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Rex Ingram

Rex Ingram (October 20, 1895 – September 19, 1969) was an American stage, film, and television actor. Born near Cairo, Illinois on the Mississippi River, Ingram's father was a steamer fireman on the riverboat Robert E. Lee. Ingram graduated from the Northwestern University medical school in 1919 and was the first African American man to receive a Phi Beta Kappa key from Northwestern University. He went to Hollywood as a young man where he was literally discovered on a street corner by the casting director for Tarzan of the Apes (1918), starring Elmo Lincoln. He made his (uncredited) screen debut in that film and had many other small roles, usually as a generic black native, such as in the Tarzan films. With the arrival of sound, his presence and powerful voice became an asset and he went on to memorable roles in The Green Pastures (1936), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (the 1939 MGM version, opposite Mickey Rooney), The Thief of Bagdad (1940—perhaps his best-known film appearance—as the genie), The Talk of the Town (1942), and Sahara (1943). From 1929, he also appeared on stage, making his debut on Broadway.

Actor

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