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Clinton Turner Davis

Theatrical director Clinton Turner Davis was born on April 9, 1949 in Washington, D.C. to Josephine Davis and Clinton Davis. Davis attended McKinley Technical High School, where he performed in plays and was president of the thespian club. He briefly attended Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana, but received his B.F.A. degree in theater from Howard University in 1972.

After being cast in Slaughterhouse Play at the Public Theatre in New York City, Davis began his career with the Negro Ensemble Company in 1972 as the production stage manager for The Great Macdaddy at St. Mark’s Playhouse. Throughout the 1970s, Davis served as the stage manager for a succession of Negro Ensemble Company productions, including Eden, Nevis Mountain Dew, Old Phantoms: A Play in Two Acts, The Sixteenth Round, Zooman and the Sign, Weep Not for Me and Home. In 1982, Davis made his directorial debut with Abercrombie Apocalypse: An American Tragedy at Westside Arts Theatre in New York City. Produced by Negro Ensemble Company and written by playwright Paul Carter Harrison, the off-Broadway drama starred Graham Brown, Timothy B. Lynch, and Barbara Montgomery. Davis would go on to direct Pearl Cleage’s first play, Puppetplay, at Theatre Four in New York City in 1982, and serve as the stage manager for Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music in 1983. Additional Negro Ensemble Company productions directed by Davis in the 1980s included Two Can Play, House of Shadows and That Serious He-Man Ball. In 1986, Davis co-founded the Non-Traditional Casting Project. He then directed his first August Wilson play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, at Theatreworks in Palo Alto, California in 1989. At the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1993, Davis directed Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, which was the festival’s first produced work by an African American playwright. In 2013, he directed Charles Fuller’s One Night.... Davis was an associate professor of drama at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Davis served as a director for the American Young Playwrights Festival in New York City. He was a guest lecturer at Yale University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, The Ohio State University, and Howard University; and directed theatrical productions at The Juilliard School, Brandeis University, and Colorado College. Davis received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Howard University, in addition to Dallas Theatre, Bay Area, and Drama-logue Critics’ Awards. In 2015, Davis received the Lloyd Richards Directors Award from the National Black Arts Festival.

Clinton Turner Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 25, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.045

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/25/2016

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Turner

Schools

Charles E. Young Elementary School

Barnard Elementary School

Keene Elementary School

MacFarland Middle School

LaSalle-Backus Education Center

McKinley Technology High School

Hanover College

Hunter College

First Name

Clinton

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

DAV38

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

North Carolina

Favorite Quote

And there you have it. -- It speaks for itself.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/9/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Theatrical director Clinton Turner Davis (1950- ) began his career with Negro Ensemble Company in 1972. He has directed numerous off-Broadway productions, including works by Pearl Cleage, Paul Carter Harrison and August Wilson.

Employment

Colorado College

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs

University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of California, Berkeley

Yale University

Ohio State University

Howard University

Apollo Theater

Colorado Festival of World Theatre/Market Theatre Tre

Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games

Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Artists Residency

Anna Deavere Smith Project

First National Symposium on Non-Traditional Casting

Favorite Color

Green, orange, black

André De Shields

Stage actor, director, and choreographer André De Shields was born on January 12, 1946 in Dundalk, Maryland to Mary Gunther and John De Shields. He was raised in Baltimore, Maryland as the ninth of eleven children. De Shields obtained his high school diploma at Baltimore City College in 1964, and earned his B.A. degree in English literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1970. In 1991, De Shields received his M.A. degree in African American studies from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

De Shields began his career in 1969 at Chicago’s Shubert Theatre in Tom O’Horgan’s production of Hair, The American Tribal-Love Rock Musical. In 1971, De Shields joined the Organic Theater Company and began performing in Wrap! in Chicago. In 1973, De Shields left the Organic Theater Company and became an associate choreographer for Bette Midler’s Clams on the Half Shell Revue the following year. In the late 1970s, De Shields began choreographing for Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street. He then went on to perform in many televised productions, including Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1982), Alice in Wonderland (1983), and Duke Ellington, The Music Lives On (1984). De Shields continued his work while holding professorships at New York University, Southern Methodist University, and the University of Michigan. In 2009, in honor of President Barack Obama’s election, Mr. De Shields created his solo performance, Frederick Douglass: Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.

De Shields received numerous awards, including three Chicago Joseph Jefferson Awards and nine AUDELCO Awards. In 1982, De Shields won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance for the NBC TV Special based on Ain’t Misbehavin’. In 2004, he received honorary doctorate of fine arts degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and from SUNY-Buffalo State. De Shields received a Village Voice OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance in 2007, and in 2009, he won the National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award. De Shields received a Distinguished Achievement Award from Fox Foundation Fellowship in 2012, a Making Waves Award from Florida Atlantic University in 2014, an Award for Excellence in The Arts from the theatre school at DePaul University in 2015, and a Pioneer of the Arts Award from Riant Theatre in 2016.

André De Shields was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 19, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.020

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/19/2016 |and| 9/22/2016

Last Name

De Shields

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Robin

Schools

New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study

John Hurst Elementary School No. 120

Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts

Baltimore City College

Wilmington College

University of Wisconsin-Madison

First Name

André

Birth City, State, Country

Dundalk

HM ID

DES04

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Port Antonio, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

The Top Of One Mountain Is The Bottom Of The Next, So Keep Climbing.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

1/12/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Lima Beans

Short Description

Stage actor, director, and choreographer André De Shields (1946 - ) starred on Broadway in The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On!, The Full Monty, and Impressionism in addition to serving as director of numerous off-Broadway productions.

Employment

The Full Monty

Ain't Misbehavin

The Wiz

SUNY-Buffalo State College

CUNY- Hunter College

Gallatin School of Individualized Study

New York University School of Education, Health, Nursing and Arts Professions

Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts

Southern Methodist University

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Morehouse College

Favorite Color

Red

Walter Mason, Jr.

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.

Accession Number

A2007.314

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/31/2007

Last Name

Mason

Maker Category
Schools

Northwestern High School

Wayne State University

Sampson Elementary School

Munger Middle School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Walter

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

MAS05

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Tahiti

Favorite Quote

Make It Happen.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

1/26/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream (Butter Pecan)

Death Date

2/28/2017

Short Description

Stage actor, production manager, stage director, and stage production manager Walter Mason, Jr. (1926 - 2017 ) was the entertainment director at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel and the founder and artistic director of the Aldridge Theater Company, Inc.

Employment

Detroit Art Institute

World Stage

Wayne State University

University of Detroit Mercy

Eugene O'Neill Foundation

Michigan Bell Telephone Company

Las Vegas Hilton (Hotel)

Ira Aldridge Theatre Co., Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

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

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Walter Mason, Jr. describes the racial discrimination in the U.S. Air Force
Walter Mason, Jr. remembers working with Sammy Davis, Jr., pt. 1
Transcript
Did you face any racism in the air cadets [sic. U.S. Army Air Forces; U.S. Air Force]?$$Oh yes.$$Could you explain that a little bit more for us, and how that was? Because basically you were sheltered all your life away from it.$$Yes.$$Now you're in a, in a federal, national organization where there is no shelter. Could you explain that to us, please?$$And traveling around the country in various locales such as Dyersburg, Tennessee; Biloxi [Mississippi]; Lou- a field in Louisiana, you got a real dose of, of racial prejudice, and it had its effect on, on you. You ask questions, how can a bus driver take somebody a mile beyond their stop before he lets them off the bus? And that happened at Shreveport, Louisiana. And came into a major church there and slapped a woman's face, and came back and got on, in his bus seat and drove off, and nothing was done. Or in Shreveport, the allowance of soldiers to be told that they couldn't come to town with a Captain Crockett [ph.] of--who was in leadership in the police department. And he would have an ability to have the soldiers stick their head--, "Look at this piece of paper I have in my hand. Now, draw yourself in and come and look at this paper." And he'd draw, he'd have the soldier to look at the paper, and he'd roll up the window. And once he rolled the window up, catching him between the neck and the window, he'd--, "Didn't I tell you not to come into town? And don't let me catch you in this town." It was this kind of activity that you--whoa.$$Did this occur particularly with you, or did you see this happening?$$This, there was a situation where I had a .45 on, going to Texarkana to get a prisoner. And there was an older gentleman who came up to me and said, "You got business here, boy?" I said, "Yes, I've come to this town to take a prisoner back." "All right, boy, but don't let me see you getting into any mischief." And took his foot and kicked me. Now, I could have turned around as a militant soldier, but I didn't. I knew enough to measure my losses and to step away. And for that, I am grateful.$$So there was definitely a lot of--not just inside of the, itself--you--in your travels and your duties, even just even doing your duties, there were problems with racism?$$Oh yes. For example, there was a situation where it came to--I began writing for one of the military newspapers. And they had a habit of on Fridays draining the pool. They would allow the black soldiers to go into the pool--this was in Dyersburg, Tennessee. And they could swim on that Friday, but they would drain the pool as the soldiers were in the pool. And I wrote in my article that it was not on a Friday, you with your Purple Heart, got shuffled around. It was not on a Friday that Bill [ph.], you, with, in your transition from the European sector to the Asian sector, got strapped with an event like this. So, why should it be in the home of the brave and the land of the free that you're not allowed to go swimming? And the commander called me into his office and said, "Do you want us to print this?" I said, "Well, I wrote it in truth, and I expect you to print it in truth." Another week I received my papers to go to, I think it was--no, this was in Coffeyville, not Dyersburg. This is in Coffeyville, Kansas, to go to, to be transferred out. And the war [World War II, WWII] ended, and so that got wrapped up and nothing more was heard of it.$Sixty-four [1964], you play Pepper White in 'Golden Boy' [Clifford Odets and William Gibson]. Now tell us about 'Golden Boy.' What was very significant about that?$$Well, that's the Sammy Davis, Jr. show (laughter). 'Golden Boy,' written by, eventually written by Bill Gibson, was the piece that was earlier presented with John Garfield as a movie. And Sammy had an ability to take on this project and take on the abilities of a fighter, a boxer and a singer, with new lyrics by Strouse [Charles Strouse] and Adams [Lee Adams]. And I had just joined Sammy, and he offered me this opportunity, but first as just an actor to play Pepper White. I did not sign a run of the play contract. I signed it just as a regular actor. Run of the play, you get, as long as the play runs, you--$$You're in it.$$You're in it. Well, the writers selected that they write out the part of Pepper White. And that's part of, of creativity of the theater. So, they wrote the part of Pepper Adams out.$$Pepper White?$$Pepper White. And so then I was out of that, but I didn't worry about being out of the play. I just went my merry way. And later, it came to be that they were auditioning for a production manager, and they called me. And so I went back as a production manager, which is a higher rate of pay, and--$$Than the actor was (laughter)?$$Right. So, I came in that way. And when you're in with a superstar like Sammy Davis, you get to know him pretty well, and he gets to know you pretty well. And I think Sammy was one of the most misunderstood individuals in show business.$$Please explain. I was going to ask you, what was he like, what was his personality? But explain it from your perspective.$$Well, Sammy was a genuine giver. And I can understand why he had as many difficulties with people like the IRS [Internal Revenue Service], and so forth because he took on the belief, or disbelief, that money was money. It's all to be here to enjoy. We're here for such a short time. Get it, give it, enjoy it. That was his mantra. And don't worry about saving or doing other things. See somebody who needs--who has been wronged, help that person. [HistoryMaker] Maya Angelou was singing in 'Porgy and Bess' [George Gershwin] in her earlier years. They couldn't get a pair of shoes to fit her. Have some made. If the boat--the boat does not leave the dock unless it is first class. And that was Sammy's attitude toward everything. And I think that he had great appreciation for me, because he felt that he ran into somebody that was intellectually challenging.

Adam Wade

Adam Wade was born Patrick Henry Wade on March 17, 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Pauline Simpson and Henry Oliver Wade, Jr. Wade was raised by his grandparents in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood and graduated from Westinghouse High School in 1952. He went on to attend Virginia State College, but married his high school sweetheart and soon left school in order to support his young family.

Wade started singing while still in high school. In 1958, he got his first opportunity to record for the Coed Records label in New York City. Two years later, he moved to New York full-time, and within six months, he was singing at the city’s most prestigious club, the Copacabana. Wade’s first hit, “Ruby,” was released that same year. He had three top ten singles in 1961: “Take Good Care of Her,” “The Writing on the Wall” and “As If I Didn’t Know.” Wade had less success after moving over to Epic Records later that year. In the late 1960s, he shifted his focus to acting. Wade began doing commercials and voice-over work. In 1970, he starred in the film Wanderlove. Wade had a number of supporting roles in films in the early 1970s, and he began to be featured on television, in soaps like The Guiding Light and black-oriented sitcoms like Sanford & Son and Good Times.

In 1975, Wade began hosting the television game show Musical Chairs, becoming the first black game show host. In 1978, he restarted his recording career. Wade also starred in an all-black production of Guys and Dolls in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1983, Wade and his wife, Jeree Wade, started their own production company called SONGBIRD’S UNLIMITED PRODUCTIONS. They have produced many African American historical revues, including the off Broadway musical, Shades of Harlem which opened at the Village Gate in New York in 1983 and recently stopped touring in 2005. In the 1980s and 1990s, Wade continued to appear regularly on stage and screen including an episode of Hill Street Blues. In April of 2007, Wade began the national tour of the hit Broadway play, The Color Purple, playing the role of “Old Mister Johnson”. Wade has also taken turns as a director, writer and producer. He has received Audelco and Clio Awards for his work.

Over forty years after leaving college, Wade returned to school, earning his B.A. degree from Lehman College and his M.A. degree from Brooklyn College. He works as an adjunct professor of speech and theater at Long Island University and Bloomfield College.

Wade has been married to his wife, Jeree, for twenty-five years.

Adam Wade was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 27, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.168

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/27/2007

Last Name

Wade

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Westinghouse Academy

Lehman College

Brooklyn College

Virginia State University

John Morrow Elementary School

Larimer School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Adam

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

WAD01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Making Money Is A Habit And There's Nothing I Can Do About It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

3/17/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

East Orange

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Creamed Cauliflower

Short Description

Actor, singer, and stage producer Adam Wade (1935 - ) was the first African American to host a game show on television, "Musical Chairs." Wade recorded hit singles as a singer and his television acting credits included, "Sanford & Son," and, "Good Times."

Employment

'The Color Purple'

Jonas Salk polio research team

Kauffmann's

Coed Records

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Adam Wade's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Adam Wade lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Adam Wade describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Adam Wade describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Adam Wade describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Adam Wade recalls lessons from his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Adam Wade describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Adam Wade describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Adam Wade recalls racial discrimination in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Adam Wade describes his involvement in civil rights protests

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes his early pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Adam Wade recalls living in foster care

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Adam Wade remembers the entertainment of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Adam Wade remembers the Larimer School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Adam Wade describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Adam Wade describes the Negro League in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Adam Wade talks about basketball stars from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Adam Wade talks about basketball stars from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Adam Wade describes his athletic career at Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Adam Wade describes his experiences at Virginia State College in Petersburg, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes his works experiences at Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Adam Wade remembers his departure from Virginia State College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Adam Wade describes his position on Jonas Salk's polio research team

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Adam Wade describes his early singing career

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Adam Wade remembers his first records for Coed Records, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Adam Wade describes his early singles, 'Tell Her For Me' and 'Ruby'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Adam Wade describes his transition to acting

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Adam Wade recalls his first commercial role

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Adam Wade remembers his mentor, Adolph Caesar

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Adam Wade describes his stage acting career in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Adam Wade remembers his film credits, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Adam Wade remembers his film credits, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Adam Wade reflects upon his favorite acting roles

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Adam Wade recalls his audition for the host role on 'Musical Chairs'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Adam Wade remembers preparing for his role on 'Musical Chairs'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes the premise of 'Musical Chairs'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Adam Wade remembers acting in the 'Uptown Saturday Night' television pilot

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Adam Wade describes his acting career in the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Adam Wade describes his decision to return to college

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Adam Wade describes the Chicago production of 'The Color Purple,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Adam Wade describes the Chicago production of 'The Color Purple,' pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Adam Wade describes the Chicago production of 'The Color Purple,' pt. 3

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Adam Wade talks about his interest in writing

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Adam Wade describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Adam Wade reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Adam Wade reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Adam Wade talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Adam Wade describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Adam Wade narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$1

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Adam Wade recalls his first commercial role
Adam Wade recalls lessons from his paternal grandfather
Transcript
And so, I worked all around the country and all over the world, you know. And, learning, and then I started studying acting, and then I got into commercials. With the commercials, at first, it was kind of redundantly bad, if that's an expression I can use. Because everywhere I went they would say, "Aren't you [HistoryMaker] Adam Wade the singer?" I would say, "Yes." They say, "Well, we're not looking for singers today." They would throw that in my face, you know (laughter). And, I thought, "Let me drag this guy down to the basement in the dark and see if I can dust him up or something (laughter)." But, finally, 'cause I was gonna qui- I was gonna, I was gonna quite, "That's it, I'm going to give this up." But, Vernee Watson [Vernee Watson-Johnson] who played the mother of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith, she was also studying with the Al Fann Theatrical Ensemble and she encouraged me to go. She said, "Just try one more week, and if nothing happens," and she said, "But, you should--don't give up today." And, I didn't. And, two days later I got my first commercial for Getty gasoline [Getty Oil].$$Okay.$$That was terrific, and the commercial was in the car in Central Park [New York, New York], late at night, kissing this girl in the backseat of the car. I said, "Man, this is wonderful, (laughter)."$$You got paid for it (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) You guy, you guys gonna pay me for this, you know. And, it was Laura Greene who is beautiful anyway (laughter). It was like, "Oh, my, my, my (laughter)."$$So, what year is this, is this--?$$That was in nineteen- I guess, '70 [1970].$$Nineteen seventy [1970]. So, you get paid to kiss Laura Greene in the back of a car.$$In the backseat of a convertible for Getty gasoline, my, my, my (laughter), life is grand. Yeah.$$Okay. So, this--did the rest, did more work follow?$$Yes. Actually, it's like anything else, once the door opens, you know, you step across the threshold and you're in the game, you know.$So, tell me this, when you think back on what people have told you, I guess, about your parents [Pauline Nelson Simpson and Henry Wade, Jr.] and reflect on your [paternal] grandparents [Helen Jones Wade and Henry Wade, Sr.], who do you think you take after the most?$$Probably my grandfather in a, in a lot of instances. My approach to work. My approach to business. My grandfather, he believed in independence. And, when I was eleven, he said, "I'm gonna show you what independence is." He said, "And, freedom in America, helps you become independent. But, you can only become independent if you can earn money." So, he said, "Starting now, this is what you gonna do." So, I got a paper route. I was able to shine shoes. I took groceries home for people. In the summertime, he taught me how to shape hedges, how to paint, how to change tires, change the oil in a car. And, it was just one, one thing right after another. But, I was twelve or thirteen years old, I always had money. And, when I went away to college [Virginia State College; Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia], it was just so much fun for me because right away I lined up people's cars that I would wash. I would babysit. I could wax the floors, wash the windows. I could sew on buttons. I could iron. You know, so, all these little things, my grandfather taught me along the way, you know, so I always made money, you know.

Maurice Hines, Jr.

Choreographer, dancer, actor and director Maurice Robert Hines, Jr. was born on December 13, 1943 in New York City. His parents were Alma Hines and Maurice Hines, Sr. He is the brother of the late jazz tap dancer and actor, Gregory Hines. A graduate of Jose Quintanos School for Young Professionals, Hines began studying tap dancing in New York City at age five at the Henry LeTang Dance Studio in 1948. LeTang realized his pupil’s gift for dance and began choreographing numbers tailored for Hines and his younger brother Gregory.

In 1954, when Hines was 10 years old, he and Gregory appeared in the Broadway musical comedy The Girl in Pink Tights. Following in the footsteps of the famed Nicholas brothers, they soon began appearing on stage throughout the country. They toured as the opening act for such headliners as Lionel Hampton and Gypsy Rose Lee. Their father joined the act as a drummer, and the threesome became known as Hines, Hines & Dad, performing to rave reviews in New York, Las Vegas and Europe. They made television appearances on The Pearl Bailey Show, Hollywood Palace and appeared 35 times on The Tonight Show.

In 1973, Hines began his solo career singing and dancing as Nathan Detroit in the hit musical National Touring Company of Guys and Dolls with Debbie Allen and Richard Roundtree. After his performance, Hines created a sensation in the hit Broadway musical Eubie, which opened at the Ambassador Theatre in New York on September 20, 1978 and closed October 7, 1979. The show also starred his brother Gregory and was choreographed by Henry LeTang. In 1981, Hines returned to Broadway with his performance in Bring Back Birdie with Chita Rivera. That same year, he also appeared in Sophisticated Ladies.

Turning his talents to the big screen, Hines made his film debut in 1984, in Francis Ford Coppola’s Cotton Club and during that same time with Mercedes Ellington formed Ballet Tap USA, a dance company. In 1986, he conceived, directed, choreographed, and starred in the musical Uptown…It’s Hot!. The show played for seventeen sold-out weeks in Atlantic City before moving to Broadway where Hines received a Tony Award nomination as Best Actor in a Musical. He went on to direct several theater productions including the National Tour of the musical Harlem Suite with leading ladies Jennifer Holiday, Stephanie Mills and Melba Moore and internationally the musical Havana Night in Cuba.

In 2006, Hines collaborated on a new Broadway dance musical, Hot Feet, with Maurice White, the creator of the renown R&B group Earth, Wind and Fire and also released a jazz album, To Nat King Cole with Love.

Hines resides in New York City.

Hines was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 9, 2007.

Accession Number

A2006.154

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/8/2006 |and| 1/9/2007

Last Name

Hines

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Maurice

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

HIN02

Favorite Season

Christmas

Sponsor

Carol H. Williams Advertising

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Gotcha!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/13/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken, Fish

Short Description

Choreographer, entertainer, and stage director Maurice Hines, Jr. (1943 - ) received a Tony Award for his performance in 'Uptown...It's Hot!'

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:2805,65:16505,257:23728,397:27904,824:29488,1013:29992,1021:33500,1323:57244,1519:76482,1777:80900,1797:82928,1894:118746,2281:119116,2287:123334,2393:127848,2479:131252,2542:134890,2547$0,0:2475,54:9450,220:24266,487:24646,493:41780,744:45224,832:46148,845:46736,853:50684,1032:51272,1041:51692,1048:61024,1257:62520,1302:64968,1349:70000,1460:76662,1717:85714,1982:91840,2051
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Maurice Hines, Jr. interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Maurice Hines, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls walking with his brother on Harlem's Lenox Avenue

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his and his brother's first dance lessons

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls the start of his father's drumming career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his early performances at New York City's Apollo Theater

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his childhood in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes the role of religion in his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his family

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his maternal uncle paying for his dance lessons

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls seeing the Nicholas brothers for the first time

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's performances with Shirley Temple

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers African American tap dancers

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers Harlem's dance culture in the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers his early dance training

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his first Broadway role

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his mother acting as his business manager

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his experiences of discrimination in Miami, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Maurice Hines, Jr. how African American artists were received in Europe

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls the formation of Hines, Hines and Dad

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers Johnny Carson's support

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes the changes in the entertainment industry

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers working with Ella Fitzgerald

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls opening for Ella Fitzgerald in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers meeting Tallulah Bankhead in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls portraying Nathan Detroit in 'Guys and Dolls'

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his and his brother's career changes

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls the end of his act with his brother, Gregory Hines

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers performing in 'Sophisticated Ladies'

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about the importance of respect

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his early choreography

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls performing with his brother in 'Eubie!'

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers acting with his brother in 'The Cotton Club'

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers collaborating with Maurice White on 'Hot Feet'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes the reviews of his musical, 'Hot Feet'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Maurice Hines, Jr. shares his perspective on Broadway critics

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes the challenges of choreography

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about the success of 'Hot Feet'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his and his brother's styles of tap dance

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls choreographing the music video for Quincy Jones' 'I'll Be Good to You'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating Maurice Hines, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about choreographer Michael Peters

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls working with his brother on 'The Cotton Club'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his nightclub circuit in the Catskill Mountains

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his return to the entertainment business

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers New York City's cabaret nightclubs

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls replacing his brother in 'Sophisticated Ladies'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his style of tap choreography

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about his show, 'Uptown... It's Hot'

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about racial discrimination on Broadway

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers marketing his musical, 'Hot Feet'

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls the impact of his Tony Award nomination

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about African American performers in Broadway shows

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers working with the stars of 'Dreamgirls'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his choreographic work in Cuba and the Dominican Republic

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers choreographing for the Rockettes

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls musicals featuring Savion Glover and Gregory Hines

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Maurice Hines, Jr. reflects upon the changes in dance training

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Maurice Hines, Jr. reflects upon his experiences as an actor

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers his transition to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about African American dance company directors

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his project, 'Yo Alice'

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about his style of choreography

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remembers 'Jelly's Last Jam' and 'Pippin'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about his mentor, Joe Layton, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about his mentor, Joe Layton, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes the history of African American dancers

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about his collaboration with Maurice White

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Maurice Hines, Jr. remember his brother, Gregory Hines' death

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Maurice Hines, Jr. reflects upon the changes in show business

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about his daughter

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about the development of his spirituality

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Maurice Hines, Jr. reflects upon his career

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his early challenges as an entertainer

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Maurice Hines, Jr. reflects upon his mother's support for his career

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes his recent projects

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes the importance of stage presence

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Maurice Hines, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Maurice Hines, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

8$4

DATitle
Maurice Hines, Jr. recalls his early performances at New York City's Apollo Theater
Maurice Hines, Jr. talks about the success of 'Hot Feet'
Transcript
How old were you when you--?$$When we started traveling? Oh, we were eight and ten when all of a sudden we hit it big. Because we got with this great teacher, Henry LeTang. And Henry took us to see--I'll tell you the punch line of the story--to see this lady at the Apollo Theater [New York, New York] because he wanted us to get on the 'Amateur Night' ['Amateur Night at the Apollo']. So, we went to--upstairs, and she looked at us and she said, "Yeah, they're cute. So--but don't put them on the show, because they're cute, they'll win because they're cute." And she didn't know we really could dance. And Henry said, "Okay, do whatever you want." And I asked her, I said, "Well, what do you do?" And she said, "Well, I'm a comedian on the regular show." So, she said, "Well you go out and see the regular show" because the 'Amateur Night' was after the regular show, in between the two shows in the evening. So, we go out there and we sit in the front. She, obviously she was the, she was the star because they made seats for us. And at the end of the show when the star comes out, it was Dinah Washington. And I--she came on singing 'Blue Gardenia.' And I said, "Oh," and I remember saying--because she said she was a comedian. And of course, the place went crazy, it was Dinah Washington singing. So, then she said--we went on the show, and she stood in the wings. She said, "Henry LeTang, they really can dance." She said, "They should have been on." He said, "Well, I didn't want to tell you that, because you just thought they were cute." So, we were doing flips and dips, like the Nicholas brothers [HistoryMaker Fayard Nicholas and Harold Nicholas]. She said, "Okay, I'll tell you what. Put 'em on next week with Ruth," meaning Ruth Brown. So, that was 1955. And that was the first time we ever worked the Apollo Theater, and we worked it fifteen times. They would have us every other week. And, and we worked, oh, we worked with (unclear)--the Spaniels, (unclear) there was Lar- Larry Williams, 'Bony Maronie.' We worked it with everybody. And we did one great show. It was a wonderful show with the Four Aces, Gregory [Gregory Hines] and I, The Hines Kids, [HistoryMaker] Diahann Carroll, and Nipsey Russell. It was a great show, it was a great show. And I'm still friends with Diahann to this day.$$Are any of those shows on tape?$$No, they did not tape them. The only thing are pictures--that great photographer, he did this kind of picture with pictures around it, with one in a circle, which I have.$So, they forced me. And when I was looking--and, oh, this wonderful story. When I was doing the end, the end of the ballet "Faces"--it's called "Faces" when all the dancers dance. I look over, and I see Maurice White like wiping his face. I thought, you know, he'd been there all day and he was tired. I thought he was just wiping his eyes. And he was crying. I asked his manager, I said, "Herb [Herb Powell], what's--is Maurice okay?" He said, "Yeah. He never thought that his music would inspire dancing like this." See, that's the humbleness of the man. And I, I got choked up, I did. Because I wanted him to be happy. He was, he was the one I really wanted to please. I mean, I want Maurice White to say, "It's okay." But he said more than that. He can't wait to do it again, he can't wait, you know.$$Well, you exceeded the Joffrey Ballet. Remember when they did their little Prince thing ['Billboards'], and they did all that stuff to Prince music (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh, yes, yes.$$And I thought that was great, until I saw 'Hot Feet' [Heru Ptah]. And I'm like, this is how it should be done.$$Well, that's an honor, that's an honor.$$This is how it should be done.$$Because I adore Joffrey Ballet. So, that's an honor that you said that, and I'm very pleased you said it. Because I di- thought that they--but this is--that's me up there. Everyone that saw it--all the dancers, all the dancers that came--all my buddies that know me from 'Jelly's Last Jam' [George C. Wolfe], and 'Guys and Dolls,' Debbie Allen said, "Maurice [HistoryMaker Maurice Hines, Jr.], that's you up there. That's how you dance, you know." That's it. So, now, with me getting in it, now there'll be some tap in it. Because [HistoryMaker] Louis Johnson said, "You cannot get in this show and not tap. Now, they're going to want you to tap. You can do all that other jazz stuff. But you--." I'll be part of the ballet. I'm going to do, I'm going to change the ballet, and I'm going to dance more in it with Vivian [Vivian Nixon].

Micki Grant

Lyricist, composer, writer and performer, Micki Grant was born to Gussie and Oscar Perkins on June 30 in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother worked for Stanley Products and her father was a master barber and self-taught pianist. Encouraged by her parents to pursue music, writing and acting, Grant began taking piano lessons at eight years old, and at age nine, she took drama classes from Susan Porché. After high school, she pursued her acting career in earnest. Moving to Los Angeles, under the tutelage of her cousin, Jeni LeGon, a Hollywood tap dancer and performer, Grant was cast in James V. Hatch and C. Bernard Jackson’s Fly Blackbird. She moved with the show to New York City, where she also earned her B.A. degree in English and theatre at CUNY’s Lehman College, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

It was in New York that the writer, musician and performer consolidated her talents. While cast in Jean Genet’s long-running play, The Blacks, Grant began studying acting with Herbert Berhof and Lloyd Richards. As a result of her stage work, she won a major role in the daytime series Edge of Night. She also began to write a musical score with Vinnette Carroll, with whom she was to enjoy a successful collaboration that included, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, The Ups and Downs of Theophilis Maitland, Step Lively, Boy and Croesus and the Witch. Grants other Broadway credits include Your Arms Too Short to Box With God in 1976 and Working in 1978. As a lyricist, Grant worked on Eubie in 1978 and It’s So Nice to Be Civilized in 1980. Her other credits in music and lyrics includes J. E. Franklin’s The Prodigal Sister in 1974 and music and lyrics for Phillis in 1986. She also wrote the English lyrics for Jacques Brel Blues.

Grant received a Helen Hayes Award for her performance as Sadie Delaney in a two-year tour of Having Our Say in 1996, which also ran six-weeks in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1998. She is the recipient of the National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award in 1999 and the AUDELCO’s Outstanding Pioneer Award in 2000. In February 2005, she was honored at the New Federal Theatre’s 35th Anniversary Gala.

Grant has also garnered a Grammy for Best Score from an original cast album; an OBIE Award for music and lyrics; a Drama Desk Award for lyrics and performance; an Outer Critics Circle Award for music, lyrics and performance and five Tony nominations. She is also the recipient of an NAACP Image Award.

Grant resides in New York City.

Accession Number

A2006.095

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/21/2006 |and| 9/1/2006

Last Name

Grant

Maker Category
Schools

McCosh Elementary School

Englewood High School

University of Illinois at Chicago

First Name

Micki

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

GRA07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/30/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Actress, lyricist, and songwriter Micki Grant (1941 - ) was a Grammy-winning composer, writer & performer who also earned five Tony Awards. Her Broadway credits included, "Your Arms Too Short to Box With God," and, "Working." Grant received a Helen Hayes Award for her performance as Sadie Delaney in a two-year tour of, "Having Our Say," in 1996.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:3191,31:5858,46:6242,52:7586,78:8450,108:15362,198:17378,239:35654,456:68540,881:69314,891:74146,924:81558,1006:85033,1097:85585,1106:88240,1134:88660,1147:89150,1156:91050,1166:92162,1176:97935,1213:103119,1255:103593,1263:105963,1306:106674,1318:110466,1376:110861,1387:111177,1392:111967,1404:123933,1535:124714,1547:125992,1571:127412,1595:155030,1938:168964,2130:169419,2136:170693,2154:171330,2163:171967,2171:179066,2234:195508,2549:199165,2585:200374,2602:204373,2683:209520,2729$0,0:1001,24:1729,33:3185,55:3822,64:5096,79:5460,84:11011,173:27393,319:42485,545:51831,609:52099,614:52568,622:69716,802:70131,808:70878,819:72621,844:76854,920:77435,932:77933,944:84762,1029:85138,1034:86924,1132:110196,1434:116250,1544:120225,1616:124875,1694:125400,1704:127425,1748:128400,1773:142035,1922:149149,1937:155283,2002:159809,2122:169138,2251:171720,2266
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Micki Grant's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Micki Grant lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Micki Grant describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Micki Grant describes her mother's childhood in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Micki Grant recalls her experiences of segregated travel in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Micki Grant describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Micki Grant describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Micki Grant describes an heirloom from her maternal family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Micki Grant describes her mother's family background, pt. 3

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Micki Grant recalls her mother's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Micki Grant describes her father's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Micki Grant describes her father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Micki Grant describes her half brother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Micki Grant talks about being a homebody

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Micki Grant talks about her mother's career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Micki Grant describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Micki Grant remembers games from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Micki Grant recalls her Chicago community's African American leaders

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Micki Grant remembers attending Chicago's Woodlawn Union Baptist Church

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Micki Grant recalls her introduction to music

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Micki Grant describes her early music lessons

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Micki Grant recalls the various instruments she played

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Micki Grant remembers her time at the Chicago School of Music, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Micki Grant recalls her cousins' reactions to her orchestral participation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Micki Grant remembers her time at the Chicago School of Music, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Micki Grant describes misconceptions about African American speech, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Micki Grant describes misconceptions about African American speech, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Micki Grant remembers her early poetry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Micki Grant remembers her cousin, Jeni LeGon

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Micki Grant recalls African American television personalities

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Micki Grant recalls her early musical inspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Micki Grant recalls being prevented from applying for college scholarships

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Micki Grant recalls visiting her father's barbershop in Chicago

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Micki Grant recalls her father's artistic talents

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Micki Grant describes her family's political involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Micki Grant describes her early interest in reading

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Micki Grant recalls seeing entertainers at Chicago's Regal Theater

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Micki Grant remembers movie theaters on Chicago's South Side

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Micki Grant remembers Chicago's African American theater community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Micki Grant remembers African American film stars

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Micki Grant remembers meeting Nick Stewart in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Micki Grant reflects upon her education

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Micki Grant narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Micki Grant's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Micki Grant recalls her move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Micki Grant remembers her development as an actress in Los Angeles

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Micki Grant recalls performing in 'Fly Blackbird' in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Micki Grant recalls being cast in Langston Hughes' 'Tambourines to Glory'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Micki Grant talks about working with Roscoe Lee Browne

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Micki Grant remembers the opening night of 'Tambourines to Glory'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Micki Grant recalls touring with 'Brecht on Brecht'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Micki Grant remembers how she became a composer

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Micki Grant remembers meeting Vinnette Carroll for the first time

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Micki Grant describes her song, 'Step Lively, Boy'

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Micki Grant recalls collaborating on 'Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope'

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Micki Grant recalls the origin of the title 'Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope'

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Micki Grant recalls her early work with Vinnette Carroll

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Micki Grant describes the impact of the musical, 'Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Micki Grant describes her compositions about historic African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Micki Grant talks about inspirational African Americans in theater

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Micki Grant talks about the presence of African Americans on Broadway

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Micki Grant describes her theater career in the 1960s and 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Micki Grant recalls being cast in the soap opera 'The Edge of Night'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Micki Grant recalls the public's reaction to her role on 'Another World'

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Micki Grant recalls her training as an actress

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Micki Grant talks about blaxploitation films

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Micki Grant recalls the awards she won for 'Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Micki Grant shares her song, 'It Takes a Whole Lot of Human Feeling'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Micki Grant describes the musical 'Alice'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Micki Grant describes the musical 'Working'

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Micki Grant remembers working with Jennifer Holliday

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Micki Grant reflects upon her partnership with Vinnette Carroll

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Micki Grant talks about the musical 'The Color Purple'

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Micki Grant recalls joining the cast of 'Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years'

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Micki Grant recalls acting in 'Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years'

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Micki Grant describes her experiences in South Africa, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Micki Grant describes her experiences in South Africa, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Micki Grant describes the film version of 'Having Our Say'

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Micki Grant recalls being cast as Sadie in 'Having Our Say'

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Micki Grant reflects upon the beginning of her television career

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Micki Grant recalls her casting in 'The Edge of Night' and 'Another World'

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Micki Grant describes her family's reactions to her success

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Micki Grant recalls receiving the NAACP Image Award and the WIN Award

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Micki Grant recalls the critical reception to 'It's So Nice To Be Civilized'

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Micki Grant recalls meeting August Wilson at the National Black Theatre Festival

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Micki Grant recalls her keynote speech at the National Black Theatre Festival

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Micki Grant reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Micki Grant describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Micki Grant describes her maternal grandmother's ancestry

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Micki Grant talks about the significance of offbeat rhythms

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Micki Grant describes her goals and accomplishments

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Micki Grant reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Micki Grant identifies her favorite roles as an actress

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Micki Grant recalls the playwrights with whom she worked as an actress

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Micki Grant talks about roles for which she was cast

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Micki Grant recalls experiencing housing discrimination in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Micki Grant recalls memorable opening nights

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Micki Grant recalls how 'Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope' resonated with audiences

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Micki Grant shares the song 'Fighting for Pharaoh'

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Micki Grant narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$5

DAStory

5$9

DATitle
Micki Grant recalls being cast in Langston Hughes' 'Tambourines to Glory'
Micki Grant remembers how she became a composer
Transcript
Right after the--when I did my first Broadway show, which was 'Tambourines to Glory' [Langston Hughes], the director of 'Fly Blackbird,' Jerome Eskow, he came opening night and he said, "I guess we just missed it, what is it we didn't see about her?" (Laughter) They didn't think I could, you know, hold the role here, but it, it's all good lessons, you know.$$So, when did you, how did the 'Tambourines' come about, that, that show? How did you get the role, do you remember--?$$My darling Langston Hughes had seen us in Los Angeles [California], and at one point he told me later he, he enjoyed Thelma Oliver [Krishna Kaur Khalsa] and myself so much he says, "I'm gonna write a show for you guys." He said he was gonna write a show for me--never got around to doing it, but anyway 'Tambourines' was one way of doing it because I had--right after I did 'Fly Blackbird' I got a temporary office job, which if I don't how many of us would make it (laughter) if that were not in the offing and then I was cast in 'Brecht on Brecht' ['Brecht on Brecht: An Improvisation,' Samuel French] which was going to Washington, D.C., and I was told that it would be there for about two weeks and we stayed eleven weeks and somehow or other I again--well (laughter) free to believe it, I have to show you the reviews myself, but anyway I, I came off very, very well in that show, and so when I had came back to New York [New York], the, the news was out and we opened again at Sheridan Square [Sheridan Square Playhouse, New York, New York], and right after that they were--started casting 'Tambourines to Glory,' and I was sent to audition, and that's when I, I--I had it backwards, I sang for--yeah, I sang for the composer [Jobe Huntley] 'cause he's never heard me sing and then when I went they were finding a script for me to read and the producer said, "What is she reading for us for? She doesn't have to read for us," you know, which is the greatest compliment anybody can pay you, you know, and of course with Langston it was just readymade (laughter), you know, the big smile on his face and that's how I got cast in that, my very first Broadway roll and that was another experience with actors that I just had admired and--well I had first worked with [HistoryMaker] Robert Guillaume in 'Fly Blackbird,' and now here I was playing opposite him in 'Tambourines to Glory,' Louis Gossett [HistoryMaker Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr.] was in it Hilda Simms was in it, Rosetta LeNoire was playing my mother [Essie Belle Johnson] and she played my mother on television later. Oh, it was just, just a marvelous cast and Clara Ward, the Clara Ward Singers [The Famous Ward Singers]. It was a wonderful cast and a wonderful time, you know.$So let's talk about you shifting from, and we'll shift back and forth, but you also became a composer and a lyricist. How did that come about?$$Well, I had been writing of course poetry since I was like eight years old and I maybe will show you the book ['A String of Pearls' (ph.)] that was published when I was like twelve. Anyway so I started--it was during that time when everybody was saying what they had to say with folk music and that was just right up my alley, you know, and I couldn't play the guitar that well but if you could get those three or four chords together (laughter), you know, and I just started writing things that I had to say, I started writing songs and then that was during the Vietnam [Vietnam War] era and a lot of people were protesting the war and actually I had--my first attempt at writing a musical was in California with Eddie Beal, and he was gonna be writing the music and I was writing the lyrics, but that never came to be, and that woman [Nora Ephron] who wrote the book has written a book called 'Take it from the Top' ['Revision and Life: Take It From the Top--Again,' Nora Ephron] and that was because of Jeni [HistoryMaker Jeni LeGon] and Georgia Carr had put me in touch with them and I had written--oh, I had written this hit song, 'Pink Shoelaces' ['Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces'] you know, and I got to meet some wonderful people having written that including Jimmy McHugh, can you believe it. I think about (singing) a million dollar baby if I--everybody wanted to know--this is a new era, this is a new time, you know, and maybe this young lady knows what it's about. He invited me to his marvelous house, it was (unclear), just to see if there was something we could do together. I couldn't believe that, I couldn't believe it (laughter). You know I was singing this man's songs when I was a kid back and here I am sitting with Jimmy McHugh. It, it and so by the time I started working on actual shows after I got here [New York, New York], I suppose you could--well, I had written for 'Bon Voyage Titanic,' but I had just written some songs for the show, it was like a revue, and I had at least three songs in the show. I was really cast as a performer, but once, once I was cast I started writing for it.

Roscoe Lee Browne

Tony and Emmy award winning theatre, film and television actor Roscoe Lee Browne was born on May 2, 1922 in Woodbury, New Jersey. He attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania until 1942, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, he graduated from Lincoln in 1946. During this time, he studied French through Middlebury College's summer language program. He received his master's degree from Columbia University, then taught briefly at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Browne also found success as an athlete, winning two American indoor championships and setting records in the 800 meters, and winning the 1951 world championship. After a knee injury hampered his athletic career, Browne worked as the national sales representative for Schenley Import Corporation.

He began his acting career with a small role in a 1956 New York Shakespeare Festival production of 'Julius Caesar.' Soon thereafter, Browne became an understudy for Ossie Davis’ performance in 'Purlie Victorious.' Although Browne played the character of Archibald in 'The Blacks,' a play that launched numerous other African American stars, Browne’s career did not take off until his 1963 performance in the off-Broadway play 'Benito Cereno.' He would reprise this role again in both 1965 and 1976. In 1966, Browne performed his own poetry while directing 'An Evening of Negro Poetry and Folk Music.' Browne continued to work actively in theater throughout much of his career, performing August Wilson’s 'Joe Turner's Come and Gone' in 1989 and giving a Tony Award-winning performance in the August Wilson play 'Two Trains Running' in 1992.

Browne also worked in a variety of films, whether as a character actor (in 'Superfly' and 'Uptown Saturday Night') or as a voiceover performer (as the narrator of 'Babe' and 'Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties'). His television career was prolific and diverse. He received an Emmy award for his recurring role as Dr. Foster on 'The Cosby Show,' a nomination for 'Barney Miller,' and achieved critical acclaim for his work on 'All in the Family' and 'Soap.' His list of television credits included performances in 'Law and Order,' 'E.R.,' 'Will and Grace' and 'New York Undercover.' He also did voiceover work for numerous cartoons, including animated versions of 'Batman' and 'Spiderman.' In addition to his work as a performer, Roscoe Lee Browne wrote short stories, plays, worked as a musical director and was a gifted poet.

Browne passed away on April 11, 2007 at age 81.

Accession Number

A2005.234

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/5/2005 |and| 3/30/2006

Last Name

Browne

Middle Name

Lee

Schools

Woodbury Jr-Sr High

Lincoln University

Columbia University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Roscoe

Birth City, State, Country

Woodbury

HM ID

BRO34

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

The Marmon Group

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

Carpe Diem.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

5/2/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken (Pot Pie), Pudding (Corn)

Death Date

4/11/2007

Short Description

Stage actor, film actor, and television actor Roscoe Lee Browne (1922 - 2007 ) won Tony and Emmy awards for his work. His film and television credits included, 'The Cosby Show,' 'Uptown Saturday Night,' 'Babe,' 'All In The Family,' and 'Law and Order.'

Employment

Schenley Import Corporation

New York Shakespeare Festival

The Actors Studio

Negro Ensemble Company

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Emerald Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Roscoe Lee Browne's interview, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of Roscoe Lee Browne's interview, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his mother's ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne lists his father's siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne talks about the spelling of his last name, Browne

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Roscoe Lee Browne recounts how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls reading his father's letters to his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his brother, Sylvanus Browne, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his father's ministry

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers meeting Marian Anderson

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls his introduction to Lincoln University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls working at Lincoln University's Vail Memorial Library, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls working at Lincoln University's Vail Memorial Library, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls his time at Woodbury Junior-Senior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls trying out for his high school's mile relay team

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his activities at Lincoln University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls traveling south as a college student, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls traveling south as a college student, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls a leadership conference at Lincoln University, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls a leadership conference at Lincoln University, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers enlisting in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls recruiting runners while serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls serving in the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls serving in the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls the death of his best friend in World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Roscoe Lee Browne talks about Harrison Dillard

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his return to Lincoln University after World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne talks about Kwame Nkrumah

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls his track participation in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls moving to New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls meeting Charles "Honi" Coles and Dinah Washington in Harlem

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne talks about Roscoe C. Brown

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls trying out for the Olympics in 1948, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls trying out for the Olympics in 1948, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers setting track records in Europe

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers injuring his knee

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers his brother's meniscus surgery

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls working for Schenley Import Corporation, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls working for Schenley Import Corporation, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers meeting Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers how his transition to acting began

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls his friends' reactions to his ambition to act

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his transition to acting

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers acting in the New York Shakespeare Festival

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers leaving Schenley Import Corporation, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his early theater career, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls acting in 'The Blacks' and 'Benito Cereno'

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls controversy about 'The Blacks'

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls acting in 'Dream on Monkey Mountain' with the Negro Ensemble Company

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers revealing his acting ambition, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers revealing his acting ambition, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls auditioning for the New York Shakespeare Festival

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls being cast in 'Julius Caesar,' pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls being cast in 'Julius Caesar,' pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers leaving Schenley Import Corporation, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his early theater career

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls acting in 'Taming of the Shrew' and 'Romeo and Juliet'

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls being cast as Aaron the Moor in 'Titus Andronicus'

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes acting in 'Titus Andronicus'

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers his early theater reviews

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls George Plimpton and understudying for William Marshall

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes his formal acting training

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers Stella Adler and Mark Rydell

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls performing in 'Bohikee Creek,' pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls performing in 'Bohikee Creek,' pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls meeting Stella Adler after writing 'Song'

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls being elected to The Actors Studio

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls developing his theater network at The Actors Studio

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers acting in 'Benito Cereno'

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls auditioning for 'The Blacks: A Clown Show'

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls deciding to act in 'The Blacks'

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls obtaining an Actors' Equity Association membership, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls obtaining an Actors' Equity Association membership, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls acting in 'The Blacks' and 'Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright'

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers Sarah Cunningham and John Randolph

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls 'The Blacks' touring company, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls 'The Blacks' touring company, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls acting in 'General Seeger'

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls acting in 'Dark of the Moon' and 'The Cool World,' pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne recalls acting in 'Dark of the Moon' and 'The Cool World,' pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers acting in a play by Maria Irene Fornes

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers acting in 'The Ballad of the Sad Cafe'

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes 'An Evening of Negro Poetry and Folk Music,' pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Roscoe Lee Browne describes 'An Evening of Negro Poetry and Folk Music,' pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers going to Los Angeles, California, pt. 1

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers going to Los Angeles, California, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Roscoe Lee Browne remembers his transition to Hollywood

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$7

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Roscoe Lee Browne remembers setting track records in Europe
Roscoe Lee Browne remembers acting in the New York Shakespeare Festival
Transcript
So we're now into 1952.$$Right.$$And in '51 [1951] I had been the best in the world, 800 meters. I did it in Paris [France] at the Stade Jean-Bouin. It wasn't a particularly outrageously fast time. It was just the best of the year--$$Right.$$--all over the (laughter) world. It was 149-something, although I had run faster than that in the next year--no, that same year in, in Austria, in Vienna. It was 149-something, point 2. And then I was challenged by Elmar Brugh [ph.] because he was after all the European 1500 and 800 meter champion that year. So I had come from behind to beat him that day. I was just back in the rock. And the Americans say, "Ross [HistoryMaker Roscoe Lee Browne], go get the lead out, come on." And I came around the--and won it. So he challenged me on, on the, over the PA system. I mean the, the reporters came to the mics and said to him in French, of course, 'cause he's French, "What's that like?" And he said, "Well, I, I really am 1500 meters," he said in French. "And I'd like to challenge Monsieur Browne to a thousand meter race." And then they brought the mic to me to--they start to translate, and I said, "Mais non, je comprends." And I said, "Perhaps," in French, I said, "Perhaps Monsieur Elmar Brugh does not know that I am the American 1000-yard champion twice," I said. I said, "What's a few little tiny meters to me?" (Laughter) And so the race is on. We went to the track [Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir], Colombes [France], Colombes, right.$$Okay. And this was late (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And that was like--$$--nineteen fifty-one [1951]?$$This is '51 [1951].$$Okay.$$So it's there like a week or two weeks later. And there are other people in the race from around the world, but I do win it. And I set an Americans--it's called American citizens, 'cause nobody runs a thousand meters. It's, it's not a race anywhere, so it was called American citizens championship and record. The record that I had broken that day was Glenn Cunningham's, 'cause he was a miler.$$Right.$$But he ran this thing there for these people in France and Paris at Colombes, is the name of the track. So, my friend, Mal Whitfield, years later we were--he's living in my apartment in New York [New York]. And I ask, 'cause he knows I would never open anything personal, never, never, never. I said, "What is that little book?" He said, "That little book?" "Yeah, yeah." I said, "It's not the chicks," 'cause I knew it's, I knew which book he kept the names of girls. He said, "Well, anytime any of you, particularly you, go to Europe or anywhere and set a record I write it down there." 'Cause you know, we're in the same event--$$Right, right.$$--except he would not run thousands. Indoors, Malvin was, he had won the indoor 600 [meters] when I won the indoor 1000 [meters]. But we both were 800 meter runners, half-milers. I said, "And you're going after them?" Well, I had three somewhere in Europe. He went to these tiny little towns and broke them and, 'cause he knows me better than most people. He knew that once I heard about it, I would laugh my (laughter) head off. It's only one he's never found, and it's too late because we both can't run anymore. But it's too late. I, I told him recently, "You never found the one in Oberhausen [Germany]." He said, "Do you have a record?" I said, "I have a track record in Oberhausen." I said, "You found Ludwigshafen [Germany], and you went to that track, Colombes, and broke what was my American citizens record," (laughter). And I think I have one somewhere else. I'm not sure (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay. That's--$$But you know, nobody--$$--still standing?$$Nobody has it then. It's not even a record that says I won it or something.$$Right. But that record is still there.$$I guess it's still there--$$Yeah, yeah.$$--maybe in Dublin [Ireland].$$Right.$$It's, it used to be my proudest boast that I was twice the Irish national champion, because you know, track works the same way as tennis, for example. The American U.S. Open [U.S. Open Tennis Championships, New York, New York] tennis champion this year is Roger Federer from Switzerland.$$Right.$$It's the same thing in track. If you run it, you are that country's open champion.$Well, this is the second time you've done this in your life. The first time was: I'm gonna run track and beat everyone else out there (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, only because he [Arthur "Ted" Browne] said, "Gosh, mom [Lovie Usher Browne], can't he do nothing yet?" And then, "Wouldn't you know he'd go out for a foreign sport," (laughter).$$All right.$$And I knew that day, and I just went and did it. But any rate, so I read it. I did not presume to think that I could act, but I knew I knew the literature already. I'd taught some of that in, at Lincoln [Lincoln University, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania].$$Right.$$And so I went down there. The next day was Saturday, and I went there. And I'd do you my whole audition, but that would outrage the world. But, by six p.m. I had my first professional job. And the first words that Joseph Papp said to me after the director had me read and whatever, and I realized this, this must be Papp. I had not heard of him. All of theater knew his name.$$Right.$$But I knew nothing. And, but (unclear), he was just sitting in the back in this audition. And there were a lot of actors there to audition. It was in a little church [Emmanuel Presbyterian Church] down the Lower East Side [New York, New York]. And he just came down, and he looked at me. He says, "You're new to me." I said--he said, "Well, you're new to me. How long have you been an actor?" Meaning, why have I not seen you?$$Right.$$I said, "Well, I've been an actor for twelve hours, but I have no intention of bearing any torches." And he broke up laughing, and he said, "No, you're good. You love words." He said, "You see"--these were his exact words: "Shakespeare is a whole world, and you're part of it." And I stayed there, and he said, "Okay," and I said, "Thank you." He says, "I'm Joe Papp," just like that.$$And that play was that he--$$'Julius Caesar' [William Shakespeare].$$'Julius Caesar.'$$I was the Soothsayer--$$Okay.$$Because I'd not acted, you know--and Soothsayer in the first half and Pindarus in the second half. And he loved it when (unclear), they continued doing plays and I'd say, "Joseph, there's no role here for anything." I said, "Petruchio's servant something, anything, some, one of those little hangers-on." Well, I was a hanger-on, and, and it was, it, it made Colleen Dewhurst this 'Taming of the Shrew' ['The Taming of the Shrew,' William Shakespeare]. And, and Jack Cannon, who was one of the great people, he threw an absolutely made up fit. He came--we were all there sitting in the park [Central Park, New York, New York], or on the Lower East Side, 'cause we began the Lower East because the park wasn't ready yet to put down those chairs and just build a stage. He said, "Can you beat that?" And he's just cussing. He was a most marvelous curser. You really knew that he had invented all the words. He said, "They like me all right. And they raved about Colleen." He said, "Roscoe [HistoryMaker Roscoe Lee Browne] doesn't have a line in it." And they talked about how this marvelous guy moved through (laughter) the--and it was I, and we laughed ourselves silly.$$Now--$$Colleen says, "All you gotta do, darling, is walk."