American film actor who is credited as the first African American to ever star in a film. He had credible roles in the all-black film Hearts in Dixie and also the 1936 film Broken Earth.
After earning an international law degree, he began performing in the 1920s with two Harlem playhouses called Lincoln Players and Lafayette Players during the Harlem Renaissance.
He co-wrote the script for the film Way Down South alongside Langston Hughes and was notable for taking on racial issues.
He was married to Irene Ena from 1952 until his death.
For the film Porgy and Bess, he portrayed Peter, the Honey Man. The film starred another pioneer in African American acting, Sidney Poitier.