Pioneering actor-singer Herb Jeffries has died. He was 100.
Jeffries died from heart failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in California on May 25, biographer Raymond Strait confirmed, reported Los Angeles Times.
Born Umberto Valentino, Jeffries starred in five Westerns in the 1930s featuring all-black casts including ‘Harlem on the Prairie’, ‘Rhythm Rodeo’ and ‘The Bronze Buckaroo’. He later played the title character in 1957 film ‘Calypso Joe’, opposite Angie Dickinson.
He was also a successful singer, touring with Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and later joining Duke Ellington’s band and performing at the iconic bandleader’s Jump For Joy revue in Los Angeles in 1941.
As an actor, Jeffries also made a number of guest appearances in popular 1960s TV shows including ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, ‘Hawaii Five-O’, ‘The Name of the Game’ and ‘The Virginian’.