skip navigation
Moses Gunn

Moses Gunn

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

The Women Of Brewster Place... Oprah Winfrey producedĀ and stars inĀ this mini-series event as Mattie Michael,... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Shaft / Shaft's Big Score! / Shaft In... This triple feature includes a trio of thrilling crime dramas that helped usher... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Hot Rock DVD This marvelous comedic heist film is a wildly entertaining jaunt. Based on a... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

The Amityville Horror Collection... Whether the supernatural events described in the book "The Amityville Horror"... more info $19.98was $19.98 Buy Now

Amityville II: The Possession... The old house on Ocean Avenue needs more than a paint job and new windows, it... more info $3.98was $3.98 Buy Now

4 Film Favorites: Children's Fantasy... Dragons! Witches! Magic! Wonder! The 2-disc set "4 Film Favorites: Children's... more info $17.98was $17.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died: December 16, 1993
Born: October 2, 1929 Cause of Death: complications from asthma
Birth Place: St Louis, Missouri, USA Profession: actor, teacher of speech and drama, theatrical director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Authoritative black character actor of film and TV also enjoyed a successful career on stage. Gunn made his NY stage debut in the original off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's "The Blacks" (1962). A co-founder of the celebrated Negro Ensemble Company, he distinguished himself in many of their productions, notably "The First Breeze of Summer" (1975). Gunn was also known for his Shakespearean performances with the Yale Repertory Theatre and the New York Shakespeare Festival. Gunn rarely had comparable roles to showcase his talents in films but his large, regal features and booming yet somewhat raspy voice stood out during his 25-year film career. Gunn may be best remembered as Bumpy Jonas, the powerful Harlem gangster whose daughter is kidnapped in Gordon Parks' "Shaft" (1971). He reprised that role in Parks' "Shaft's Big Score" (1972). Gunn was also memorable as Booker T. Washington in "Ragtime" (1981). His last major film was Clint Eastwood's "Heartbreak Ridge" (1986) in which he played aging vet Sergeant Webster. Gunn also worked extensively in TV. He was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of African chief Kintango in the first installment of "Roots" (ABC, 1977). Gunn joined the cast of the...

Authoritative black character actor of film and TV also enjoyed a successful career on stage. Gunn made his NY stage debut in the original off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's "The Blacks" (1962). A co-founder of the celebrated Negro Ensemble Company, he distinguished himself in many of their productions, notably "The First Breeze of Summer" (1975). Gunn was also known for his Shakespearean performances with the Yale Repertory Theatre and the New York Shakespeare Festival.

Gunn rarely had comparable roles to showcase his talents in films but his large, regal features and booming yet somewhat raspy voice stood out during his 25-year film career. Gunn may be best remembered as Bumpy Jonas, the powerful Harlem gangster whose daughter is kidnapped in Gordon Parks' "Shaft" (1971). He reprised that role in Parks' "Shaft's Big Score" (1972). Gunn was also memorable as Booker T. Washington in "Ragtime" (1981). His last major film was Clint Eastwood's "Heartbreak Ridge" (1986) in which he played aging vet Sergeant Webster.

Gunn also worked extensively in TV. He was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of African chief Kintango in the first installment of "Roots" (ABC, 1977). Gunn joined the cast of the hit CBS sitcom, "Good Times" in 1977 as Carl Dixon, the appliance store owner who marries the widowed Esther Rolle and whisks her away from the projects. He was also a guest star on numerous series including "The Cosby Show", "Equal Justice" and "Homicide".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Memphis (1991) Tio
2.
 Murder Times Seven (1990) Inspector Paxton
3.
 Luckiest Man in the World, The (1989) The Voice
4.
 Dixie Lanes (1987) Popinjay
5.
 Bates Motel (1987) Henry Watson
6.
 Leonard Part 6 (1987) Giorgio
7.
 Heartbreak Ridge (1986) Sergeant Webster
8.
 Ninth Configuration, The (1985) Major Nammack
9.
 Certain Fury (1985) Doctor Freedman
10.
 Neverending Story, The (1984) Cairon
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1938:
Began performing dramatic readings at the age of nine (date approximate)
1941:
Mother died when Gunn was 12 (date approximate)
1946:
Moved into the home of English and diction teacher, Jewel Richie (date approximate)
:
While an undergraduate, founded the Footlights Across Tennessee theater company; toured colleges in the South and the Midwest
:
Taught speech and drama at Grambling College in Louisiana to earn enough money to move to NY
:
Moved to New York
:
Hired as an understudy in the original off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's "The Blacks"
1962:
Stage acting debut, Genet's "The Blacks"
1964:
Film debut, "Nothing But A Man"
1974:
Starred in short-lived ABC-TV version of the John Wayne-starrer, "The Cowboys"
1977:
Joined the cast of the popular CBS sitcom, "Good Times"
1989:
Cast as a regular on "A Man Called Hawk", the spinoff from "Spencer: For Hire"
:
Final stage appearances included Athol Fugard's, "Blood Knot" and "My Children, My Africa"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Tennessee State University: Nashville , Tennessee -
Tennessee State University: Nashville , Tennessee -
University of Kansas: Lawrence , Kansas -

Notes

Gunn was nominated for the Best Actor Tony for "Poison Tree".

Awarded the NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Booker T. Washington in "Ragtime" (1981)

He was awarded the NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actor for Sam Shepard's play "Fool For Love".

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Gwendolyn Gunn. Had two.
wife:
Gwendolyn Gunn. Survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
George Gunn. German.
mother:
Mary Gunn. Twin, died at birth.
foster mother:
Jewel C Richie. Teacher of English and diction.
foster mother:
Jewel C Richie. Lawyer. Had socialist leanings.
brother:
George Gunn Jr. Younger; survived him; resides in St Louis, Missouri.
brother:
George Gunn Jr. Has three younger sisters.
sister:
Dorothy Acuff. Younger; survived him; resides in St Louis, Missouri.
sister:
Dorothy Acuff. American.
sister:
Rae Scott. Younger; survived him; resides in St Louis, Missouri.
sister:
Rae Scott. Had three.
sister:
Ora Lee Wiggins. Younger; survived him; resides in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
sister:
Ora Lee Wiggins. Music store owner.
son:
Justin Gunn. Survived him; resides in Guilford, Connecticut.
son:
Justin Gunn. Fishmonger.
daughter:
Kirsten Landes Mudd. Charwoman.
daughter:
Kirsten Landes Mudd. Survived him; resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute