A Great Pioneer Actor of the 1900s: Clarence Edouard Muse


Clarence Edouard Muse was born October 7, 1889 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the son of Alexander and Mary Muse. Muse was among the first students to graduate from the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1911. Although, he had his degree in law he never pursued a career in the field. There were not too many job opportunities for Blacks at that time.

Muse became a community activist and worked with other leaders for the better of the community, and better jobs for Black actors. He participated in the Black theater movement of the 1920s. Muse began to focus on a career in acting but did not just limit himself to being on the stage. He also worked to compose song, write plays, and directed several movie. He could be seen regularly on television in a version of Casablanca.


Muse later became one of the founding directors of a black independent film company, the Delsarte Film Corporation, in New York City. He later married and had two children, but shortly after separated from his wife. Muse later moved to Chicago, Illinois and became involved with the Royal Gardens Theater. He later played a leading role in “Hearts of Dixie”. This was during the transition from silent films to talking films, and Hearts of Dixie was the second movie to ever have talking. Muse became one of the highest paid Black actors in Hollywood during his time. He received $1,250 a week with a 12-month contract. He appeared in over 200 movies while living in Hollywood. He often accepted butler-type roles, some for which he received backlash from the Black community. He also composed what became Louis Armstrong’s theme song, “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South.” Muse died at the age of 90 in 1979 of a cerebral hemorrhage. In 1973, was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.




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  • GRACE HOWELL September 27, 2018 - 12:33 pm Reply

    Please unsubscribe me

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