|Date of Birth||27 June 1907, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Date of Death||19 August 1986, Hollywood, California, USA (lung cancer)|
Mini Bio (1)
Lorenzo Tucker in his prime was billed and known as "The Black Valentino," named after Rudolph Valentino, because of his tall, dark, dashing good looks, muscular built, secret charm and coolness. Tucker was one of Black Cinema's most popular leading actors, appearing in close to 20 films. He started acting at Temple University in Philadelphia where he contemplated medicine but caught the acting bug. He perfected his art by appearing in college plays and got his entry into movies from legendary film maker Oscar Micheaux. Lorenzo's prime was from the late 1920s to the end of the 1930s. He became a bona fide movie star to Black America, he was often mentioned in the leading Black newspapers.
Tucker was an Oscar Micheaux discovery and appeared in many of his important films, one of the most controversial was "Veiled Aristocrats" where Lorenzo played a Negro who successfully passes as white and returns to the family to coax his sister into passing for white like him. Throughout the movie, Lorenzo plays the part of a white man and plays it very realistically. His light complexion played a part in his exit from movies, it was hard attaining success in mainstream films, particularly Hollywood, because he was considered not Black enough. He had success on the stage in Broadway productions, "The Constant Sinner," "Ol' Man Satan," and "Humming Sam." In one controversial play on stage in Washington, D.C., he played the pimp to legendary Mae West's prostitute. It was to be her last stage role. A scene called for Lorenzo to kiss Mae West, and the theater critics of the capital city's press were outraged to see a Black man kissing a white woman. They demanded the scene to be stricken from the play. Never short of spirit, not one to seek an escape from battle, the show's star never wavered. Miss West would stand for no alteration in the play. It left the city.
Tucker had success outside of show business, service in the army during World War 2 led him to become an autopsy technician for the medical examiner's office in New York City. He handled many celebrities, gangsters and prominent figures like Malcolm X and Nina Mae McKinney in his line of work that in a way still kept him connected to show business. He was also a talented photographer.
Tucker was the only Black involved in Black Cinema who people could locate and who lived long enough to see his talent and contributions recognized, appreciated and awarded. In 1974, he traveled to accept nomination into The Black Film Makers Hall of Fame which he always cherished. He was often compared to early Hollywood actor William Powell because of resemblances in looks and nonchalant acting. He died of lung cancer at his Los Angeles home and was interred at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Alicia T. (MsLadySoul@aol.com)
|Paulina Segura||(? - 19 August 1986) (his death)|