John Larkin

Active - 1931 - 1936  |   Born - Jan 1, 1873   |   Died - Mar 19, 1936   |   Genres - Drama, Crime, Romance

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Biography by Bruce Eder

Two American actors in the twentieth century used the name John Larkin -- an African-American performer whose screen credits may go back to the teens, and a white actor who was mostly known for his radio and television work; to complicate matters even further, there was also John Francis Larkin, a writer/producer/director who was often credited as "John Larkin." The African-American John Larkin was born in Norfolk, VA, in 1873, just eight years after the Civil War, and entered motion pictures in 1911. His surviving confirmed credits date from the sound era, and he appeared in over three dozen movies between 1930 and 1936. In keeping with the custom of the time in film casting, he usually played such roles as stableboys, janitors, porters, and servants -- and slaves -- though he also used his singing voice in at least one movie. Larkin passed away in the late winter of 1936, following his last appearance on-screen in The Great Ziegfeld. That movie and The Thin Man (1934) -- in which he played a porter -- are probably the two best-known pictures in which he worked.

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