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Jester Hairston Biography

Jester Hairston

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Born: 1901. Died: 2000. Lived in: United States

Actor, Musician. An arranger, composer, traveling choir leader, actor and story teller, his career took him all over the world. Best remebered for his TV role as Rolly Forbes on the TV show "Amen." The grandson of slaves, he was born in 1901 in Belews Creek, North Carolina. A star athlete in high school and college, he graduated as a Cum Laude music major from Tufts University and then furthered his studies at Julliard School of Music in New York.

In 1936 he came to Hollywood with Hall Johnson to help with arranging the chorous music for "Green Pastures." In 1937 he became a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild. In 1943 he formed his own choir and arranged the choral background music for many of Hollywood's outstanding films, among them "Carmen Jones." As an actor he played a number of character roles on television and motion pictures. He played on "Amos and Andy" for 15 years and also played 'Wildcat' on the 1970s TV show "That's My Mama." He died in Los Angeles one year before reaching his 100th birthday.

Media Articles
Obituary, New York Times,

Obituary, Los Angeles Times,

Obituary, New York Times, Jester Hairston, 98, Choral Expert and Actor

Obituary, Los Angeles Times, Jester Hairston Dies; Actor Overcame Race Stereotypes