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Ebony Showcase Theater cast
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Photographers Photo Collection
Curtis, Rolland J
Made accessible through a grant from the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at for additional information.
Rolland Joseph 'Speedy' Curtis was born in Louisiana in 1922. After serving three years in the Marines during World War II, he and his wife, Gloria, relocated from New Orleans to Los Angeles in 1946. Curtis served four years with the Los Angeles Police Department, but resigned from the force in order to pursue both a Bachelor's and Master's degree from USC. He later became involved in city politics, as an associate of Sam Yorty, and later a field deputy to City Council members Billy Mills and Tom Bradley. He was briefly director of the Model Cities program in 1973. Rolland J. Curtis died in his home in 1979, the victim of a homicide. An affordable housing complex on Exposition Blvd. near Vermont Ave. was named in his honor in 1981, along with a nearby street and park.
Founded by Nick and Edna Stewart in 1950, the Ebony Showcase Theater was the first African American owned theater in Los Angeles. Nick Stewart, who was most famous for his portrayal of “Lightnin’” in the TV show Amos and Andy, and voicing Brer Rabbit in Disney’s Song of the South, sought to build a place where African Americans could act in roles outside of the traditional stereotypes. The theater has been credited for starting the career of many young black actors, including Michelle Nichols, John Amos and Isabel Sanford. Located at 4718-26 W. Washington Blvd., the theater was demolished in 1998.
Group photo of the Ebony Showcase Theater cast and guests. City Council members Billy Mills (left) and Gilbert Lindsay (center) are also present.
1 photographic print :b&w;10x13 cm.
Photographic prints
Rolland J. Curtis Collection; Los Angeles Photographers Collection
Mills, Billy G
Lindsay, Gilbert
Stewart, Nick,--1910-2000
Stewart, Edna
Ebony Showcase Theater (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Theaters--California--Los Angeles
Theater--California--Los Angeles
Actors--United States
Actresses--United States
Lost architecture--California--Los Angeles
Mid-City (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Group portraits
Time Period

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