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William Marshall Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (7)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 19 August 1924Gary, Indiana, USA
Date of Death 11 June 2003Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from Alzheimer's disease)
Birth NameWilliam Horace Marshall
Height 6' 5" (1.96 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Dynamic African American leading man and characters actor William Marshall trained in Grand Opera, Broadway and Shakespeare. In films from the 50s and 60s including: Lydia Bailey (1952), Something of Value (1957), To Trap a Spy (1964) and finally known for being in The Boston Strangler (1968) with Tony Curtis. Marshall really didn't hit it big until the "blaxplotation" era of the 70s. He starred in the contemporary vampire melodrama, Blacula (1972), and its sequel, Scream Blacula Scream (1973), and the Exorcist-type film, Abby (1974). From the 80s, Marshall was seen as the "King of Cartoons" on the Saturday morning TV kiddie show, Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986), a job that he accepted on behalf of his grandchildren. Marshall has also appeared in Maverick (1994) and Dinosaur Valley Girls (1996). Marshall retired from acting afterwards and died of Alzheimer's disease in June, 2003.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

American actor of African and Cherokee heritage, known for his rich bass voice and classically-trained style, and for his impressive performances on stage and television as William Shakespeare's Othello. Marshall was born in Gary, Indiana, the son of Thelma (née Edwards) and Vereen Marshall, a dentist. After graduation from Governors State University, he attended New York University as an art student, but then trained for a theatre career at the Actors Studio, at the American Theatre Wing, and with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse. He made his Broadway debut in 1944 in "Carmen Jones". Among his many other Broadway appearances, he understudied Boris Karloff as "Captain Hook" in "Peter Pan" in 1950, then played the leading role of "De Lawd" in the 1951 revival of "The Green Pastures" (a role he repeated in a BBC telecast of the play in 1958). He played Shakespeare many times on the stage in the U.S. and Europe, including the title role in at least eight different productions of "Othello". His Othello (which was later captured in a video production in 1981), was called by the London Sunday Times "the best Othello of our time". Marshall even played Othello in a jazz musical version, "Catch My Soul", with Jerry Lee Lewis as "Iago", in Los Angeles in 1968. He also portrayed on stage Paul Robeson and Frederick Douglass, both of whom Marshall resembled either in appearance or in physical presence and ability. (Marshall researched Douglass's life for years and portrayed him on television in "Frederick Douglass: Slave and Statesman", which he co-produced in 1983.) Marshall's career on screen began in 1952 in Lydia Bailey (1952) as a Haitian leader. He followed that with a prominent role as "Glycon", comrade and fellow gladiator to Victor Mature in Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954). His demeanor, voice and stature gave him a wide range, though he was ill-suited for the subservient roles that many black actors of his generation were most frequently offered. He was "Attorney General Edward Brooke" in The Boston Strangler (1968) and a leader of the Mau-Mau uprising in Something of Value (1957). He received the most widespread fame for his role in the vampire film, Blacula (1972), and its sequel, Scream Blacula Scream (1973). In later years, Marshall played the "King of Cartoons" on Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986), replacing actor Gilbert Lewis. In the early 1950s, Marshall starred briefly in a series about black police officers, entitled Harlem Detective (1953). The show was canceled when Marshall was named as a communist in the anti-communist newsletter, Counterattack. Nonetheless, Marshall managed to continue appearing in both television and films. Marshall is perhaps best remembered by television viewers for his roles as "Dr. Richard Daystrom" in the Star Trek (1966) episode, Star Trek: The Ultimate Computer (1968), and as the traveling opera singer on Bonanza: Enter Thomas Bowers (1964). He won two local Emmys for producing and performing in a PBS production, "As Adam Early in the Morning", a poetical theatre piece originally performed on stage. In addition to his acting and producing work, Marshall taught acting at various universities including University of California, Irvine and at the Mufandi Institute, an African-American arts and music institution in the Watts section of Los Angeles. He did similar work at Chicago's eta Creative Arts Foundation, which in 1992 named Marshall one of its Epic Men of the 20th Century. Marshall was the unmarried partner for 42 years of Sylvia Gussin Jarrico, former wife of blacklisted screenwriter Paul Jarrico. Marshall died on June 11, 2003, from complications arising from Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. He is survived by four children: sons 'Tariq Marshall, Malcolm, and Claude Marshall, and daughter, singer Gina Loring. The eulogies at his funeral were spoken by Sidney Poitier, Ivan Dixon, Paul Winfield and Marla Gibbs.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Trade Mark (1)

His commanding, bass voice

Trivia (7)

Portrayed slave abolitionist Frederick Douglass both on stage and screen, from a developed interest he had in the statesman.
Taught acting workshops on college campuses, including UC Irvine, and at the Mufandi Institute in Watts, Los Angeles. He was director of the institute in the 1960s.
Survived by his four children: Tariq Marshall, his youngest son, Gina Loring, his 2nd youngest, Malcolm Juarez, his 3rd youngest, and Claude Marshall, his eldest son.
Cousin of actor Paul Winfield.
At the time of his death, his life partner for 42 years was Sylvia Jarrico.
Was partly of Cherokee Indian ancestry.
Starred opposite Eartha Kitt in the 1978 all-black musical revival of "Kismet" entitled "Timbuktu!", but was replaced prior to the Broadway opening.

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