Pinochle Player on Cheech and Chong's Next Movie
9/10/1907, Meridian, Mississippi
Actor Alvin Childress emerged on the New York stage in 1931. This was the Depression era, but Childress a graduate of Rust College managed to find work with the Federal Theatre Project and served as an instructor for The American Negro Theatre.
Aside from Amos ‘n' Andy, Childress' biggest success was his role in Philip Yordan's all-black production Anna Lucasta.
Alvin Childress made his film debut in the 1939 low budget epic Keep Punching.
When the part of Amos Jones a theoretical Harlem cabdriver, became available for the television version of Amos ‘n' Andy, Childress landed the role over many other contenders after a four-year hunt by the show's creators Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll. Childress remained with the show during its two-year span filming seventy-eight, 30-minute episodes.
Despite the controversy surrounding the production of Amos ‘n' Andy and claims that the show was based predominantly on destructive stereo-types of the African American culture, Childress always defended his role as Amos Jones and challenged that the show was anything but negative against the African American race. Childress focused on how the show depicted African Americans in leadership roles and professions such as store owners and attorneys in a time when television and movies rarely showed this.
After the cancellation of Amos ‘n' Andy, Childress put his degree in Sociology to work and sought satisfaction as a Los Angeles social worker.
Alvin Childress returned to acting with featured roles in a few films and guest appearances on television programs such as Sanford and Son and The Jeffersons.
During his career of acting, Childress suffered a long battle with Diabetes, and it would be this illness and Parkinson's disease that silenced this illustrious actor in 1986 at the age of 78.