Image of William Marshall

William Marshall

William Marshall was an American actor, director, and opera singer. He is best known for his title role in Blacula and its sequel Scream Blacula Scream as well as his role on Pee-wee's Playhouse. Marshall made his Broadway debut in 1944 in Carmen Jones. In 1950, he understudied Boris Karloff as Captain Hook in the Broadway production of Peter Pan. He played the leading role of De Lawd in the 1951 revival of The Green Pastures, a role he repeated in 1958 in a BBC telecast of the play. He performed in several Shakespearean plays on the stage in the U. S. and Europe, including the title role in at least six productions of Othello. Harold Hobson of the London Sunday Times praised Marshall’s portrayal as "the best Othello of our time." In 1968, Marshall joined the Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles to play Othello in a jazz musical version, Catch My Soul, with Jerry Lee Lewis as Iago. Marshall portrayed Paul Robeson and Frederick Douglass on stage. He researched Douglass' life extensively, and in 1983 produced and played the lead role in Frederick Douglass: Slave and Statesman. Marshall's career on screen began in the 1952 film Lydia Bailey as a Haitian leader. He followed that with a prominent role as Glycon, comrade and fellow gladiator to Victor Mature in the 1954 film Demetrius and the Gladiators. His demeanor, voice and stature gave him a wide range, though he was ill-suited for the subservient roles that many black actors of his generation were most frequently offered. He was a leader of the Mau-Mau uprising in Something of Value, and Attorney General Edward Brooke in The Boston Strangler. He probably received the most notice for his role in the vampire film Blacula and its sequel Scream Blacula Scream. In later years, Marshall played the King of Cartoons on Pee-wee's Playhouse. Despite blacklisting because of his supposed communist connections, Marshall managed to continue appearing in both television and films. He appeared on the British spy series Danger Man in episodes titled "Deadline" and "The Galloping Major". He also won two local Emmys for producing and performing in a PBS production, As Adam Early in the Morning, a theatre piece originally performed on stage. He also was featured in an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour titled, "The Jar", with actors Pat Buttram and George Lindsey. In addition to acting and producing, Marshall taught acting at various universities including the University of California, Irvine, and the Mufandi Institute, an African-American arts and music institution in the Watts section of Los Angeles. He did similar work at Chicago's ETA Creative Arts Foundation, which in 1992 named Marshall one of its Epic Men of the 20th century. Marshall died June 11, 2003, from complications arising from Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. Marshall was considered by many to be a much underrated actor and one who never got his due. Some have remarked that Marshall should have had a much more successful and larger screen career, even saying that Marshall would have been a perfect choice for the role of Thulsa Doom in Conan the Barbarian.


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Born:
Aug 19, 1924 In Gary, Indiana, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
38
First Appeared:
In the movie Money and the Woman 1940-08-17
Latest Project:
Movie Slasher House 2 2017-10-31
Known For
Poster of The Great Skycopter Rescue
Poster of Star Trek
Poster of Tarzan
Poster of Danger Man
Filmography
Movie Slasher House 2 The Jock 2017-10-31
Movie The Complete Bob Wilkins Creature Features Unknown 2012-08-23
Movie Dinosaur Valley Girls Dr. Benjamin Michaels 1995-01-01
Movie Sorceress John Geiger 1995-01-04
Movie Maverick Riverboat Poker Player 1994-05-20
Movie Christmas at Pee Wee's Playhouse King Of Cartoons 1988-12-25
Movie Amazon Women on the Moon Pirate Captain 1987-09-18
Movie Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter Dr. Dean 1986-01-01
Movie Othello Othello 1981-01-01
Movie The Great Skycopter Rescue Mr. Jason 1980-12-31
Movie Twilight's Last Gleaming William Klinger - Attorney General 1977-02-09
Movie Abby Bishop Garnet Williams 1974-12-25
Movie Scream Blacula Scream Blacula / Prince Mamuwalde 1973-06-27
Movie Blacula Mamuwalde / Blacula 1972-08-25
Movie Honky Dr. Craig Smith 1971-11-26
Movie Skullduggery Attorney General 1970-03-06
Movie Zig Zag Morrie Bronson 1970-05-01
Movie The Hell with Heroes Al Poland 1968-08-28
Movie The Boston Strangler Atty. Gen. Edward W. Brooke 1968-10-08
Movie Tarzan's Jungle Rebellion Colonel Tatakombi 1967-09-06
Series Tarzan Colonel Takakombi 1966-09-08
Series Star Trek Dr. Richard Daystrom 1966-09-08
Movie To Trap a Spy Sekue Ashumen 1964-01-01
Series Danger Man Saul Khano 1960-09-11
Movie Something of Value Leader - Intellectual in Suit 1957-05-08
Movie Sabu and the Magic Ring Ubal, the genie 1957-11-24
Movie Demetrius and the Gladiators Glycon 1954-06-16
Movie Lydia Bailey King Dick 1952-05-30
Movie Blackmail Daniel J. Turner 1947-07-24
Movie Calendar Girl Johnny Bennett 1947-01-31
Movie That Brennan Girl CPO Martin J. 'Mart' Neilson 1946-12-23
Movie State Fair Tommy Thomas 1945-08-29
Movie Flying with Music Pilot Don Terry 1942-05-22
Movie Money and the Woman Bank Clerk 1940-08-17
Movie City for Conquest Man in Peggy's Dressing Room (uncredited) 1940-09-21
Movie Knute Rockne All American Don Miller - One of The Four Horsemen 1940-10-05
Movie East of the River Commencement Usher (uncredited) 1940-11-09
Movie Santa Fe Trail George Pickett 1940-12-20