Unique stage and screen talents, Godfrey Cambridge

Sun, 1933-02-26

*On this date in 1933, Godfrey Cambridge was born. He was an African American actor and comedian, one of the most unique comics of the early 1970’s.

Born to parents who emigrated from British Guiana, he attended public schools in Nova Scotia while living with his grandparents. After finishing his education in New York at Flushing High School and Hofstra College, he began to study acting.

He made his Broadway debut in Nature's Way in 1956 and was seen in Purlie Victorious in 1961. He also appeared in a number of off-Broadway productions and won an Obie award for a 1961 role in the play The Blacks. Cambridge starred in a stock version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum in 1965. As a comedian he appeared on The Tonight Show and many other variety hours through television.

His material was very much his own style and was drawn off of the racial climate of the times. He played many dramatic characters, one of Cambridge’s most memorable roles was in the Hollywood film Watermelon Man 1970 in which he played a white man who turned black overnight.

During the 1970’s he remained in semi-retirement, making few public appearances. Godfrey Cambridge died on November 29th 1976, while working on playing the role of Idi Amin in a television movie about the raid on Entebbe.

The Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York
ISBN 0-8160-3289-0

The School for Film and Television Acting

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Cambridge, Godfrey