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March 4, 1942 |
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.
Ji-Tu Cumbuka (born March 4, 1942) is an American veteran stage and screen actor.
Born in Alabama to a Baptist minister who believed acting was "the devil's work", he left home and moved to New York. After several difficult years he enlisted in the Army where he played football and ran track. Ji-Tu made All-Army in both sports. He was offered many college scholarships, but chose to attend Texas Southern.
After Texas Southern he moved to California to pursue his acting career and continued his education at Columbia College in New York City, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and a Masters Degree in Cinematography. After three years of attending acting classes and acting in community plays and workshops he landed a role in the movie Up Tight! directed by Jules Dassin.
Film and Television credits
Cumbuka has appeared in films such as Harlem Nights where he plays the toothless drunk gambler who gets shot over money, Brewster's Millions, Out of Bounds, Mandingo and Bound for Glory, as well as minor appearances in 30 other films. He appeared as former NBA guard Oscar Robertson in the bio-drama pic Maurie about the life and care of late former quadriplegic NBA forward Maurice Stokes. In television, Cumbuka appeared in television productions such as Roots, Knots Landing, The A-Team, The Dukes of Hazzard, Walker Texas Ranger, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Sanford and Son and co-starred with Robert Conrad in the 1970s spy series A Man Called Sloane. In all, Ji-Tu has made appearances in over 100 films and television series.