Leave a comment

In 1968, Director George Romero sought out a cast for his newest horror movie called “Night of the Living Dead.” Unlike his other films, Romero wanted to include an African-American hero. The chosen actor to fight the zombies was Duane Jones. In his role as Ben, Jones became the first African-American to be cast as a non-ethnic lead in a major motion picture in America, and the first time a black actor had a starring role in a horror film. Jones’ character was the universal hero for the first time on film.

“Night of the Living Dead” was called “historically, culturally and aesthetically important” by film critics.

The entire film cost for “Night of the Living Dead” was $114,000. Once the film hit the box office and was re-released several times, it grossed $12 million domestically and $18 million internationally.

As for Jones, he became a theater professor and worked at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Jones used his talent to promote black actors in films, and ultimately helped a diverse group of students succeed.

The original “Night of the Living Dead” was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress of the United States in 1999. George Romero made five additional sequels to the film, but none were as successful as the original production that broke color barriers. In 2001, the film was ranked #93 by the American Film Institute on their list of America’s most heart-pounding movies.

Jones admitted that he had not seen any of Romero’s other films, because his historical film was “his time and his destiny”. Jones was afraid that he had been typecast in “Night of the Living Dead,” which sparked his teaching career after a few additional productions.

Also On Black America Web:
Find Out What Your Fav Celebs Did On Instagram This Week (02/02-02/08)
10 photos

4 thoughts on “Little Known Black History Fact: Duane Jones

  1. There is so little known about this man with whom I felt had brilliant potential. Mr. Jones was so young and died two years before my sister with the same thing: cardiac arrest. I’ve read other things about Mr. Jones in pre-internet days with regards to who he went to acting school with.I heard he kind of hung out with James Dean as well. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jean on said:

      He was sculpted together. He was one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen. I was wishing I could have been in that house, the heck with the zombies. He wasn’t just good looking, he was strikingly handsome.

      • Terri on said:

        There is no info on him anywhere. Ganja & Hess is so good you forget that he was the star of NOTLD!
        How was he in person? I’ve heard that he died of complications of something else…

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s