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date: 06 April 2020

Rudd, Wayland locked

(?1900?–4 July 1952),
  • Adam W. Green

Extract

actor, was born in Nebraska and raised in a foster home from the age of nine. He eventually held menial jobs in the countryside, working in the mines and delivering messages, before becoming enamored of the theater. Rudd moved east to earn a spot on the stage, and began performing regularly in Philadelphia in the early 1920s. Though he was initially disgruntled by the lack of opportunities given to him even on stage, Rudd was soon “discovered” by Jasper Deeter, a director and founder of Hedgerow, a white theater in Moylan-Rose Valley, Pennsylvania. Deeter began using Rudd as part of his repertory company, most notably as the eponymous character in a critically acclaimed production of The Emperor Jones. In 1930, the same year Paul Robeson famously played Othello in London, Rudd was said to have performed it at Hedgerow, in America.

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A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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