riley continued to appear in TV roles in the series The Twilight Zone (1985 revival), The Fall Guy, and Spenser: For Hire, as well as TV movie roles in Long Gone and Unconquered (as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) before accepting a regular role as Frank Williams on the nighttime soap Knots Landing (which in his final season featured as his girlfriend a young Halle Berry), which he had until his death.

Personal Life/Death

Riley had fought a drug & alcohol addiction most of his adult life. In 1989, he was diagnosed as HIV-positive, but (per trends at the time) kept it a closely-guarded secret. When Knots Landing's 12th season began in 1992, Riley appeared gaunt and sickly, causing rumors to begin flying about his failing health, and the National Enquirer threatened to "out" his condition. To prevent this, Riley appeared on the show Entertainment Tonight and explained his appearance was due to kidney failure caused by excessive dieting. It wasn't until after his AIDS-related death on June 6, 1992 that his widow, Nina Girvetz (with whom he had one child), disclosed the true nature of her husband's illness and how he had wished to return to his hometown of Memphis before his death, but finding a doctor who would treat an AIDS patient in Memphis was difficult, and by the time they did Riley's health was too poor to return there.