Leon Isaac Kennedy

Last updated
Leon Isaac Kennedy
Born (1948-06-01) June 1, 1948 (age 73)[ citation needed ]
or (1949-01-01) January 1, 1949 (age 72) [1] [2] [3]
(sources differ)
Nationality American
  • Actor
  • film producer
  • playwright
  • disk jockey
Years active1970–1996
Known forMartel "Too Sweet" Gordone – Penitentiary , Penitentiary II , Penitentiary III
Leon "The Lover" Johnson – Body and Soul
    (m. 1971;div. 1982)
    [4] [5]
      Lolita Armbrister
      (m. 1995)
        Maureen LaVette
        (m. 2005)
Website leonisaackennedy.com

Leon Isaac Kennedy (born June 1, 1948[ citation needed ] or January 1, 1949 [3] [2] [1] ) (sources differ) is an American actor, disc jockey, film producer and playwright. Kennedy's acting roles include Martel "Too Sweet" Gordone in Jamaa Fanaka's Penitentiary (1979), Penitentiary II (1982), Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) and Penitentiary III (1987), [6] and Leon "The Lover" Johnson in the 1981 film Body and Soul alongside his then-wife Jayne Kennedy.



Born in Cleveland, Kennedy first began his career as a disc jockey and nightclub promoter. [7] Kennedy headed to Los Angeles, California to seek success in his career in June 1971. Once in California, Kennedy became a DJ on the FM rock station and also worked as a coordinator for a variety show. [8] In 1972, Kennedy had a part in Fred Williamson's action film Hammer . [9] In 1976, Kennedy appeared in another Fred Williamson film, Mean Johnny Barrows . Kennedy later appeared in the 1978 film Death Force with his then-wife Jayne Kennedy and with James Iglehart. [10] [7]

In 1981, Body and Soul was released. The film featured Kennedy in the lead role as Leon Johnson, an up-and-coming boxer, and was written by him as well. A remake of 1947's Body and Soul , the film also starred Jayne Kennedy and Peter Lawford. [11] In 1988, Kennedy appeared with Ernest Borgnine, Herbert Lom, Oliver Reed, Robert Vaughn and Arnold Vosloo in Skeleton Coast . [12] In 1991, Kennedy appeared in Damages which was an episode of Against the Law playing the part of Spider. [13]

Personal life

Kennedy has been married three times. In June 1971, Kennedy, then 22, married Jayne Harrison, a 19–year old beauty pageant contestant who was from Wickliffe, Ohio; they divorced in 1982. [14] In 1995, Kennedy married Lolita Armbrister.[ citation needed ] In August 2005, Kennedy married actress Maureen LaVette.[ citation needed ] Kennedy became a Christian evangelist during the early 1990s. In 2014, Kennedy sued Ebony magazine and Johnson Publishing Company; claiming in an article for their March 2013 "Scandal" issue the magazine falsely identified him as the person who leaked the infamous 1970s sextape of him with his then–wife Jayne Kennedy during their 1981 divorce proceedings. [15] [16]

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  1. 1 2 VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever - Leon Isaaxc Kennedy (1949)
  2. 1 2 Screen World _ Leon Isaac Kennedy (1949)
  3. 1 2 Directory of Historical Figures - Salem
  4. Notable Black American Women, Book 2 - Jayne Kennedy Overton
  5. JET Magazine - Leon Kennedy Planned Slow Emergence Into Limelight - June 11, 1981
  6. Encyclopedia of Sports Films - By K Edgington, Thomas Erskine, James M. Welsh
  7. 1 2 Trying to Get Over: African American Directors after Blaxploitation, 1977-1986, By Keith Corson - Page 127 |Outside of Society
  8. Jet, May 24, 1973 - Page 21 - 23 LIFESTYLES, Beauty + Brains = Success
  9. Rotten Tomatoes - Hammer (1972)
  10. Reflections on Blaxploitation: Actors and Directors Speak, By David Walker, Andrew J. Rausch, Chris Watson - Page 205 BLAXPLOITATION FROM A TO Z
  11. New York Times , November 22, 1981 - Movie Review, 'Body and Soul', Remake of Ring Saga
  12. Comeuppance Reviews, 3/07/2012 - Skeleton Coast (1988)
  13. TV.com - Against the Law Season 1 Episode 14, Damages
  14. Page 21 - 23 LIFESTYLES, Beauty + Brains = Success
  15. TMZ - Sportscaster Sex Tape Jayne Kennedy's Ex-Hubby Suing: "I Didn't Leak Our Sex Tape!!" - February 5, 2014
  16. EURWEB - Leon Issac Kennedy - In Open Letter Tells Why He's Suing Ebony Magazine & Johnson Publications - February 2014