I first saw Dennis Burkley on my TV screen in the mid-1970s, playing Mac on 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'. Mac was a big good ol' boy who fell hard for Loretta Haggars while she had amnesia. He proved to be popular enough to keep around Fernwood even after that storyline ran its course.
After that, he co-starred in a Bill Macy sitcom, in the last incarnation of 'Sanford And Son' ('Sanford'), and provided the voice of the school principal in 'King Of The Hill'.
Burkley died in his sleep over the weekend at the age of 67. He had been suffering from health problems over the last few years, according to his son.
In a four episode arc during the 1980s, Burkley played a racist biker named Sonny Crocket in 'Hill Street Blues'. The writer who created his character, Anthony Yerkovich, would use that name again a year later for Don Johnson's character in 'Miami Vice'.
The city in which 'Hill Street Blues' took place was never named, but was supposedly on the East Coast. The opening credits were filmed in Chicago and principle location shots were done in the Los Angeles area. So it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble that palm trees may have invaded a few of the exterior scenes.
But even if they didn't, it was still on the East Coast just as Miami is.....
With 'Hill Street Blues' sharing the same coast as 'Miami Vice', why can't we make the claim that both Sonny Crocketts were related? Perhaps they were both named after a forebear - a Sonny Crockett who fought in the Civil War, maybe?
They may not have been closely related, or it could have been they weren't raised in a tight-knit family, so there was no influence on each other's character.
Works for me.
Good night and may God bless, Dennis Burkley.....