Moses Gunn, Known for His Myriad Acting Roles and Co-Founder of The Negro Ensemble Company

Written by Jae Jones

Do you remember ? He appeared in several films and TV sitcoms. Most people remember him best for his role, the atheist, ““, on CBS TV sitcom “Good Times”. Moses was born on October 2, 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the son of Mary and George Gunn, and was also the oldest child out of seven children. His mother died when he was 12-years-old and during that time Gunn left home. He eventually returned to St. Louis to attend school while living at the home of his English teacher. He graduated from Tennessee State University after serving in the United States Army. Gunn later went back to school to receive his Master’s degree. After graduation he taught briefly at the Grambling College before pursuing an acting career.

Gunn made his New York City stage debut in the original off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s “The Blacks” in 1962. He performed many Shakespearean roles, eventually winning an Obie Award for his portrayal of Aaron in “Titus Andronicus”. He appeared in other Broadway plays such as: “Twelfth Night”, “I Have a Dream”, and “The Poison”. He was nominated for a Tony Award for best actor for “The Poison Tree”.

However, many people remember Gunn for his many appearances in film and TV sitcoms. Gunn played Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Jonas in the first two Shaft movies, and Booker T. Washington in the movie “Ragtime”. He also appeared in the TV mini-series Roots and also appeared in shows such as: Little House on the Prairie, The Cosby Show, and Good Times. Gunn died in 1993 from complications from asthma. He was married with a step-daughter and son. Gunn was a co-founder of the Negro Ensemble Company.



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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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