Rex Ingram


Actor
Rex Ingram

About

Birth Place
Illinois, USA
Born
October 20, 1895
Died
September 19, 1969
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

With his striking looks, commanding presence and powerful voice, Rex Ingram made a name for himself both in films and on Broadway, and later worked in television. Born in Illinois along the Mississippi River in 1895, Ingram was a graduate of Northwestern University Medical School and became the first African-American to win a Phi Beta Kappa key at that university. He began in movies with...

Biography

With his striking looks, commanding presence and powerful voice, Rex Ingram made a name for himself both in films and on Broadway, and later worked in television. Born in Illinois along the Mississippi River in 1895, Ingram was a graduate of Northwestern University Medical School and became the first African-American to win a Phi Beta Kappa key at that university. He began in movies with an uncredited bit in the 1918 silent Tarzan of the Apes starring Elmo Lincoln, and played small parts as an African native or slave in several more films.

Ingram?s breakthrough came in The Green Pastures (1936), in which he played three roles including that of ?De Lawd.? The New York Times wrote that he performed ?infinitely better than anyone had the right to expect, even of a one-man stock company.? He won further praise playing Jim opposite Mickey Rooney?s Huck in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939). In what is probably his best-remembered film performance, Ingram was the oversized Genie in the British production The Thief of Bagdad (1940), directed by Michael Powell. Ingram?s heroic performance, along with the fantastic Technicolor, was among the chief elements making this movie such enthralling entertainment.

Ingram, who struggled to avoid stereotypical roles, is the dignified valet of law professor Ronald Colman in the George Stevens comedy-drama The Talk of the Town (1942), which was nominated for an Oscar as Best Picture. In Sahara (1943), a World War II film set in Libya and starring Humphrey Bogart, he plays a sergeant major in the Sudanese army. Ingram played Lucifer, Jr., an emissary from Hades, in Vincente Minnelli?s Cabin in the Sky (1943), making him one of the few actors to play both God (?De Lawd? in The Green Pastures) and the Devil. He returned to The Thief of Bagdad territory for A Thousand and One Nights (1945), in which his character as ?a Giant? looks and sounds very like the earlier Genie. Meanwhile Ingram had appeared in several Broadway productions including the original 1940 stage version of Cabin in the Sky.

Ingram?s career suffered an almost terminal blow in 1949 when he was convicted of transporting an underage female across state lines for ?immoral purposes.? When he was finally able to resume his film career he was reduced to playing the uncredited role of an African chieftain in Tarzan?s Hidden Jungle (1955), starring Gordon Scott. Gradually he landed more substantial parts including those of Joe Lucasta, father of Eartha Kitt?s title character in Anna Lucasta (1958), Uncle Felix, Robert Ryan?s dignified farmhand in God?s Little Acre (1958), and Teetot, a mentor to country singer Hank Williams in the biopic Your Cheatin? Heart (1964).

Ingram kept busy on television throughout the 1960s, becoming the first black actor to play a regular role in a soap opera, CBS-TV?s The Brighter Day. Married twice, he died of a heart attack in 1969.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Three Passions (1928)
Director
The Garden of Allah (1927)
Director
Mare Nostrum (1926)
Director
The Magician (1926)
Director
Scaramouche (1924)
Director
The Arab (1924)
Director
Where the Pavement Ends (1923)
Director
Trifling Women (1922)
Director
The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)
Director
Turn to the Right (1922)
Director
The Conquering Power (1921)
Director
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
Director
Hearts Are Trumps (1920)
Director
Under Crimson Skies (1920)
Director
Shore Acres (1920)
Director
The Day She Paid (1919)
Director
His Robe of Honor (1918)
Director
Humdrum Brown (1918)
Director
The Pulse of Life (1917)
Director
Black Orchids (1917)
Director
The Flower of Doom (1917)
Director
The Little Terror (1917)
Director
The Reward of the Faithless (1917)
Director
The Great Problem (1916)
Director
Broken Fetters (1916)
Director
The Chalice of Sorrow (1916)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Mary of the Movies (1923)
The Evil Men Do (1915)
Snatched From a Burning Death (1915)
The Moonshine Maid and the Man (1914)
His Wedded Wife (1914)
The Necklace of Ramses (1914)
Goodbye, Summer (1914)
The Circus and the Boy (1914)
Witness to the Will (1914)
The Spirit and the Clay (1914)
Eve's Daugher (1914)
The Crime of Cain (1914)
The Price of the Necklace (1914)
The Southerners (1914)
Her Great Scoop (1914)
Beau Brummel (1913)
A Tudor Princess (1913)
The Artist's Great Madonna (1913)

Writer (Feature Film)

The Three Passions (1928)
Screenwriter
The Magician (1926)
Adaptation
The Arab (1924)
Writer
Where the Pavement Ends (1923)
Adaptation
Trifling Women (1922)
Story
The Little Terror (1917)
Story
The Reward of the Faithless (1917)
Scen
The Flower of Doom (1917)
Scen
The Pulse of Life (1917)
Scen
Black Orchids (1917)
Scen
The Great Problem (1916)
Scen
Broken Fetters (1916)
Scen
The Chalice of Sorrow (1916)
Scen
The Cup of Bitterness (1916)
Screenwriter
Should a Mother Tell? (1915)
Scen
A Woman's Past (1915)
Scen
The Wonderful Adventure (1915)
Scen
The Song of Hate (1915)
Scen
The Blindness of Devotion (1915)
Story

Producer (Feature Film)

The Three Passions (1928)
Producer
The Garden of Allah (1927)
Supervisor
Mare Nostrum (1926)
Producer
Scaramouche (1924)
Supervisor
The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)
Producer
The Conquering Power (1921)
Producer

Editing (Feature Film)

Greed (1925)
Film Editor

Life Events

1920

Motion picture debut

Photo Collections

The Green Pastures - Lobby Cards
Here are a few lobby cards from The Green Pastures (1936). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Cabin In The Sky (1943) - One Of Your Favorite Daughters The "Idea Men" at the "Hotel Hades" include Louis Armstrong, Mantan Moreland and Willie Best, led by "Lucifer Jr." (Rex Ingram), speaking to his father, then visiting the temptress Georgia (Lena Horne) in Cabin In The Sky, 1943.
Puppetoon Movie, The (1987) - John Henry Didn't Die A segment from one of the most widely-seen Paramount Puppetoon shorts by director George Pal, written from the folk tale by Robert Monroe and Latham Ovens, voice-over by Rex Ingram, the Academy Award-nominated John Henry And The Inky-Poo, 1946, from The Puppetoon Movie, 1987.
Green Pastures, The (1936) - All But One Tree Rex Ingram performing two roles in the same scene, as Adam and as “De Lawd,” visiting his newly created earth, and producing Myrtle Anderson as Eve, the angels observing from above, in The Green Pastures, 1936, from Marc Connelly’s controversial Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
Green Pastures, The (1936) - You Preachers Is The Devil “De Lawd” (Rex Ingram) down from heaven checking the status of his creations, earth and its human inhabitants, meeting Zeba (Edna Mae Harris) and Cain the Sixth (James Fuller), in the 1936 Warner Bros. version of Marc Connelly’s widely criticized Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Green Pastures.
Green Pastures, The (1936) - Here Comes De Lawd From a scene in which an African-American Louisiana Sunday school teacher describes heaven to his pupils, Gabriel (Oscar Polk) introduces Rex Ingram as “De Lawd,” visiting his angels, early in the Warner Bros.’ adaptation of Marc Connelly’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Green Pastures, 1936.
Magician, The (1926) - Concentrate Your Attention Occult-ish Paris scientist Haddo (Paul Wegener, title character), claiming he’s dropped by to apeologize for earlier bad behavior, has lightly hypnotized heroine Margaret (Alice Terry), whereupon director Rex Ingram leaps into fantasy, in The Magician, 1926, from a Somerset Maugham novel.
Magician, The (1926) - Margaret Dauncey, Sculpteur Working on location in Paris, director Rex Ingram introduces his wife and production partner Alice Terry in the lead role, Gladys Hamer her hapless colleague, and a nasty art accident, opening The Magician, 1926, from a Somerset Maugham novel, starring Paul Wegener.
Magician, The (1926) - Hypnotist, Magician And Student Of Medicine Paul Wegener as the title character, Oliver Haddo, dominates in his first scene, observing American surgeon Burdon (Ivan Petrovich) saving the paralyzed leading lady Margaret (Alice Terry, wife of director Rex Ingram), her doctor-uncle-guardian (Firmin Gamier) attending, in The Magician, 1926.
Magician, The (1926) - Deadliest Of All Snakes Dr. Burdon (Ivan Petrovich) and sculptress Margaret (Alice Terry) are now an item, attending a Parisian fair, where creepy quasi-professional scientist Haddon (Paul Wegener) has been shadowing them, causing bad stuff to go down at the snake tent, in director Rex Ingram’s The Magician, 1926.
Mare Nostrum (1926) - Goddess Of The Sea In director Rex Ingram's sketch of family history, the uncle called "The Triton" (Uni Apollon) horrifies a servant (Hughie Mack), urging young Ulysses (Kada Abd el Kader, who will become leading man Antonio Moreno) to take to the sea, in the international mega-production Mare Nostrum, 1926.
Mare Nostrum (1926) - The Forbidden Room His family enriched by the Great War, Spanish captain Ulysses (Antonio Moreno) vacationing in Naples (on location) meets Freya (Alice Terry, wife of director Rex Ingram) who, he doesn’t realize, reminds him of the sea goddess of his dreams, with a stuffy archaeologist (Mme. Paquerette), in Mare Nostrum, 1926.
Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, The (1921) - Will Of Don Julio Brooding now, after his opening tango scene, Rudolph Valentino is Argentine Julio, left out of his grandfather's will, Alan Hale his German uncle, Josef Swickard his French father, Bridgetta Clark his mom, Virginia Warwick his sister, in Rex Ingram's Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, 1921.

Bibliography