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Muse, Clarence (1889–1979)

performed white south roles

MUSE, CLARENCE (1889–1979). Actor, director, playwright. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Clarence Muse was destined for the arts. He studied law at Dickenson University in Pennsylvania, performed with a hotel quartet in Palm Beach, Florida, and toured the South with a stock company for a while. From there, he returned to New York and performed on the vaudeville stage, which led to several plays with the now-famous Lincoln Theater and Lafayette Players in Harlem. On Broadway, Muse apeared in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , a controversial production where the white roles were portrayed by blacks in white face, and he became known as an actor and a singer. His first film role was in Fox Studio’s Hearts in Dixie , 1929, where he portrayed the character of Nappus, a 90-year-old tenant farmer who wanted a better life for his family. It was promoted as the first all-black, all-talking, all-singing musical. Muse was chosen to direct the Federal Theater Project’s Los Angeles run of Hal Johnson’s Run Little Chillun , which ran for two years. He would later adapt the stage play for the screen as Way Down South , 1939. He went on to play many more roles in films like So Red the Rose , 1935; Tales of Manhattan , 1942; and Buck and the Preacher , 1971. He also performed in concerts and on radio programs. His last film role was in The Black Stallion , 1979. Muse was once one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood. He wrote, produced, directed, and starred in Broken Strings , 1940, about a classic violinist, and he also wrote the screenplay. Muse devoted much of his life to gaining more roles for African Americans and altering the stereotypical images so often depicted in Hollywood films.

Filmography: The White Zombie , 1932; So Red the Rose , 1935; Prison Train , 1938; Way Down South , 1939; The Gang of Mine , 1940; Broken Strings , 1940; The Invisible Ghost , 1941; The Gentleman From Dixie , 1941; Tales of Manhattan , 1942; Watch on the Rhine , 1943; A Dream for Christmas , 1973; Buck and the Preacher , 1974; The Black Stallion , 1979.

Music During the Reigns of Akhenaten and Nefertiti - MUSIC AT THE PALACE WOMEN’S QUARTERS., SISTRUM PLAYING IN THE AMARNA PERIOD., AMARNA PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS. [next] [back] Murray, Louise Shipman Welles (1854–1931) - Local History

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