March 8, 1902 Louise Beavers, stage, film, and television actress, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Beavers’ initial acting experience was gained on the stage where she sang in many musical comedies.
March 3, 1907 Lionel Cornelius Canegata (Canada Lee), pioneering stage and film actor, was born in New York City. Lee was a concert violinist at the age of 12 and in his early teens became a professional jockey. After that, he became a professional boxer, but was forced to quit due to an injury in […]
February 26, 1933 Godfrey MacArthur Cambridge, comedian and stage and film actor, was born in New York City. Cambridge won a four-year scholarship to study medicine, but instead decided to become an actor, leaving college in his third year.
February 17, 1936 James Nathaniel “Jim” Brown, hall of fame football player and actor, was born in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Brown earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University in 1957 and also excelled in basketball, track, lacrosse, and football.
February 16, 1904 James Baskett, actor and the first male performer of African descent to receive an Oscar, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Baskett appeared on Broadway in the all-black musical revue “Hot Chocolate” in 1929. He also appeared in a number of all-black films, including “Harlem is Heaven” (1932) and “Straight to Heaven” (1939).
July 24, 1807, is the date of birth of Ira Aldridge, the most prominent African American dramatic actor of the 19th century. Aldridge performed roles in plays written by Shakespeare in the United States and across Europe at a time when most African Americans remained enslaved. Born and raised in New York City, not the […]
March 19, 1894 Loretta Mary Aiken (Jackie “Moms” Mabley), stand-up comedienne, was born in Brevard, North Carolina. At the age of 15, Mabley ran away to Cleveland, Ohio with a travelling minstrel show where she began singing and entertaining. By the 1950s, she was one of the top women doing stand-up and earning $10,000 per […]
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