William Marshall espouses rich heritage in acting career

April 18, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

HOLLYWOOD -- He began his film career in 1952, playing a revolutionary Haitian planter in "Lydia Bailey," and, in a sense, William Marshall has come full circle.

While making the picture, Marshall delved into the history of Haiti, and today is developing a film project about revolutionary leader King Henry Christophe, who ruled the island country during the early 1800s.

Perhaps best known for his starring role in AIP's low-budget "Blacula" (1972), which some credit as the first black horror film, Marshall has appeared in a dozen features. Since 1987, he has been the King of Cartoons on "Pee-wee's Playhouse," Saturday mornings on CBS.

The winner of two Emmys -- as actor and producer -- for an NBC drama in 1974, Marshall feels that performing on "Pee-wee's Playhouse" is not a comedown, but a chance to reach a different audience -- children.

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