Today is the birthday of Hollywood character actor Clarence Muse (1889-1979). Like Paul Robeson, he possessed a law degree, but the prejudices of the times made it of little use in terms of making a living. So he went into show business. Throughout the nineteen teens and twenties he performed in vaudeville, minstrel shows, and all-black revues. His film career began with 1929’s Hearts in Dixie and closed with The Black Stallion (1979, released posthumously). In between there were over 150 pictures, many of them classics, but almost invariably casting the dignified and educated Muse in stereotyped, subordinate roles. Peruse ’em all here.
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.