10 Best Old Black Actors

Saturday, March 12 by Mallorie Greene

The 10 best old black actors enthralled us all with their immeasurable talent in movies for decades. Their faces not only memorable but their role in Hollywood has made a major impact for future African American actors prospering today.

  1. Sidney Poitier. One of the major pioneers in cinema, Poitier broke barriers as one of the best old black actors of today. He started acting at a time where black roles were limited for black actors and mostly subjected to being butlers and servants. His highly classic films includes, "A Raisin In the Sun," In the Heat of Night," The Defiant Ones and countless of others that made Mr. Poitier the legend he is is today.
  2. Bill Cosby. No one can forget “The Cos,” a great comedian and old black actor who became the first non-white costar in the 1960's TV series, "I-Spy" opposite Robert Culp. Since his acting debut, Bill Cosby went on to start in several movies, one of his most memorable roles in "Uptown Saturday Night" and of course, one of the greatest black sitcoms, “The Cosby Show.”
  3. Harry Belafonte. This suave black actor is widely known for the hit Caribbean song "Day-O" but like his fellow black actors starred in many movies. He co-starred with actor Dorothy Dandridge in the 1954 film, "Carmen Jones,” appeared in “Island in the Sun,” and “Uptown Saturday Night.” Belafonte is not only an actor, but also heavily involved as a Civil Rights activist in the 60's and since continue to be involved in black activism.
  4. James Earl Jones. Powerful, commanding black actor, James Earl Jones stands out from the rest because of his commanding deep voice as not only a narrator but voice acting as Darth Vader in "Star Wars."  He is also memorable in movies, "Claudine," "Coming to America," and “Exorcist II.”
  5. Morgan Freeman. Freeman is of the coolest and most respectable old black actors in Hollywood. Freeman is best known in the role as a serious, non nonsense principle, Mr. Joe Clark in "Lean on Me," God, in "Bruce Almighty," and “Driving Miss Daisy."
  6. Danny Glover. One of the top black actors in Hollywood known for his frequent roles in "Lethal Weapon" movies and "The Color Purple." Aside from his acting, Glover actively participates as an activist, speaking out injustices in the world, including political issues.
  7. Richard Roundtree. Everyone cannot help but to think "Shaft" when hearing Richard Round tree’s name. His breakout role came into play when he starred as a private detective in the 1971 classic film, "Shaft" and since, became the highest billed "Blaxploitation" actor in Hollywood of that time. Roundtree's career also credited as a voice actor and fashion model for "Ebony" magazine in his earlier days.
  8. John Amos. Emmy awarding winning actor John Amos career spans over 40 years acting in cinema and TV. Numerous roles from Amos are "Coming to America," "Die Hard 2" and memorable TV roles on "The Mary Tyler Show," the serious, hardworking father on "Good Times," and playing the elder, Kunta Kinte in TV film, “Roots.”
  9. Ossie Davis. The late great black actor Ossie is powerful in both presence and voice. He is one of the few men who set a foundation for future black actors in entertainment. Alongside his wife actress, Ruby Dee, they starred in few movies together and separately, he appeared in films, "The Hill," and "Let's Do It Again." Davis also is a director, most notable for the film "Cotton Comes to Harlem" as well a Civil Rights activists supporting the likes of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  10. Lou Gossett Jr. Black film actor and Broadway star Lou Gossett has remarkable talent validated with films, "A Raisin the Sun" and "Roots" but his career was taken to new heights when won an Oscar for his supporting role in the 1982 movie, "An Officer and a Gentleman.” Gossett also a philanthropist and founder of "Eracism Foundation". Their mission is to conquer inequality, violence, and encouraging youth to establish a better future for themselves.