Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from F-J

Johnson, Noble (1881–1978)

company film actor trainer

JOHNSON, NOBLE (1881–1978). Actor, producer. Often noted as being the first black actor, Johnson is perhaps best remembered for his part in organizing the Lincoln Motion Picture Company in 1915, along with fellow actor Clarence Brooks. Johnson was born in Marshall, Missouri, and left school at 15 to work and travel with his father who was an expert horse trainer. Before turning to acting, Johnson was a cowboy, a rancher, a horse trainer, and a miner for a time in 1909, until he was hired by the Lubin Company to play an Indian in a silent film it was shooting in Colorado. After doing more film work with the company back in Philadelphia, he migrated to Los Angeles and continued his acting career. Johnson was a light-skinned Negro but the roles he played were mostly racial exotics. He has portrayed a Chinese man, a Cossack, a Persian prince, a Cuban zombie, a dusky weather-beaten cowboy, and numerous Indian chiefs. His first starring role came in Lincoln Picture Company’s Realization of a Negro’s Ambition , 1916. His Los Angeles-based production company was established to produce and distribute motion pictures exclusively for the black community. Once their first film was a success, Noble’s brother, George Johnson joined the company and they produced three additional films, Trooper of Company K , 1918; A Man’s Duty , 1919 (their first feature film); and By Right of Birth , 1921. Noble left the company in 1918 for a steady paycheck at Universal Pictures and continued to work as an actor until 1950.

Filmography: Realization of a Negro’s Ambition , 1916; The Navigator , 1924; Murders in the Rue Morgue , 1932; The Mummy , 1932; The Most Dangerous Game , 1932; King Kong , 1933; The Lives of Bengai Lancer , 1935; The Ghost Breakers , 1940; She Wore a Yellow Ribbon , 1949; North of the Great Divide , 1950.

Johnson, Robert - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Chronology: Robert Johnson, Social and Economic Impact [next] [back] Johnson, John V.(?–1907) - Gambling house owner, Gains Political Power, Chronology, Survives Anti-Policy Legislation

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or