- (1898-1943)Born in Waco, Texas, the African American singer and actor originated roles in a few significant Broadway productions. In Paul Green's Pulitzer PRiZE-winning In Abraham's Bosom (1926), Bledsoe played Abraham McCranie, a deeply troubled mulatto who is thwarted by his all-white brother in bringing education to Southern blacks. Bledsoe followed this with a role in the musical Deep River (1926), and then he made a lasting mark as Joe, the kind-hearted deck hand, in Show Boat (1927), introducing "Ol' Man River." He appeared in the motion picture Drums of the Kongo (1942) and in prologues featuring original cast members of Show Boat that accompanied the partial "talkie" 1929 version.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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