Kitzmiller in 1954
December 4, 1913|
Battle Creek, Michigan, United States
|Died||February 23, 1965
John Kitzmiller (December 4, 1913 – February 23, 1965) was an 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.
- To Live in Peace (1947) - Joe
- Tombolo, paradiso nero (1947) - Jack
- Senza pietà (1948) - Jerry Jackson
- Ti ritroverò (1949) - The MP
- Monastero di Santa Chiara (1949) - Il negro
- The Force of Destiny (1950) - Lo scudiero moro
- Variety Lights (1950) - Trumpet player Johnny
- Wolves Hunt at Night (1952) - the black servant of Miguel
- Massacre in Lace (1952) - Rocky Saddler
- At Sword's Edge (1952)
- Ultimo perdono (1952)
- Delitto al luna park (1952)
- Legione straniera (1953) - Djalmar
- Frine, Courtesan of Orient (1953) - Nabus, lo schiavo muto
- Canto per te (1953) - Angenore
- Terra straniera (1954)
- Non vogliamo morire (1954) - John - il timoniere
- Quai des blondes (1954) - Michel
- Desiderio 'e sole (1954) - Somestico di Sirovich
- La peccatrice dell'isola (1954) - Il Pescatore negro
- Il grande addio (1954)
- Acque amare (1954) - Mezzanotte
- Lacrime d'amore (1954)
- Il nostro campione (1955) - Raimondo
- Valley of Peace (1956) - Sgt. Jim
- I misteri di Parigi (1957) - Lo Squartatore
- A vent'anni è sempre festa (1957) - John Miller
- The Naked Earth (1958) - David
- Slave Women of Corinth (1958) - Tomoro
- Vite perdute (1959) - Luca
- Pensione Edelweiss (1959) - Bougron
- Due selvaggi a corte (1959) - Kato
- Seven in the Sun (1960) - Salvador
- Pirates of the Coast (1960) - Rock
- Revolt of the Mercenaries (1961) - Tago
- Totòtruffa 62 (1961) - Ambasciatore del Katonga
- La corona di fuoco (1961) - Akim
- Venus Against the Son of Hercules (1962) - Afros
- Il sangue e la sfida (1962)
- El hijo del capitán Blood (1962) - Moses
- Dr. No (1962) - Quarrel
- Tiger of the Seven Seas (1962) - Serpente
- Cave of the Living Dead (1964) - John - Black Servant
- Indios a Nord-Ovest (1964)
- Il ribelle di Castelmonte (1964) - Ali
- Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965) - Uncle Tom (final film role)
- Fikes, Robert. "Kitzmiller, John (1913-1965)." Blackpast.org. Retrieved May 28, 2016.
- "John Kitzmiller, Who Became Italian Star, Dies At 51." Jet, March 11, 1965. Google Books. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
- Ehrman, Richard. "Former American Army Officer Wins Best Actor at Cannes Festival." St. Petersburg Times. May 20, 1957, p. 23.
- "American actor dies in Rome". Afro-American. February 27, 1965. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
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