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Rockne Tarkington
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    (July 31, 1931-April 5, 2015)
    Born in Junction City, Kansas
    Portrayed the titular ‘Black Samson’ (1974)
    Also appeared in ‘The No Mercy Man,’ ‘Zebra Force,’ ‘National Lampoon’s Movie Madness,’ ‘The Ice Pirates,’ and ‘Wyatt Earp (1994)’
    Guest appearances on Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, Andy Griffith Show, and ‘Danger Island’ on the Banana Splits Adventure Hour
    Recurring roles on Tarzan (1966), Daktari, and Matt Houston
    His middle name? Booth — not extraordinary on its own, but which was used by an American novelist of the WW I period.
    He was the original choice to play Williams in 'Enter the Dragon' (the role that got Jim Kelly on the map).
    Normally known for heart-pounding parts, his role in this blood-splattering variant of Wyatt Earp was of a relatively passive farmhand.
    He took up Mormonism after watching a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints commercial — for which he forgot the phone number.
    He was the only black actor with a speaking role on 'The Andy Griffith Show.'
    At six five, with the booming voice to match, he certainly wasn’t poorly cast as Black Samson.
    Though his one marriage lasted roughly two years, he wound up with two children.
    He worked on a documentary project on the geographical history of each United State.
    His mother’s illness was the catalyst for his return to Kansas in the 1990s — and entry into the church, where he became a true Brother in 1997.

Credit: Cool It All Right?

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