Posts tagged "television"
This is a screen cap I took of the brilliant actor and director Ivan Dixon (1931-2008) with non other than Cicely Tyson on Bill Cosby’s groundbreaking television series “I Spy” in 1965. Mr. Dixon played an awesome, cocky, politically-incorrect American athlete who defects to China, ends up regretting it and needs the help of Dr. Cosby’s “Alexander Scott” and Robert Culp’s “Kelly Robinson” to return home to the United States. Ms. Tyson portrays his fiance, an African princess named Princess Amara. The Harlem-born Mr. Dixon is best known for his work on the classic television series “Hogan’s Heroes” and the beautiful film “Nothing But A Man with Abbey Lincoln in 1964. Mr. Dixon was also an accomplished director. His work as a director includes “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” in 1973 and several television series, including “The Waltons,” “Magnum P.I.” “Quincy” and “The Rockford Files.” Thank you SO much for your interest and enthusiasm about my upcoming book! Please sign up and register your interest at http://vintageblackglamourbook.com/ so you will know the minute pre-order is available - and thanks again!
Actress Esther Rolle (1920-1998) trying on a dress the Joseph Magnin store in Beverly Hills in 1974. Best known as Florida Evans on “Good Times,” Ms. Rolle was born to Bahamian immigrant parents in Pompano Beach, Florida, the 10th of 18 children. Inspired by two of her sisters who were also actresses (Rosanna Carter and Estelle Evans, who appeared in “To Kill a Mockingbird”) she moved to New York when she was 18 years old to begin a career in writing before she was talked into acting. She was also a dancer and performed with the Asadata Dafora troupe for twelve years before becoming a founding member of the Negro Ensemble Company. She also attended several colleges, most notably Spelman, and was a member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority. When asked about portraying a variety of maids throughout her career, Ms. Rolle told People magazine in 1990, “I’m glad to take on the role of a domestic because many of your black leaders, your educators, your professionals came from domestic parents who made sacrifices to see that their children didn’t go through what they did. But, I don’t play Hollywood maids, the hee-hee kind of people who are so in love with their madam’s children they have no time for their own.” Ms. Rolle was particularly concerned about black images and Hollywood and she was not shy about speaking up. She left her most famous role on “Good Times” in protest to what she thought was the increasing buffoonery of the J.J. character. She told People in that same 1990 interview, “I told the producers, ‘I did not agree to do a clown show for you to degrade young black men. I ruffle a lot of feathers. And I’m also selective—that makes you a troublemaker. But so be it. I laid a cornerstone for black actors, and that makes me happy.” Photo: Isaac Sutton from the Ted Williams and Ebony Collection at Art.com.
One of my favorite Dorothy pics. Did you know that she and Nat “King” Cole pitched ideas to networks about doing a television sitcom together? They had a few angles, including one where they played a “small-time pair of married performers” who went through all kinds of (’50s sitcom-ish) scenarios as they climbed the ladder to success. They were turned down all over town. Quelle surprise!
Watching the magnificent Ella Fitzgerald duet with Frank Sinatra on AspireTV. This photo is not from that show, but it is in the same timeframe (1950s). Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Georgia Carr was a singer, actress and eventual entrepreneur. Born Mary Louise Thomas in Los Angeles on June 20, 1925, she held multiple jobs (most famously as a secretary) and attended the University of California in Los Angeles as she tried to build her singing career. She was singing at the Club Royale in San Diego when Stan Kenton saw her and, according to the August 20, 1953 cover story on her in JET, “started her on a career that was destined to hit the big time.” According to JET, it was Mr. Kenton who suggested that she change her name to Georgia Carr. In short order, she was booked in popular clubs like Birdland and La Vie En Rose in New York and recorded a few modest hits, including “Softly” and I’m Not Gonna Let You In.” She also had a radio show at one time on New Yorks WOV called “Carr-fare.” The most interesting piece of information I came across regarding Ms. Carr was from a Chicago Defender newspaper article from January 29, 1963. The article said Ms. Carr “possess beauty, personality, “class,” and a warm, husky voice of intimate styling” and noted that she was being “sought for a tour of the Orient, which would take her to Manila, Tokyo and Hong Kong.” Ms. Carr told the paper that she would probably turn down the tour in favor of a new business where she was vice president in charge of sales. It was called American Negro Commercials, Inc. and they wanted to make “television and theatrical commercials utilizing Negro actors and models.” Ms. Carr is quoted as saying, “There is no reason why our actors and actresses can’t do commercials for major companies which sell their products on the general market. I am more excited by this project than anything I have ever done.” I have no idea what became of American Negro Commercials - but I will find out! In later years, Ms. Carr apparently owned a catering company with her sister. A 1971 article in the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper described a reception in honor of the pianist Bobby Short where a “black-owned catering firm owned by singer Georgia Carr and her sister served memorable cuisine.” Ms. Carr died in Los Angeles at the age of 46 of a stroke on July 4, 1971.
Sammy Davis, Jr. with talk show host Sam Levenson and tennis legend Althea Gibson at piano at a Bon Voyage party for Ms. Gibson at Birdland Nightclub in New York City. Ms. Gibson was set to leave for Wimbledon in the next few days. Photo by Fred Morgan/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images.