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James Edwards (Actor)
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    (March 6, 1918-January 4, 1970)
    Born in Muncie, Indiana
    Birth name was James Johnson Edwards
    Acted in 'Member of the Wedding,' 'The Steel Helmet,' 'Bright Victory,' 'Men in War,' 'Pork Chop Hill,' 'The Caine Mutiny,' 'The Killing,' and 'The Manchurian Candidate'
    Guest starred on episodes of 'Peter Gunn,' 'The Fugitive,' 'Death Valley Days,' 'Burke's Law,' 'Dr. Kildare,' 'The Virginian,' 'Climax!' 'Zane Grey Theater,' 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents,' and 'Mannix'
    Best known as Private Peter Moss in 'Home of the Brave' (1949) and William George Meek in 'Patton' (1970)
    His string of prominent supporting roles have since been dubbed 'biracial buddy movies.'
    He was seen as the surest bet to become America's first 'black leading man.' And then Sidney Poitier came along.
    He fooled around with (a very young) Diahann Carroll while he was married.
    He descended into alcoholism later in life, frequently making scenes at restaurants and picking fights with waiters.
    His career was permanently damaged by rumors that he regularly bagged the glamorous wives of movie producers (one rumor even claimed he had an affair with Lana Turner, also a sometimes-friend of D.W. Griffith, who was furious at the news).
    He filmed Dorothy Dandridge's screentest in the part of Joe, but the role ultimately went to Harry Belafonte (accounts vary as to whether he was ever considered - but some attested to his having blown it by chasing Otto Preminger around the set with a camera during an argument).
    It didn't help that he also took publicly to talk about being 'visited by three FBI agents who asked him to [testify before HUAC and] denounce Paul Robeson' (effectively blacklisting him from Hollywood).
    Diahann later attested to their relationship as being a strange one, recalling: 'I listened to him carry on about how he was meeting producers and developing projects and negotiating for the lead in this or that movie, and I bought every word of it, even though for one reason or another none of these prospects ever materialized...'
    He was classically handsome with a disarming smile.
    He was a skilled athlete as a student; running track, playing baseball, and - at 18 - doing a stint as a boxer.
    He suffered massive facial wounds during an auto accident while serving in the army.
    The damage to his face was severe enough to require surgical reconstruction, including a rebuilt ear.
    While recuperating, a psychiatrist advised him to take public speaking classes to regain his confidence (the classes sparked his interest in drama).
    His assortment of post-WWII films addressing racial inequality in American dealt the first blow toward breaking the stereotype of the subservient black male.
    His assigning humanity to an African-American movie character led historian Dennis Hunt to write 'without him Sidney [Poitier] might not have happened' (but he lacked the over-the-top pretentiousness of his closest competitor).
    He attained popularity as a regular at Nick Stewart's Ebony Showcase Theatre for black performers (including one hit 1953 production of 'Streetcar,' in which he was Stanley Kowalski, opposite Juanita Moore and Maidie Norman ).
    He died before the release of his last three films, including 'Patton.'
    He was the first black actor to portray a fighter pilot, in Douglas Sirk's 'Battle Hymn,' in 1958 (it would be almost thirty years before another black actor would do so - Louis Gossett, Jr. in 'Iron Eagle').
    Sam Stagg wrote of him: '[he] might have had a leading-man career comparable to Denzel Washington's had he arrived in Hollywood a few decades later.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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