James Edwards (actor)
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Edwards in the 1953 film, The Joe Louis Story.
|Born||James Johnson Edwards
March 6, 1918
Muncie, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||January 4, 1970
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||heart attack|
|Resting place||Evergreen Memorial Park, Hobart, Indiana, U.S.|
|Spouse(s)||Everdinne Edwards (?-1970) (his death)|
James Edwards (March 6, 1918 – January 4, 1970) was an American actor in films and television. His most famous role was as Private Peter Moss in the 1949 film Home of the Brave, in which he portrayed an African American soldier experiencing racist prejudice while serving in the South Pacific during World War II.
He majored in psychology at Knoxville College in Tennessee and continued his education at Northwestern University where he received a master’s degree in drama. While enrolled at Northwestern, he participated in student productions and in the Federal Theatre Project. During World War II he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant, in the U.S. Army. After the war he appeared on the New York stage when he assumed the role of the war hero in the touring play Deep Are the Roots.
Throughout his early and mid acting career, Edwards portrayed African American soldiers, playing such characters in Home of the Brave (1949), The Steel Helmet (1951), Bright Victory (1951), Men in War (1957), and Pork Chop Hill (1959) as well as an uncredited Messman in The Caine Mutiny. (1954). It was believed he was originally cast in Universal's Red Ball Express but was replaced by Sidney Poitier when he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Other notable roles were in Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956) and John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Edwards was prolific on TV in the 1960s, playing character roles in various series such as Peter Gunn, The Fugitive, Burke's Law, Dr. Kildare and Mannix, before his death of a heart attack at the age of 51. One of his final roles was as General George S. Patton's driver Sgt William George Meeks in Patton.
- The Set-Up (1949) - Luther Hawkins
- Home of the Brave (1949) - Private Peter Moss
- Manhandled (1949) - Henry, Bennet's Butler (uncredited)
- The Steel Helmet (1951) - Cpl. Thompson
- Bright Victory (1951) - Joe Morgan
- The Member Of The Wedding (1952) - Honey Camden Brown
- The Joe Louis Story (1953) - Jack 'Chappie' Blackburn
- The Caine Mutiny (1954) - Whittaker (uncredited)
- African Manhunt (1955) - Native Guide
- Seven Angry Men (1955) - Ned Green
- The Phenix City Story (1955) - Zeke Ward
- The Killing (1956) - Track Parking Attendant
- Battle Hymn (1957) - Lt. Maples
- Men in War (1957) - Sgt. Killian
- Fräulein (1958) - Cpl. S. Hanks
- Tarzan's Fight for Life (1958) - Futa
- Anna Lucasta (1958) - Eddie
- Night of the Quarter Moon (1959) - Asa Tully
- Pork Chop Hill (1959) - Cpl. Jurgens
- Blood and Steel (1959) - George
- The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - Corporal Allen Melvin
- Legend of Bearheart (1964) released as Legend of the Northwest in 1978
- The Sandpiper (1965) - Larry Brant
- The Young Runaways (1968) - Sergeant Joe Collyer
- Coogan's Bluff (1968) - Sgt. Jackson
- Patton (1970) - Sergeant William George Meeks
- Doomsday Voyage (1972) - Coast Guard Officer
- Legend of the Northwest (1978) - (Last appearance)
- p. 70 Deane, Pamala S. James Edwards: African American Hollywood Icon McFarland, 8 Dec. 2009
- p. 188 Pitts, Michael R.Western Movies: A Guide to 5,105 Feature Films, 2d edition McFarland 2012
- Deane, Pamala S. James Edwards: African American Hollywood Icon McFarland, 8 Dec 2009
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