Mantan Moreland

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Birth Place: Monroe, Louisiana, USA
Birth Date: September 03, 1902
Occupation: Actor, Soundtrack

Mantan Moreland Biography


Although his brand of humor has been reviled for decades, black character actor Mantan Moreland parlayed his cocky but jittery character into a recognizable presence in the late 1930s and early 1940s, appearing in a long string of comedy thrillers . . . and was considered quite funny at the time!Born just after the turn of the century in Louisiana, Mantan began running away from home at age 12 to join circuses and medicine shows, only to be brought back time and again. During these times he sharpened his comic skills and developed routines and acts that eventually became popular on the vaudeville stage, or what was then called the "chitlin' circuit." A solo performer by nature, he often teamed up with other famous comics (such as Ben Carter) to keep working, and became a deft performer of "indefinite talk" routines, where two quicksilver comics continually topped each other in mid-sentence, as if reading each other's mind (i.e., "Say, did you see...?" "Saw him just yesterday...didn't look so good"). Mantan's focus gradually shifted his trade toward film, where he initially appeared in servile bits (shoeshine men, porters, waiters). However, his talent for making people laugh couldn't be overlooked and he soon earned featured status in Harlem-styled western parodies and grade "A" comedy films playing the superstitious, ever-terrified manservant running from any kind of impending doom.Moreland's peak in movies came with his recurring role as Birmingham, the skittish chauffeur, in the "Charlie Chan" series, where he was forever forewarning his boss to stay away from an obviously dangerous case or situation. Though haunted mansions were an ideal place for setting off his stereotyped character, Mantan would be haunted in a different way by this Hollywood success in years to follow. By the 1950s, racial attitudes began to change and, with the rise of the civil rights movement, what was once considered hilarious was now interpreted as demeaning and offensive to both blacks and whites. Mantan and others, such as Stepin Fetchit, were ostracized and ridiculed by Hollywood for their past negative portrayals. It took decades for audiences to forgive and newer generations to forget the Depression-era comedy of Mantan Moreland in order for the actor to come back.In the late 1960s he managed a modest resurgence on TV and in commercials and occasional films, allowing him to work again with such comic heavyweights as Bill Cosby, Godfrey Cambridge and director Carl Reiner. It was all too brief, however, for Mantan, long suffering from ill health, died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1973, just as he was settling in to his renewed popularity. Today, audiences tend to be kinder and more understanding of Moreland, remembering him as a highly talented comic who, in the only way he knew, broke major barriers and opened the doors for others black actors to follow.

Mantan Moreland Movies / TV-Shows


The Young Nurses (1973)
The Biscuit Eater (1972)
Marriage: Year One (1971)
Watermelon Man (1970)
The Comic (1969)
Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told (1968)
Adam-12 (1968)
Enter Laughing (1967)
Alvarez Kelly (1966)
The Patsy (1964)
Rockin' the Blues (1956)
Rock 'n' Roll Revue (1955)
Rhythm and Blues Revue (1955)
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (1954)
The Sky Dragon (1949)
Docks of New Orleans (1948)
The Return of Mandy's Husband (1948)
The Dreamer (1948)
The Golden Eye (1948)
The Feathered Serpent (1948)
Shanghai Chest (1948)
Best Man Wins (1948)
Ebony Parade (1947)
The Chinese Ring (1947)
Dark Alibi (1946)
The Trap (1946)
Mantan Messes Up (1946)
Riverboat Rhythm (1946)
Shadows Over Chinatown (1946)
Tall, Tan, and Terrific (1946)
The Spider (1945)
The Scarlet Clue (1945)
The Jade Mask (1945)
The Shanghai Cobra (1945)
Captain Tugboat Annie (1945)
The Naughty Nineties (1945)
She Wouldn't Say Yes (1945)
Bowery to Broadway (1944)
Black Magic (1944)
South of Dixie (1944)
Chip Off the Old Block (1944)
Moon Over Las Vegas (1944)
Pin Up Girl (1944)
Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat (1944)
Charlie Chan in the Secret Service (1944)
See Here, Private Hargrove (1944)
The Mystery of the Riverboat (1944)
This Is the Life (1944)
Slightly Dangerous (1943)
Revenge of the Zombies (1943)
We've Never Been Licked (1943)
Cosmo Jones, Crime Smasher (1943)
Melody Parade (1943)
You're a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith (1943)
My Kingdom for a Cook (1943)
Cabin in the Sky (1943)
Hi'ya, Sailor (1943)
He Hired the Boss (1943)
It Comes Up Love (1943)
Hit the Ice (1943)
She's for Me (1943)
Swing Fever (1943)
Sarong Girl (1943)
Treat 'Em Rough (1942)
Professor Creeps (1942)
Freckles Comes Home (1942)
Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942)
Footlight Serenade (1942)
The Strange Case of Doctor Rx (1942)
The Palm Beach Story (1942)
Eyes in the Night (1942)
Lady Luck (1942)
A-Haunting We Will Go (1942)
Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost (1942)
Girl Trouble (1942)
Four Jacks and a Jill (1942)
Phantom Killer (1942)
Law of the Jungle (1942)
Andy Hardy's Double Life (1942)
The Gang's All Here (1941)
Cracked Nuts (1941)
World Premiere (1941)
Hello, Sucker (1941)
Mr. Washington Goes to Town (1941)
King of the Zombies (1941)
You're Out of Luck (1941)
Birth of the Blues (1941)
It Started with Eve (1941)
Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery (1941)
Let's Go Collegiate (1941)
Sign of the Wolf (1941)
Dressed to Kill (1941)
Sleepers West (1941)
Footlight Fever (1941)
Bachelor Daddy (1941)
Marry the Bo$$'$ Daughter (1941)
Accent on Love (1941)
Maryland (1940)
Chasing Trouble (1940)
Drums of the Desert (1940)
Millionaire Playboy (1940)
Pier 13 (1940)
The Man Who Wouldn't Talk (1940)
Four Shall Die (1940)
While Thousands Cheer (1940)
Star Dust (1940)
Viva Cisco Kid (1940)
City of Chance (1940)
Laughing at Danger (1940)
Girl in 313 (1940)
On the Spot (1940)
Up in the Air (1940)
Tell No Tales (1939)
There's That Woman Again (1939)
Irish Luck (1939)
One Dark Night (1939)
Riders of the Frontier (1939)
Spirit of Youth (1938)
Two-Gun Man from Harlem (1938)
Next Time I Marry (1938)
Gang Smashers (1938)
Frontier Scout (1938)
Shall We Dance (1937)
Harlem on the Prairie (1937)
The Green Pastures (1936)
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