Charles Lampkin

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Charles Lampkin
Born (1913-03-17)March 17, 1913
Montgomery, Alabama
Died April 17, 1989(1989-04-17) (aged 76)
San Jose, California
Citizenship American
Alma mater John Carroll University, Cleveland School of Music
Occupation Actor, Musician and Lecturer
Years active 1951–1989

Charles Lampkin (1913–1989) was an American actor, musician and lecturer.

Early life[edit]

Charles Lampkin was born on March 17, 1913 in Ward 4 of Montgomery, Alabama. He was the third son of Edgar Lampkin and Sarah Bidell. His paternal lineage is traced to British slave-owners and his maternal ancestors were Africans enslaved in the British colonies of Virginia and Georgia before the American Revolution of 1776. His great-grandmother Ann Lampkin, an emancipated slave, was one of the first people to befriend a twenty-five-year-old Booker T. Washington when he arrived in Alabama in 1881. She secured land and along with her church sisters raised funds for the Tuskegee Institute. Edgar Lampkin moved his family from Montgomery to Cleveland in the 1920s, part of the Great Migration.[1]


Lampkin was a pioneer of Spoken Word in the 1930s and winner of Ohio debating cups in 1939, 1940 and 1941. In Arch Oboler's Five, the first science fiction film about a nuclear holocaust. Lampkin introduced Oboler to The Creation by James Weldon Johnson and convinced him to include excerpts of it in the script of Five. It would become Lampkin's soliloquy and may be the first time that wide audiences in the United States, Latin America and Europe were exposed to African-American poetry, albeit not identified as such.[citation needed]

Charles Lampkin served as Music Director of the American Peoples' Chorus from 1943 to 1945. On June 26, 1944, he conducted Paul Robeson and the APC at the historic Negro Freedom Rally[2] at Madison Square Garden. Uta Hagen and Cardinal Spellman were in attendance.[3]

He composed a piano concerto in G minor before 1955 and in 1969 was appointed Artist-in-Residence, Professor of Music and Theatre Arts, at Santa Clara University until 1981.[1]

He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1979 for his performance in the ABC after-school special Home Run for Love, which aired on national television in the United States in October, 1978 and was re-broadcast in April, 1980.[4]

In 1979 Lampkin played Professor Loman in Alex Haley's Roots: The Next Generations.[5]

In the 1960s and 1970s Lampkin was a pioneer of multi-cultural pedagogy in California.[1]


In his college classes, Charles Lampkin divided original African-American music into four parts: Spirituals, the Shout Song, the Work Song and the Blues.[6]

Charles Lampkin's performances of the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance set to music he composed were recorded in 1957 for the National Association of English Teachers. The records were distributed to thousands of schools across the United States. The original recording are available at the Charles Lampkin Foundation web site.[7]

The centerpiece of the Charles Lampkin lecture platform was the Black American classic (whose status he helped secure) The Creation from the imaginative sermon series of James Weldon Johnson's God's Trombones.[6]


In January 1969, Lampkin joined the College of Humanities faculty at the University of Santa Clara as an Artist-in-Residence, teaching a course in Beginning Acting and another one in Ethnic Music (until his retirement in 1981). He was also a lecturer at the University of the Pacific (Black Studies Program).[1]

Charles Lampkin Foundation[edit]

In 2011, Charles Lampkin´s grandson Daniel Bruno created the Charles Lampkin Foundation as a non-profit that aims to counter anti-Intellectualism and the degrading effects of contemporary culture via awareness of the Harlem Renaissance.[8] The foundation produced a series of videos which utilize Charles Lampkin´s 1957 narration combined with relevant historical figures. A two-hour documentary Dreams From My Grandfather combines a movie review of Arch Oboler´s FIVE along with rare historical footage of World War II and the nuclear arms race. With a music score including Sibelius, Holst, von Williams, Mahler and Bing Crosby, Daniel Bruno´s narration includes geopolitical analysis of Japan´s motives for siding with the Axis powers and Roosevelt´s foreknowledge of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Outstanding renditions of Negro spirituals by Paul Robeson are heard throughout and in a final twist of irony, the documentary closes with the 10,000 strong Osaka volunteer choir performing Beethoven´s Ode To Joy in 2009.


Film appearances
Year Title Role Notes
1951 Five Charles Film
1961 Surfside 6 Monsieur Servat TV Series
1962 Rider on a Dead Horse Taylor Film
1962 The Law and Mr. Jones Headwaiter / Tom Redford / Hecktel, The Storyville Gang TV Series
1962 Saints and Sinners Hayes / Mr. Howard TV Series
1963 Alcoa Premiere Zimmy TV Series
1963 The Untouchables Hal Temple TV Series
1963 Toys in the Attic Gus, Handyman Film, Uncredited
1963 Twilight of Honor Mr. Simmons Film, Uncredited
1963 Mr. Novak Robert Desmond TV Series
1963 Dr. Kildare Eddie, Custodian TV Series
1964 One Man's Way Lafe Film
1965 Please Don't Eat the Daisies Mr. Briggs TV Series
1962-1965 Ben Casey Sam TV Series
1966 The Rare Breed Porter Film, Uncredited
1965-1966 The Long, Hot Summer Andrew TV Series
1967 Run for Your Life Dr. Herbert Garrison TV Series
1967 Tarzan Matumba TV Series
1967 Accidental Family Charlie TV Series
1967 Cowboy in Africa Dr. Merar TV Series
1968 The Wild Wild West Clerk TV Series
1968 Journey to Shiloh Edward Film, Uncredited
1968 The Thomas Crown Affair Elevator Operator Film, Uncredited
1968 It Takes a Thief Gardener / Professor Kilghi TV Series
1968-1969 Julia Charley / Electrician TV Series
1969 The Outsider Richard TV Series
1969 The Bold Ones: The Protectors Councilman TV Series
1969 Marcus Welby, M.D. Mr. Murtree TV Series
1969 Hello, Dolly! Laborer Film, Uncredited
1968-1970 Mayberry R.F.D. Ralph Barton TV Series
1970 The Name of the Game Rubano TV Series
1970 Watermelon Man Dr. Catlin Film
1970 Barefoot in the Park TV Series
1967-1970 That Girl Janitor / Mr. Hansen TV Series
1969-1970 The Bold Ones: The Lawyers Barber / Ralph Miller TV Series
1970 The Most Deadly Game Griggs TV Series
1970 Breakout Cook TV Movie
1970 Ironside Truck Driver TV Series
1971 Family Affair Superintendent TV Series
1971 The Partridge Family Heavy TV Series
1971 The Bill Cosby Show Harold Morgan TV Series
1971 The Bold Ones: The Senator Clerk TV Series
1971 The Interns Judge Davidson TV Series
1964-1971 My Three Sons Harry West / Herman / Mailman TV Series
1972 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Mailman TV Series
1972 Jigsaw TV Movie
1972 The Man Congressman Walding Film
1972 Hammer Big Sid Film
1972 The Odd Couple Brother Lowell Film
1972 McMillan & Wife Judge Clement Williams TV Series
1972 The Delphi Bureau Jason Thomas TV Series
1973 Emergency! Airport Employee TV Series
1973 The Streets of San Francisco Benjy Hoskins TV Series
1969-1973 The F.B.I. Hargroves / The Broker TV Series
1973 Love Story Father TV Series
1974 The Black Godfather Danny's Father Film
1974 That's My Mama Will Harrington TV Series
1974 Hurricane Wyn Stokey TV Movie
1974 The Law Judge Rathman - Melendez Trial TV Movie
1974 Panic on the 5:22 George Lincoln TV Movie
1974 The Rookies Sam Reese TV Series
1971-1975 Adam-12 Henry Ward / Johnson / Myron Bradley TV Series
1975 Wide World Mystery TV Series
1975 Cornbread, Earl and Me Fred Jenkins Film
1976 Special Delivery Mailman Film
1976 Gemini Man Pop Kingston TV Series
1977 Islands in the Stream Constable Film
1977 Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years Irvin McDuffie TV Movie
1977 The Sanford Arms Walter Calvin TV Series
1978 The Incredible Hulk Joe TV Series
1978 ABC Afterschool Specials Davy Henderson TV Series
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Loman TV Mini-Series
1979 Friends Tug Summerfield TV Series
1980 House Calls TV Series
1975-1980 Barnaby Jones Benny / Mort Rogers TV Series
1981 Quincy M.E. Dr. Jamison TV Series
1981 S.O.B. Butler Film
1981 First Monday in October Justice Josiah Clewes Film
1982 Father Murphy TV Series
1982 Too Close for Comfort Mr. Christmas TV Series
1983 Second Thoughts Judge Richards Film
1983 Bare Essence TV Series
1984 Last of the Great Survivors Elroy TV Movie
1984 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Mr. Feller TV Series
1984 The Jeffersons Otis TV Series
1984 Highway to Heaven Doc TV Series
1984 Ghost Warrior Willie Walsh Film
1985 Hunter Judge U.S. TV Series
1985 Street Hawk Artie Shank TV Series
1985 Cocoon Pops Film
1985 Night Court Grampa Robinson TV Series
1986 He's the Mayor Ezra TV Series
1987 Webster Sam TV Series
1987 227 Felix TV Series
1987 The Last Innocent Man Judge Clement Autley TV Movie
1987-1988 Frank's Place Tiger Shepin TV Series, (final appearance)


  1. ^ a b c d "Charles Lampkin - Biography". Charles Lampkin Foundation. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  2. ^ "Negro freedom rally". University of Virginia Library. 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Cleveland Call Post". July 23, 1942. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  4. ^ Sandra Brennan. "Charles Lampkin". New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  5. ^ "Charles Lampkin". IMDb. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  6. ^ a b James Torrens (Summer 1991). "Charles Lampkin: Remembering the actor and music man who was Santa Clara University's artist-in-residence from 1969-1981". Santa Clara Magazine. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Charles Lampkin Foundation". Retrieved March 14, 2012.

External links[edit]