Darwin Joston Poster


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Overview (4)

Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Died in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA  (leukemia)
Birth NameFrancis Darwin Solomon
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

"Got a smoke?" Darwin Joston secured himself a permanent place in cult movie history with that particular laconically witty line as laid-back Death Row-bound convict Napoleon Wilson in John Carpenter's outstanding urban action thriller classic Assault on Precinct 13 (1976). Wilson was undoubtedly Joston's best role, and he played it with exceptional skill: mellow, low-key and disarmingly casual with a cool sense of dry ironic humor and a wickedly funny way with a sardonic wisecrack. Joston's terrific portrayal of the acidic and fatalistic Wilson should have led to bigger and better things. Alas, it did not.

He was born as Francis Darwin Solomon on December 9, 1937, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His parents were Mary Elizabeth Smith and Buford Odell Solomon. Joston attended Glenn High School in Kernersville, North Carolina, where he was considered a talented athlete. Following graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1960, Darwin moved to New York and began acting in stage plays and summer stock productions for about five years in the early to mid 1960s. He then moved to Los Angeles to continue his acting career.

Compared to his substantial starring role in "Assault on Precinct 13," most of Joston's other film parts were relatively small: he's an ill-fated soldier in the dreadful killer snake dud Rattlers (1976), a beleaguered pencil-factory clerk in Eraserhead (1977), a drunken truck driver in Coast to Coast (1980), a coroner in the splendidly spooky The Fog (1980) and a typically relaxed FBI agent in the entertainingly crummy science-fiction/horror hoot Time Walker (1982) (Joston was reunited with his fellow "Assault on Precinct 13" cast member Austin Stoker in this latter picture).

Joston also did guest spots on such TV shows as ALF (1986), Hill Street Blues (1981), Remington Steele (1982), Spenser: For Hire (1985), The Rookies (1972), McCloud (1970), Circle of Fear (1972), Ironside (1967), The Rat Patrol (1966), Lassie (1954) (in which he had a recurring role) and The Virginian (1962). In addition to his acting credits, Joston worked behind-the-scenes as either a driver or a transportation captain on such features as The American President (1995), Wild at Heart (1990), La Bamba (1987), Back to the Beach (1987), The Ladies Club (1986), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) and The Buddy Holly Story (1978).

Darwin Joston died of leukemia on June 1, 1998. Although he's no longer with us, Joston nonetheless will forever live on in our hearts and memories as the supremely amiable, if notorious, killer criminal Napoleon Wilson. "Got a light?"

- IMDb Mini Biography By: woodyanders (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (2)

Josephine Cook Solomon (? - ?) (divorced) (1 child)
Janie Posey Swaim (? - 1 June 1998) (his death)

Trivia (6)

He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1960.
Within several months of Joston's June 1998 death, his friends and family founded the F. Darwin Solomon Endowment at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem in order to commemorate Joston's life and career.
When John Carpenter was writing the screenplay that would become Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), he and Joston were neighbors. Carpenter has said that Joston's sardonic sense of humor directly influenced the way Carpenter wrote the Napoleon Wilson character, which Joston later played in the film.
In the early 1980s, when John Carpenter was scheduled to direct Firestarter (1984), the film adaptation of Stephen King's novel, Joston was considered for the role of John Rainbird, the Native-American assassin, but after Universal Pictures executives fired Carpenter from the project following the commercial failure of The Thing (1982) and replaced him with Mark L. Lester, the role of Rainbird was given to George C. Scott.
He had one son, Shawn Solomon, with whom he worked on the transportation crews of Wild at Heart (1990) and The Night Before (1988).
After working together on Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Joston and his co-star Austin Stoker remained friends for the rest of Joston's life.

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