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2012-2013 Hall of Fame Inductee
Woody Strode*, California (Posthumously)

Woodrow Wilson Woolwine "Woody" Strode, born in Los Angeles, California, July 25, 1914. Strode was the son of a Creek-Blackfoot-black father and a black-Cherokee mother. Woody was a decathlete and football star who went on to become a pioneering African American film actor. He served in the US Army during World War II. In 1946, Strode signed with the Los Angeles Rams, thus (along with two others) integrating professional football (National Football League) in the United States. After leaving football, he made his film debut in Sundown in 1941 and later appeared as the king of Ethiopia in The Ten Commandments (1956). He also gave memorable performance in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) as a gunslinger and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. He was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Spartacus in 1960. He remained a visible character actor throughout the '70s and '80s in such films as Scream (1981), and has become widely regarded (along with Sidney Poitier and Brock Peters) as one of the most important black film actors of his time. His last film was The Quick and the Dead (1995) with Gene Hackman and Sharon Stone, was released after his death. Black Rodeo is a 1972 documentary by filmmaker Jeff Kanew that captured the events surrounding the first-time performance of an all African-American rodeo in Harlem, New York City. The documentary depicts that the people who attended the rodeo were awed to find African-American men and women actively involved in skills like bronc riding, calf roping and brahma bull riding. Actor Woody Strode attended the rodeo and appears in the film as its narrator. He imparts a number of stories that show the participation of blacks in the development of the American Old West. Strode’s first wife was Princess Luukialuana Kalaeloa (aka Luana Strode), a descendant of Liliuokalani, (the last queen of Hawaii). They were married until her death in 1980 (almost forty years). In 1982, he wed Tina Tompson, and they remained married until his death December 31, 1994. Strode was a dedicated martial artist under the direction of Frank Landers in the art of SeishinDo Kenpo.

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