Avon Long

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Avon Long
Avon Long 1943.JPG
Long in 1943.
Born(1910-06-18)June 18, 1910
DiedFebruary 15, 1984(1984-02-15) (aged 73)
Years active1932-1984
Spouse(s)Gretchen Cotton
(m. 19??; his death 1984)

Avon Long (June 18, 1910 – February 15, 1984) was an American Broadway actor and singer.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or simply America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, also known simply as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

Actor Person who acts in a dramatic or comic production and works in film, television, theatre, or radio

An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance. The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the theatre or in modern media such as film, radio, and television. The analogous Greek term is ὑποκριτής (hupokritḗs), literally "one who answers". The actor's interpretation of their role—the art of acting—pertains to the role played, whether based on a real person or fictional character. Interpretation occurs even when the actor is "playing themselves", as in some forms of experimental performance art.



Long was born in Baltimore, Maryland. [1] He attended Frederick Douglass High School, where he was especially influenced by the Latin teacher and drama coach, Nellie A. Buchanan. [2] [3]

Frederick Douglass High School (Baltimore, Maryland) Public, comprehensive school in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Frederick Douglass High School, established in 1883, is an American public high school in the Baltimore City Public Schools district. Originally named the Colored High and Training School, Douglass is the second-oldest U.S. high school created specifically for African American students. Prior to desegregation, Douglass and Paul Laurence Dunbar High School were the only two high schools in Baltimore that admitted African-American students, with Douglass serving students from West Baltimore and Dunbar serving students from East Baltimore.

Nellie A. Buchanan

Nellie A. Buchanan was an American educator and theatre professional. She was the fourth international president of the historically black sorority Zeta Phi Beta, serving from 1923 to 1925.

He performed in a number of Broadway shows, including Porgy and Bess (as Sportin' Life in the 1942 revival), and Beggar's Holiday (1946). Long and Lena Horne co-introduced the Harold Arlen-Ted Koehler composition "As Long As I Live" in "Cotton Club Parade" (1934) when Miss Horne was only 16 years old.

<i>Porgy and Bess</i> English-language opera composed in 1934 by George Gershwin

Porgy and Bess is an English-language opera by the American composer George Gershwin, with a libretto written by author DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin. It was adapted from Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward's play Porgy, itself an adaptation of DuBose Heyward's 1925 novel of the same name.

<i>Beggars Holiday</i> musical

Beggar's Holiday is a musical with a book and lyrics by John La Touche and music by Duke Ellington.

He reprised his role of Sportin' Life in the 1951 3-LP Columbia Masterworks recording of Porgy and Bess, the most complete recording of the opera issued up to that time. He also co-starred with Thelma Carpenter in the 1952 revival of Shuffle Along, which they recorded for RCA Victor.

Columbia Masterworks Records was a record label started in 1924 by Columbia Records. In 1980, it was separated from the Columbia label and renamed CBS Masterworks Records. In 1990, it was renamed Sony Classical Records after its sale to the Sony Corporation.

Thelma Carpenter was a jazz singer and actress, best known as "Miss One", the Good Witch of the North in the movie The Wiz. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, the only child of Fred and Mary Carpenter and attended Girls' Commercial High School, where Susan Hayward was a few years ahead.

<i>Shuffle Along</i> musical with music and lyrics by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake

Shuffle Along is a musical with music and lyrics by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, and a thin revue-style connecting plot about a mayoral race, written by Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles.

Long received a Tony Award nomination for Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Musical) in 1973, for the role of Dave in Don't Play Us Cheap . The all-black play opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York on May 16, 1972 and ran for 164 performances. Long, along with Thomas Anderson, Joshie Armstead, Robert Dunn, Jay Van Leer, Esther Rolle, Mabel King, George Ooppee McCurn, Frank Carey, Nate Barnett, and Rhetta Hughes, recreated their stage roles in a film production by Melvin Van Peebles, in 1973.

Tony Award awards for live Broadway theatre

The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Midtown Manhattan. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing. The trophy consists of a medallion, with a face portraying an adaptation of the comedy and tragedy masks, mounted on a black base with a pewter swivel.

<i>Dont Play Us Cheap</i> 1973 film by Melvin Van Peebles

Don't Play Us Cheap is a 1972 musical written, produced, and directed by Melvin Van Peebles, about an imp and a devil who take human form and try to break up a Harlem house party. A film version was produced in 1973.

George McCurn was a bass singer who started off singing gospel and switched to pop in the 1960s. He had a hit in 1963 with "I'm Just A Country Boy".

He originated the role of John in Bubbling Brown Sugar on Broadway, which opened at the August Wilson Theatre (then-ANTA Playhouse) on March 2, 1976, and closed on December 31, 1977, after 766 performances.

Bubbling Brown Sugar is a musical revue written by Loften Mitchell based on a concept by Rosetta LeNoire and featuring the music of numerous African-American artists who were popular during the Harlem Renaissance, 1920–1940, including Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake, Count Basie, Cab Calloway and Fats Waller. Original music, including the title theme song "Bubbling Brown Sugar" was composed by pianist Emme Kemp, a protégé of the legendary Eubie Blake. It was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Robert M. Cooper directed and produced the Broadway and tour productions.

Long also appeared in a number of films and television shows. He played the elderly Chicken George Moore in Roots: The Next Generations miniseries, and had small roles in Trading Places - memorable as Ezra, the man to whom Ralph Bellamy gives a miserably small Christmas bonus ("maybe I'll go to the movies - by myself"), The Sting ("Flat rate!"), and Harry and Tonto . He was originally cast to play George Jefferson in “All in the Family” but was removed based on feedback from Carol O’Conor. [4]

Long died from cancer at 73, on February 15, 1984 in New York City, and was interred in NY's Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hartsdale, New York.

His oldest granddaughter is author, artist and radio talk show host JoAnn Pinkney Wilcox, who wrote the book "Getting Paid To Keep You In Debt!"


1946 Beggar's Holiday Specialty
1946 Centennial Summer Specialty
1948 Romance on the High Seas Specialty Singer
1968 Finian's Rainbow Passion Pilgrim GospeleerUncredited
1973 The Sting Benny Garfield
1973 Don't Play Us Cheap Brother Dave
1974 Harry and Tonto Leroy
1978 Bye Bye Monkey Miko
1983 Trading Places Ezra
1984 Nothing Lasts Forever Alphacruiser Steward(final film role)

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  1. Rousuck, J. Wynn (December 19, 1976). ""Avon Long: Ecstasy to Broadway"". The Baltimore Sun. p. 12. Retrieved March 31, 2019 via Newspapers.com.
  2. Peters, Ida (August 23, 1975). ""Nellie Buchanan Night in DC; Avon Long Honors Former Teacher"". The Baltimore Afro-American. p. 14. Retrieved March 31, 2019 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  3. Peters, Ida (August 26, 1975). ""Nellie Buchanan Night"". The Baltimore Afro-American. p. 17. Retrieved March 31, 2019 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  4. Littleton, Darryl “D’Militant” (8 April 2017). "ON THIS DAY IN COMEDY… IN 1975 'THE JEFFERSONS' PREMIERED ON CBS!". Humor Mill Mag. Retrieved 2 June 2019.