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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joel Fluellen
Born(1907-12-01)December 1, 1907
DiedFebruary 2, 1990(1990-02-02) (aged 82)
Years active1937–1979
Known forOpposing Black discrimination in Hollywood
Notable work
The Jackie Robinson Story
AwardsPaul Robeson Pioneer Awards
Ruby Dee and Joel Fluellen (center) in The Jackie Robinson Story (1950)
Ruby Dee and Joel Fluellen (center) in The Jackie Robinson Story (1950)

Joel Fluellen (December 1, 1907 – February 2, 1990) was an actor and an activist for the rights of African Americans. He appeared in the films The Jackie Robinson Story, Perils of the Jungle, Duffy of San Quentin, Sitting Bull, Friendly Persuasion, Monster from Green Hell, The Decks Ran Red, Porgy and Bess, A Raisin in the Sun, He Rides Tall, Roustabout, The Chase, The Learning Tree, The Great White Hope, Skin Game, Thomasine & Bushrod, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings, Casey's Shadow and Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, among others.

Cinema career

After getting a series of small roles, Fluellen attracted attention playing the role of Jackie Robinson's brother in The Jackie Robinson Story, released in 1950. Other significant roles followed in movies such as Friendly Persuasion, The Learning Tree and The Great White Hope.[1][2]

He also appeared in television series, including The Dick Van Dyke Show and Hill Street Blues.[1] In 1964 Joel Fluellen, Guest starred on the Series “My Three Sons“ as, the Character Actor “ Jim “, in “ Season 4, Episode 36,”Titled, “ Huckleberry Douglas “ .


Following calls by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People against the stereotyping of African Americans in the film industry, Fluellen tried to get the Screen Actors Guild to protect their Black members against discrimination. The guild, headed by Ronald Reagan at the time, repeatedly rebuffed his resolutions, and Fluellen became an early member of the Negro Actors Guild of America.[2]

With Frances Williams, he received the first Paul Robeson Pioneer Awards from the Black American Cinema Society, in 1985.[2][1]

Later life

Fluellen was gay.[3] He suffered health problems and was becoming blind toward the end of his life. He shot and killed himself on February 2, 1990, at his home in Los Angeles, California.[1][2][4]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ a b c d Frasier, David K. (2005). Suicide in the Entertainment Industry: An Encyclopedia of 840 Twentieth Century Cases. McFarland Publishing. p. 110. ISBN 978-0786423330 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c d "Joel Fluellen; Actor Fought Hollywood Bias". Los Angeles Times. 7 February 1990. 280998100. Retrieved 30 March 2021 – via Proquest.
  3. ^ Smith, Charles Michael (May–June 2005). "Race on the Set (and off)". The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 198670271. Retrieved 30 March 2021 – via Proquest.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  4. ^ "Joel Fluellen, 81, A Longtime Actor In Films and TV". The New York Times. February 7, 1990. Retrieved July 15, 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 17 July 2021, at 01:36
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