James Edwards was an actor in film and television. He is best known for his role, “Private Peter Moss” in the 1949 film Home of the Brave in which he portrayed a black soldier experiencing racist prejudice while serving in the South Pacific during World War II.
Edwards was born on March 6, 1918, in Hobart, Indiana. He attended Knoxville College in Tennessee and later continued his education at Northwestern University where he received a master’s degree in drama. While at school he participated in student productions and in the Federal Theatre Project.
He was commissioned during World War II as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After the war, he decided to set his eyes on the New York stage where he assumed the role of the war hero in the touring play Deep Are the Roots.
Throughout much of his life, Edwards appeared in movies as an American soldier. Some of his films include Home of the Brave (1949), Bright Victory (1951), Men in War (1957), and several films. It was believed he was also a cast in Universal’s Red Ball Express but was replaced by Sidney Poitier when he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. It is believed that James Edwards career came to a halt when he had an affair with a white actress. James Johnson Edwards died on January 4, 1970.
I remember this guy quite well. I was born in 1945 when the only blacks we could see on television were
Ethel Waters as ‘Bula’ the maid and Tim Moore and the rest of his cast as the ‘Kingfish’ in the comedy ‘Amos n Andy’! As I recall James last movie was as the valet for General Patton in “Patton” with George C. Scott as the outspoken, controversial general.