Noble Johnson

Biography

Date of Birth 18 April 1881 , Marshall, Missouri, USA Date of Death 9 January 1978 , Yucaipa, California, USA Birth Name Noble Mark Johnson Height 6' 2" (1.88 m) Mini Bio African-American movie actor and producer Noble Johnson was born on April 18, 1881, in Marshall, Missouri. His family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, when Noble was very young, and it was there that he met Lon Chaney at school. They became friends as children, and later got re-acquainted when both were making movies in Hollywood and became friends all over again (surprisingly, they never made any movies together). Johnson, as an adult, was built like a bull. Standing 6'2" at 215 pounds, his impressive physique and handsome features made him in demand as a character actor and bit player. In the silent era he assayed a wide variety of characters of different races in a plethora of films, primarily serials, westerns and adventure movies. While Johnson was cast as blacks in many films, he also played Native American and Latino parts and "exotic" characters such as Arabians or even a devil in hell in Dante's Inferno (1924) (the old black and white orthochromatic film stock of the early days was less discriminating about a person's color, as were B+W stocks in general, permitting some African-American actors a break, as their "color" was washed out or less obvious when photographed in B+W. As late as the early 1960s, there were very few African-American members of the Screen Actors Guild, since there was a lack of opportunity for them as black performers were confined mostly to race films until the 1960s). In all his roles, Johnson lived up to his Christian name: his was a noble and dignified presence that exhibited great power and substance. Johnson also was an entrepreneur. In 1916 he founded his own studio to produce what would be called "race films", movies made for the African-American audience, which was ignored by the "mainstream" film industry. The Lincoln Motion Picture Co., which was in existence until 1921, was an all-black company, the first to produce movies portraying African-Americans as real people instead of as racist caricatures (Johnson was followed into the race film business by Oscar Micheaux and others). Johnson, who served as president of the company and was its primary asset as a star actor, helped support the studio by acting in other companies' productions such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916), and using the money he made in those films to invest in Lincoln. Lincoln's first picture was The Realization of a Negro's Ambition (1916). For four years Johnson managed to keep Lincoln a going concern, primarily die to his extraordinary commitment to African-American filmmaking. However, he reluctantly resigned as president in 1920, as he no longer could continue his double business life, maintaining a demanding career in Hollywood films while trying to run a studio. In the 1920s Johnson was a very busy character actor, appearing in such top-notch films as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) with Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille's original The Ten Commandments (1923) and The Thief of Bagdad (1924). He made the transition to sound, appearing in the 1930 version of Moby Dick (1930) as Qeequoq to John Barrymore's Captain Ahab. He was also the tribal leader on Skull Island in the classic King Kong (1933) (and its sequel, The Son of Kong (1933)) and appeared in Frank Capra's classic Lost Horizon (1937) as one of the porters. One of his last films was John Ford's classic She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), in which he played Native American Chief Red Shirt. He retired from the movie industry in 1950. Johnson died on January 9, 1978, in Yucaipa (San Bernardino), California, at age 96. He is buried in the Garden of Peaceat Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall, California. Spouse Ruth Thornton (19 October 1912 - ?) Gladys Blackwell (? - ?) May (? - ?) Trivia Co-founder with his brother George Johnson of the Lincoln Motion Picture Co., Johnson was one of the first successful African-American film producers. Interred at Eternal Valley Memorial Park, Newhall, California, USA, in the Garden of Peace, A-270. He was born in Marshall, Missouri, but when very young his family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, birthplace of Lon Chaney. They attended the same school, became friends, and knew each other many years later when both were making movies in Hollywood. Good friend of Boris Karloff.

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Known For
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The Most Dangerous Game

Ivan

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Moby Dick

Queequeg

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Frontier Pony Express

Luke Johnson

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Son of India

Guard (uncredited)

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Tarzan auf der Schatzinsel

Mokuyi

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Hurry, Charlie, Hurry

Chief Poison Arrow

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Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed

The Nubian (archive footage)

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Green Hell

Hostile-Tribe Chief (uncredited)

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Mummy's Boys

Tattoo Artist (uncredited)

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Mamba

Hassim (uncredited)

Starring In
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Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed

The Nubian (archive footage)

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Rock Island Trail

Bent Creek

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She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Chief Red Shirt

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Hard Boiled Mahoney

Hasson

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Plainsman and the Lady

Wassao

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Angel on My Shoulder

Trustee in Hell (uncredited)

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The Most Dangerous Game

Carib

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The Jungle Book

Sikh

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The Mad Doctor of Market Street

Native Chief Elan

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Ten Gentlemen from West Point

Tecumseh

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Road to Zanzibar

Chief

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Hurry, Charlie, Hurry

Chief Poison Arrow

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Seven Sinners

Irate Russian (uncredited)

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Die scharlachroten Reiter

Native American (uncredited)

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The Ghost Breakers

The Zombie

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Green Hell

Hostile-Tribe Chief (uncredited)

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Drums Along the Mowhawk

Indian (uncredited)

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Frontier Pony Express

Luke Johnson

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Allegheny Uprising

Captured Delaware Native American (uncredited)

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Union Pacific

Native American shooting piano (uncredited)

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Juarez

Gen. Regules (uncredited)

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Tarzan auf der Schatzinsel

Mokuyi

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Mysterious Mr. Moto

Native Sergeant (uncredited)

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Lost Horizon

Leader of Porters on Return Journey (uncredited)

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Wee Willie Winkie

Sikh Policeman (uncredited)

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Marie Walewska

Roustan (uncredited)

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The Plainsman

Native American #1 with Painted Horse (uncredited)

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Mummy's Boys

Tattoo Artist (uncredited)

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She (35)

Amahaggar Chief (uncredited)

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The Lives Of A Bengal Lancer

Ram Singh

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Dante's Inferno

Devil (uncredited)

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Son of Kong

Native King (uncredited)

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White Woman

Native Chief (uncredited)

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King Kong

Native Chief

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Roman Scandals

Torturer (uncredited)

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The Most Dangerous Game

Ivan

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The Mummy

The Nubian

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Murders in the Rue Morgue

Janos The Black One

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Son of India

Guard (uncredited)

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A Salvo en el Infierno

Bobo - a Caribbean Policeman

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Moby Dick

Queequeg

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Mamba

Hassim (uncredited)

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The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu

Li Po

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Noah's Ark

Slave Broker

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King of Kings

Charioteer

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Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Crowd Extra (uncredited)

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The Navigator

Cannibal Chief (uncredited)

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The Thief of Bagdad

The Indian Prince

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The Ten Commandments

The Bronze Man - Prologue

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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Conquest (uncredited)

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Intolerance

Babylonian Soldier (uncredited)

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

acteur

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