BILL 'BOJANGLES' ROBINSON BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson was born on May 25th, 1878 in Richmond, Virginia with the birth name Luther Robinson to parents Maxwell and Maria. When both of his parents passed away when he was just an infant, his grandfather took over raising him.
At the age of seven he dropped out of school and followed his dream of working as a professional dancer. He then became involved in vaudeville and also would find work on stage and even in the film industry. He was am amazingly talented child and he excelled at tap dancing.
In 1886 he joined Mayme Remington's troupe and toured with them and by the age of twelve he then joined another traveling company. He was gaining great success working in nightclubs as a comedy performer.
He earned the nickname, 'Bojangles' due to his happy go lucky personality he displayed on stage. He performed only for the black circuit and not until he was fifty years old did he ever perform live in front of a white audience. In 1928 he made his Broadway appearance in the musical, "Blackbirds" followed by another Broadway performance in the production, "Brown Buddies" (1930).
His film debut was in, "Dixiana" (1930). He only worked on a total of fifteen films, however he gained a huge fan base on the films he did alongside Shirley Temple such as, "The Little Colonel" (1935), "The Little Rebel" (1935) and "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" (1938).
He had such a unique sound when he danced as he would use wooden tap shoes and his style was so different and fun to watch. Bill continued to work in films such as on, "One Mile from Heaven" (1937) and even returned to the stage at the age of sixty appearing in, "The Hot Mikado".
As his health began to fail him he slowed down his career and sadly passed away on November 25th, 1949 in New York after battling heart disease for an umber of years. Throughout his lifetime he married three times. His first wife was Lena Chase whom he married in 1907 and they had no children before the marriage ended in 1922. His second wife was Fannie S. Clay who he wed on January 27th, 1922 and they were together until 1943. He then married for a third time to Elaine Plaines in 1944 and they were together until his passing, never having any children with any of his wives.
He was the founding member of the Negro Actors Guild of America (NAGA) and was also one of the first blacks to act on Broadway. He was very dedicated to the people of Harlem and often donated his time and money when it was much needed. He was inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2002.
1943 Stormy Weather
1938 Road Demon
1938 Up the River
1938 Just Around the Corner
1938 Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
1937 One Mile from Heaven
1935 In Old Kentucky
1935 The Littlest Rebel
1935 The Big Broadcast of 1936
1935 The Little Colonel
1934 King for a Day
1932 Harlem Is Heaven