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Walter Mason, Jr.

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Information about Walter Mason, Jr.

Profile image of Walter Mason, Jr.

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actor
Production Manager
Stage Director
Stage Production Manager

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream (Butter Pecan)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Tahiti
Favorite Quote:
Make It Happen.

Birthplace

Born:
1/26/1926
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actor
Production Manager
Stage Director
Stage Production Manager

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream (Butter Pecan)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Tahiti
Favorite Quote:
Make It Happen.

Birthplace

Born:
1/26/1926
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Walter Mason, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Production manager, stage actor, stage director, and stage production manager Walter Mason, Jr. was born on January 26, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan. His mother, Joanna Columbus Mason, a school teacher, and his father, Walter Mason, Sr., a skilled laborer, reared Mason in a church and community-oriented environment. After graduating from Detroit’s Northwestern High School, Mason attended Wayne State University, where he earned his B.A degree in theater and business administration. Years later, Mason attended the Detroit College of Law while he continued to pursue a career in theater.

In a 1952 adaptation of Richard Wright’s book Native Son, he portrayed its chief character “Booker Thomas” at the World Stage in Detroit, Michigan. His theatrical performances include his role as “Othello” in seven separate productions of Othello and “Caliban” in two productions of The Tempest. Mason has also been an instrumental figure in notable Broadway productions such as Purlie Victorious and A Streetcar Named Desire. Beyond acting, Mason served as a producer, director and artist for The Good Book Sings on WJR Radio and appeared on WXYZ TV’s, Showtime at the Apollo as the master of ceremonies. He collaborated with choreographer, Alvin Ailey, in 1961 as the musical and production manager of African Holiday. Six years later, Mason became the production manager for The Emperor Jones, which starred actor James Earl Jones. Throughout his career, Mason has worked closely with many celebrities, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Jimmy Durante, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Ella Fitzgerald, Lola Falana, Jackie Gleason and Gladys Knight and the Pips. As a private speech and drama coach, Mason has worked with many public figures and film and television performers.

Mason served as an associate to the dean of Yale University School of Drama at both Yale and on Broadway. In 1983, Mason produced and directed a theatrical presentation at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. featuring aspiring young actors from black colleges and universities for The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. The following year, Mason directed the production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play, A Soldier’s Story, at Detroit’s Fisher Theater.

Mason is the entertainment director at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel and the founder and artistic director of the Aldridge Theater Company, Inc.

Mason passed away on February 28, 2017 at age 91.

See how Walter Mason, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Mason, Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Mason, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes his mother's upbringing and personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes his father's personality and career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Mason, Jr. talks about his grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers his neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes the sights and sounds of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers the case of McGhee v. Sipes
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers his early childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers his schooling
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls transferring to Northwestern High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers his interests as a teenager
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers his early awareness of racial discrimination
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls enlisting in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes the racial discrimination in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls his introduction to theater at Wayne University in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers his early theater roles, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers his early theater roles, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Mason, Jr. talks about his early theater training
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes the Panorama of Progress program
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes his radio series, 'The Good Book Sings'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls his decision to enroll at the Detroit College of Law in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes the arts community in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls his performance in 'The Tempest'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls managing the production of 'Jazz Train'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls his opportunity to act in 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers meeting Alvin Ailey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers managing 'Free Sounds of '63'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls his role in 'Free Sounds of '63'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers starring in 'Purlie Victorious'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Mason, Jr. reflects upon his theater career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theater Foundation in Waterford, Connecticut
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers working with Sammy Davis, Jr., pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes the misconceptions about Sammy Davis, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers managing a production of 'The Amen Corner'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls his difficulties with the Actors' Equity Association, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls his difficulties with the Actors' Equity Association, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers working with Sammy Davis, Jr., pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls the Bicentennial Homecoming Festival in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls opening a restaurant in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers the Creative Express Theater Company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers his work for the Michigan Bell Telephone Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Mason, Jr. remembers moving to Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter Mason, Jr. recalls his theatrical work at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes his work at the West Las Vegas Arts Center in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter Mason, Jr. reflects upon his life and career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes his advice for aspiring artists
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter Mason, Jr. describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter Mason, Jr. shares a message to future generations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Walter Mason, Jr. talks about the opportunities for artistic growth
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Walter Mason, Jr. narrates his photographs