Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 271-273. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 158-159. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Despite the strong criticisms he received during the civil rights era over his playing to the worst stereotypes of blacks, in later years he was praised for his part in opening doors for black actors, notably receiving the Special Image Award by the NAACP. He was elected to the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1978.
Has one son, Jemajo
He claimed 1902 as the year he was born, although other sources say 1896 or 1898.
His humbling, ingratiating style of acting unfortunately became a stereotype for black actors in the early years of cinema.
Professional name was adopted from a Thoroughbred racehorse.
Suffered a major stroke in 1976 that effectively ended his acting career.
The first black actor to become a millionaire, he owned 12 automobiles and had 16 servants at the height of his fame. By 1947, he had squandered his immense fortune and was forced into bankruptcy.