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Encyclopedia > Rex Ingram

Rex Ingram (October 20, 1895 - September 19, 1969) was an African American film and stage actor. Born near Cairo, Illinois he claimed to have obtained a medical degree from Northwestern University in 1919 and was a Phi Beta Kappa, this is not confirmable.

He first appeared in film in 1918 and had many small roles, usually as a generic black native, such as in Tarzan films. With the arrival of sound his presence and powerful voice became an asset and he went on to memorable roles in Green Pastures (1936), Huckleberry Finn (1939), The Thief of Bagdad (1940) and Sahara (1943). From 1929 he also appeared on stage, making his debut on Broadway.

In 1948 Ingram was arrested for violating the Mann Act and, pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 18 months. He served ten months and the incident had a serious impact on his career.

In 1962 he became the first African American actor to be hired for a contract role on a soap opera, when he appeared on The Brighter Day.

Rex Ingram (January 12, 1893 - July 21, 1950) was a film director, producer, writer and actor. He was born Reginald Ingram Montgomery Hitchcock in Dublin, Ireland, the son of a clergyman. His family emigrated to the US in 1911.

Ingram studied sculpture at the Yale School of Fine Art, but soon moved into film. First taking acting work from 1913 and then writing, producing and directing. His first work as producer-director was in 1916 on the romantic drama The Great Problem. He worked for Fox, Vitagraph, Edison and then MGM, directing mainly action or supernatural films. He left MGM and America in 1925 to set up his own studio in Nice, Victorine, with Alice Terry his wife since 1921. Unimpressed with sound, he made only one 'talkie', Baroud, filmed in Morocco. The film was a commercial flop; after its disappointing performance Ingram left the film business, returning to Los Angeles to work as a sculptor and writer.

His films were considered by many comtempory directors to be artistic and skillful, with an imaginative and bold visual style.


  • The Great Problem (1916)
  • Broken Fetters (1916)
  • Chalice of Sorrow (1916)
  • Black Orchids (1917)
  • The Reward of Life (1917)
  • The Flower of Doom (1917)
  • His Robe of Honour (1917)
  • Humdrum Brown (1917)
  • The Day She Paid (1919)
  • Shore Acres (1920)
  • Under Crimson Skies (1920)
  • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
  • The Conquering Power (1921)
  • Hearts are Trumps (1921)
  • The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)
  • Trifling Women (1922)
  • Turn to the Right (1922)
  • Scaramouche (1923)
  • Where the Pavement Ends (1923)
  • The Arab (1924)
  • Mare Nostrum (1926)
  • The Magician (1926)
  • The Garden of Allah (1927)
  • The Three Passions (1929)
  • Baroud (1932)

  Results from FactBites:
African American Registry: Rex Ingram, symbol of twentieth century acting. (709 words)
Ingram claimed that he headed for California in 1919, where he sailed for 18 months as a crewman on a windjammer.
Ingram was denied many roles during his career because of racism, yet he was one of the few actors to serve on the board of directors of the studio actor’s guild.
Ingram became an international star when in 1940 he was chosen to play the role of the Genie of the Lamp in the British film The Thief of Baghdad.
Rex Ingram - Films as director:, Other films: (1094 words)
Rex Ingram's work has tended to be overlooked and forgotten as a result of his retirement from films in the early 1930s, an era when sound had taken over the world of cinema.
Ingram sold his studios in Nice, where he had reigned as an uncrowned king; as the Victorine Studios they were to become an important element in French film production.
Ingram was the supreme pictorialist of the screen, a great director of actors, a perfectionist whose influence was felt not least in the films of David Lean and Michael Powell.
  More results at FactBites »



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