Rex Ingram (actor)
- For the film director, producer, writer and actor of the same name, see Rex Ingram (director) (1892–1950)
October 20, 1895|
Cairo, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||September 19, 1969
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Francine Everett (1936-1939)|
Early life and career
Ingram was born near Cairo, Illinois, on the Mississippi River; his father was a steamer fireman on the riverboat Robert E. Lee. Ingram graduated from the Northwestern University medical school in 1919 and was the first African-American man to receive a Phi Beta Kappa key from Northwestern University. He went to Hollywood as a young man where he was literally discovered on a street corner by the casting director for Tarzan of the Apes (1918), starring Elmo Lincoln. He made his (uncredited) screen debut in that film and had many other small roles, usually as a generic black native, such as in the Tarzan films. With the arrival of sound, his presence and powerful voice became an asset and he went on to memorable roles in The Green Pastures (1936), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (the 1939 MGM version, opposite Mickey Rooney), The Thief of Bagdad (1940—perhaps his best-known film appearance—as the genie), The Talk of the Town (1942), and Sahara (1943).
From 1929, he also appeared on stage, making his debut on Broadway. He appeared in more than a dozen Broadway productions, with his final role coming in Kwamina in 1961. He was in the original cast of Haiti (1938), Cabin in the Sky (1940), and St. Louis Woman (1946). He is one of the few actors to have played both God (in The Green Pastures) and the Devil (in Cabin in the Sky).
Ingram was arrested for violating the Mann Act in 1949. Pleading guilty to the charge of transporting a teenage girl to New York for immoral purposes, he was sentenced to eighteen months in jail. He served just ten months of his sentence, but the incident had a serious impact on his career for the next six years. In the interim, he invested in the Club Alabam, famed nightclub located in the Dunbar Hotel in South Central Los Angeles, with partners Joe Morris and Clarence Moore, reopening it as a jazz club.
In 1962, he became the first African-American actor to be hired for a contract role on a soap opera, when he appeared on The Brighter Day. He had other minor work in television in the sixties, appearing in an episode each of I Spy and The Bill Cosby Show, both of which starred Bill Cosby, who used his influence to land him the roles.
|1918||Tarzan of the Apes||Uncredited|
|1923||The Ten Commandments||Israelite Slave||Uncredited|
|1927||The King of Kings||Undetermined Role||Uncredited|
|1929||The Four Feathers||Fuzzy Wuzzy Native||Uncredited|
|1933||The Emperor Jones||Court Crier||Uncredited|
|1936||The Green Pastures||Adam/De Lawd/Hezdrel|
|1939||The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn||Jim|
|1940||The Thief of Bagdad||Djinn|
|1942||The Talk of the Town||Tilney|
|1943||Cabin in the Sky||Lucifer Jr./Lucius Ferry|
|Sahara||Sgt. Major Tambul|
|1944||Dark Waters||Pearson Jackson|
|1945||A Thousand and One Nights||Giant|
|1949||Anna Lucasta||Joseph Lucasta|
|1955||Tarzan's Hidden Jungle||Sukulu Chieftain||Uncredited|
|1956||Congo Crossing||Dr. Leopold Gorman|
|1958||God's Little Acre||Uncle Felix|
|1959||Escort West||Nelson Water|
|Watusi||Umbopa||Alternative title: The Quest for King Solomon's Mines|
|1960||Elmer Gantry||Preacher of black congregation||Uncredited|
|1967||Hurry Sundown||Professor Thurlow|
|1959||Black Saddle||Alex Booth||1 episode|
|1961||The Rifleman||Thaddeus||1 episode|
|1962||Sam Benedict||Judge Larkin||1 episode|
|1965||I Spy||Dr. Bingham||1 episode|
|1968||Cowboy in Africa||Dr. Tom Merar||1 episode|
|The Bill Cosby Show||George||1 episode|
- "Rex Ingrain, the Actor, Dies in Hollywood at 73. His Portrayal of De Lawd in 'Green Pastures' Hailed. Medical School Graduate". New York Times. September 20, 1969. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- "Rex Ingram, 20th Century Actor". African American Registry. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- Bogle, Donald (2001). Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films (4 ed.). Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 69. ISBN 0-8264-1267-X.
- Variety, October 25, 1951
- "Veteran Actor Rex Ingram Died of Heart Attack". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 36 (26): 56. 1969-10-02.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rex Ingram (actor).|
- Rex Ingram at the Internet Broadway Database
- Rex Ingram at the Internet Movie Database
- Rex Ingram at Find a Grave