From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
William Horace Marshall (August 19, 1924 – June 11, 2003) was an American actor, director, and opera singer. He is best known for his title role in the 1972 blaxploitation classic Blacula and its sequel Scream Blacula Scream (1973), as the "King of Cartoons" on the 1980s television show Pee-wee's Playhouse beginning with its second season, and an appearance on the original Star Trek television series. He had a commanding height of 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m), as well as a deep bass voice.
Marshall was born in Gary, Indiana, the son of Thelma (née Edwards) and Vereen Marshall, who was a dentist. After graduation from Governors State University, he attended New York University as an art student, but then trained for a theatre career at the Actors Studio, at the American Theatre Wing, and with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse.
Marshall's career on screen began in 1952 in Lydia Bailey as a Haitian leader. He followed that with a prominent role as Glycon, comrade and fellow gladiator to Victor Mature in Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954). His demeanor, voice and stature gave him a wide range, though he was ill-suited for the subservient roles that many black actors of his generation were most frequently offered. He was Attorney General Edward Brooke in The Boston Strangler and a leader of the Mau-Mau uprising in Something of Value. He received the most widespread fame for his role in the vampire film Blacula and its sequel Scream Blacula Scream. In later years, Marshall played the King of Cartoons on Pee-wee's Playhouse, replacing actor Gilbert Lewis, during the 1980s. (The character's catchphrase "Let...the cartoooon...begin!" became immensely popular.)
- ^ Long Beach Press-Telegram, May 26, 1952, p. 27
- ^ a b William Marshall Biography (1924–2003)
- ^ a b c Chicago Tribune, June 22, 2003