DATE OF BIRTH: December 20, 1924
PLACE OF BIRTH: Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
EDUCATION: Tranquillity Government School
CAREER:                                       John was a founding member of the Whitehall Players in Port-of-Spain. He left Trinidad in 1950 for London, England, where he became a successful supporting actor, playwright, and screenwriter. In 1957, his famous play, "Moon on A Rainbow Shawl," won him the Observer's prize for the best new playwright. In 1958, he performed in the British radio drama "Small Island Moon" and he was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship the same year. In 1967, he appeared in the six-part BBC production "Rainbow City," the first British drama series to feature a Black actor in a leading role. He did most of his work in England but occasionally worked in the USA. His film appearances include:
  • 1951 - African Queen
  • 1954 - The Heart of the Matter [Character: African Policeman]
  • 1955 - Simba [Character: African Inspector]
  • 1956 - Odongo [Character: Mr. Bawa]
  • 1959 - The Nun's Story [Character: Illunga]
  • 1961 - The Sins of Rachel Cade [Character: Kulu]
  • 1963 - PT 109 [Character: Benjamin Kevu]
  • 1964 - Man in the Middle [Character: Sgt. Jackson]; Guns at Batasi [Character: Lieutenant Boniface]
  • 1966 - Assault on a Queen [Character: Linc Langley]
  • 1972 - Buck and the Preacher [Character: Joshua]
  • 1984 - Sheena [Character: Boto]
  • 1988 - The Big Knife
                                                     In addition to "Moon on A Rainbow Shawl," he wrote several plays including "The Tout" (1966) and "The Dipossessed, Hasta Luego, and Force Majeure" (1967). His television screenplays included "The Emperor Jones" (1953), "Teleclub" (1954), and "Dawn" (1963). His also made appearances on British television in "Rumpole of the Bailey" and "Danger Man."
  • 1988 - Trinidad & Tobago Chaconia Medal Silver (for Drama - posthumously)
DIED: July 10, 1988, in London, England
Compiled by Ronald C. Emrit