December 4, 1913|
Battle Creek, Michigan, United States
|Died||February 23, 1965
John Kitzmiller (December 4, 1913 – February 23, 1965) was an African American actor who worked in his native land, as well as Italy and the United Kingdom. Kitzmiller achieved his greatest fame as a popular and versatile actor in Europe, making an estimated forty european films.
John Kitzmiller was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, and was commissioned in the US Army reaching the rank of Captain in the Corps of Engineers serving with the 92nd Infantry Division during its liberation of Italy in World War II. At the end of the war he chose to remain in Italy where he was discovered in 1946 by Luigi Zampa playing poker in an officer's club. This began his acting career in Italian neorealist films. He made Italy his permanent residence and ultimately starred in more than fifty European films, often portraying an angry black man fighting racism.
He played the leading role of "Jerry" in the film Senza pietà ("Without Pity"), from a screenplay by Federico Fellini, Alberto Lattuada and Tullio Pinelli. He received awards commemorating both his role as an actor and as a soldier. In 1957, he was the first black actor to win a best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in the Slovenian film Valley of Peace.
He died of a liver ailment at the age of 51.
- Senza pietà (1948) - Jerry Jackson
- The Force of Destiny (1950)
- Wolves Hunt at Night (1952) - the black servant of Miguel
- Frine, Courtesan of Orient (1953)
- Valley of Peace (1956) - Sgt. Jim
- Dr. No (1962) - Quarrel
- Venus Against the Son of Hercules (1962) - Afros
- Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965) - Uncle Tom
- Fikes, Robert. "Kitzmiller, John (1913-1965)." Blackpast.org. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
- Jet, March 11th 1965
- p. 23 Ehrman, Richard Former American Army Officer Wins Best Actor at Cannes Festival St. Petersburg Times 20 May 1957
- "American actor dies in Rome". Afro-American. February 27, 1965. Retrieved 27 January 2011.