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March 4, 1942 |
Montgomery County, Alabama, U.S.
Ji-Tu Cumbuka (born March 4, 1942) is an American stage, film, and television actor.
Born in Montgomery County, 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. He 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 later continued his education at Columbia College in New York City, earning a bachelor of arts in theatre and a master's degree in cinematography. After three years of attending acting classes and acting in community plays and workshops he landed a role in the 1968 movie Uptight directed by Jules Dassin.
Cumbuka has appeared in such television productions as the Roots miniseries, Daniel Boone, Young Dan'l Boone, Knots Landing, The A-Team, The Dukes of Hazzard, Walker, Texas Ranger, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Sanford and Son, and In the Heat of the Night. He was a regular cast member of the short-lived spy series A Man Called Sloane.
Cumbuka has appeared in numerous films. He appeared as former NBA guard Oscar Robertson in the biodrama pic Maurie (1973) about the life of Maurice Stokes. In Harlem Nights (1989), he plays the toothless drunk gambler who gets shot over money. Other films include Change of Habit (1969), Blacula (1972), Trader Horn (1973), Lost in the Stars (1974), Mandingo (1975), Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976), Bound for Glory (1976), The Jericho Mile (1979), Doin' Time (1985), Brewster's Millions (1985), Volunteers (1985), Out of Bounds (1986), Moving (1988) and Caged In Paradiso (1990), as well as minor appearances in many other films.