William Horace Marshall was an actor, director, and renowned opera singer. He is best-known for his title role in the 1972 blaxploitation classic Blacula and the sequel Scream Blacula Scream 1973.
Marshall was born in Gary, Indiana, to Thelma and Vereen Marshall, who was a dentist. He attended New York University as an art student, but then trained for a theatre career at the Actors Studio, at the American Theatre Wing, and with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse.
He played the Moorish king in “Othello” in Europe and in the United States. The London Sunday Times once hailed him as “the best Othello of our time.” On stage, he portrayed singer Paul Robeson and statesman Frederick Douglass, a role he spent 15 years researching. Marshall eventually played the part of the abolitionist on television.
Marshall was the unmarried partner for 42 years of Sylvia Gussin Jarrico, former wife of blacklisted screenwriter Paul Jarrico. William Marshall died June 11, 2003, from complications arising from Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.