Bay Area’s Bobby Mardis – Creative  On and Off the Screen

Bobby Mardis made his mark on the film industry in the ’80s and ’90s with some of the most recognizable African American filmmakers of the times. In Keenan Ivory Wayans’ 1988 action comedy parody, “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” Mardis portrayed an O.G..
In Robert Townsend’s satirical comedy film, “Hollywood Shuffle,” he played the roles of an audition actor and basketball player.
“Starring in the rags-to riches tale of a singing group in “The Five Heartbeats,” he portrayed one of The Midnight Falcons.
Mardis says his co-stars were also his partners in crime off screen and on in “Robert Townsend and His Partners In Crime,” an HBO series featuring Bobby McGee, Jimmy Woodward and Roy Fegan, on and off the screen. “We were all friends and after the success of
“The Five Heartbeats”, Woodward thought we were stars.” Mardis says he laughed because he understood early on how unpredictable the entertainment industry could be.
Statistically, Mardis says of all the actors on the market, only 3 percent are making a real living, while the other 97 percent are working regular jobs such as serving in restaurants and driving for car services. “So many out-of-work actors are either working at Starbucks or driving for Uber,” he said. “But a man’s true character is determined by what he does in conflict situations.”
The multi-talented Mardis survived the lulls in the industry with stand-up comedy and singing gigs in clubs.  He even sang a popular hit single produced by Kashif, “ Keep On.”
Originally from the Bay Area, Mardis attended San Mateo High School, and graduated from UCLA. In 2009, Mardis found himself back in town to assist his ailing mother, Lavera Gillespie who had a triple bi-pass and needed a kidney. “My mom is my everything and relocating to the Bay Area eight years ago was a natural occurrence,” he said. In between doctor’s appointments and spending quality time with his mother, Mardis has continued to sharpen his creative edge.
“I write every day,” he said. “I’ve got seven or eight scripts, a mini-series, and several books in the can.”
Mardis is excited about nearly completed  documentary entitled, “Black Male: An Endangered Species.” Filmed on location in the Englewood community areas of Chicago, Mardis describes the project as a psycho-sociological film that speaks to the current era plaguing the Black community today.”
“The documentary has a “Black Lives Matter” element to it and offers solutions to problems plaguing the community and Black men,” he said.
“My documentary is solution-oriented because I believe there’s a solution to most problems, no matter how complicated,” he said.
Mardis also believes in creating opportunities in the industry and for the next generation. His latest project is “Journey to Green City,” a book and curriculum designed to teach youth about the environment and protecting it. “I am now trying to connect with green companies to purchase books for schools, libraries, and any organizations serving children that are in need of books. The objective is to build a mindset in the children to be green conscious.”
Throughout his life, Mardis has come to the realization that what is done early in life, affects the future, but most of all “I am driven to
make a positive mark on this earth while I am here.”

Bobby Mardis can be reached at the following links:; [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here