Woodrow Wilson Woolwine Strode (July 25, 1914 – December 31, 1994) was an American athlete and actor. He also served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a decathlete and football star who was one of the first Black American players in the National Football League in the postwar era.
After football, Strode went on to become a film actor, starting off in uncredited roles such as Henry Hathaway’s Sundown (1941), with Gene Tierney, Bruce Cabot, and George Sanders; and Mitchell Leisen’s No Time for Love (1943), with Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. His first credited role was in Ford Beebe’s The Lion Hunters (1951), with Johnny Sheffield.
Other films in the early 1950s include Bride of the Gorilla (1951), with Barbara Payton, Lon Chaney Jr., Raymond Burr, and Tom Conway; Edward Ludwig’s Caribbean Gold (1952), with John Payne, Arlene Dahl, and Cedric Hardwicke; Androcles and the Lion (1952), with Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, and Alan Young; Budd Boetticher’s City Beneath the Sea (1953), with Robert Ryan, Mala Powers, Anthony Quinn and Suzan Ball; an uncredited role in Delmar Daves’ Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954), with Mature, Susan Hayward, Michael Rennie, William Marshall, Debra Paget, Anne Bancroft, Jay Robinson, Ernest Borgnine, Barry Jones, and Richard Egan; Henry Levin’s The Gambler from Natchez (1954), with Dale Robertson, Paget, Thomas Gomez, Lisa Daniels, Kevin McCarthy, and Douglas Dick; and an uncredited role in Victor Saville’s The Silver Chalice (1954), with Virginia Mayo, Pier Angeli, Jack Palance, Paul Newman, and Natalie Wood.
Films in the mid to late 1950s include Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956), with Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Paget, John Derek, Hardwicke, Nina Foch, Martha Scott, Judith Anderson, Vincent Price, and John Carradine; H. Bruce Humberstone’s Tarzan’s Fight for Life (1958), with Gordon Scott, Eve Brent, Rickie Sorensen, and Jil Jarmyn; The Buccaneer (1958), with Brynner, Charles Boyer, Claire Bloom, Heston, Inger Stevens, Henry Hull, and E.G. Marshall; and Lewis Milestone’s Pork Chop Hill (1959), with Gregory Peck, Rip Torn, Harry Guardino, Robert Blake, George Peppard, Norman Fell, Abel Fernandez, Gavin MacLeod, Harry Dean Stanton, Clarence Williams III, Martin Landau, and George Shibata.
Strode was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus (1960), with Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, John Gavin, and Tony Curtis. Other films in the early 1960s include Andrew L. Stone’s The Last Voyage (1960), with Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone, George Sanders, and Edmond O’Brien; John Ford’s Sergeant Rutledge (1960), with Jeffrey Hunter, Constance Towers, Billie Burke, Juano Hernandez, and Willis Bouchey; Gordon Douglas’ The Sins of Rachel Cade (1961), with Angie Dickinson, Peter Finch, and Roger Moore; Two Rode Together (1961), with James Stewart, Richard Widmark, Shirley Jones, Linda Cristal, Andy Devine, and John McIntire; The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), with John Wayne, Stewart, Lee Marvin, and Vera Miles; and Robert Day’s Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963), with Jack Mahoney.
Films in the mid to late 1960s include Genghis Kahn (1965), with Omar Sharif, James Mason, Stephen Boyd, Eli Wallach, Françoise Dorléac and Telly Savalas; 7 Women (1966), with Bancroft, Sue Lyon, Margaret Leighton, Flora Robson, Mildred Dunnock, Betty Field, Anna Lee, Eddie Albert, and Mike Mazurki; Richard Brooks’ The Professionals (1966), with Burt Lancaster, Marvin, Robert Ryan, Claudia Cardinale, Palance, and Ralph Bellamy; Edward Dmytryk’s Shalako (1968), with Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot, Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Peter van Eyck, Honor Blackman, Eric Sykes, Alexander Knox, and Valerie French; Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), with Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, Gabriele Ferzetti, Jack Elam, Lionel Stander, Paolo Stoppa, Frank Wolff, and Keenan Wynn; Richard Fleischer’s Che! (1969), with Sharif, Palance, Cesare Danova, Robert Loggia, and Barbara Luna; Giuseppe Colizzi’s Boot Hill (1969), with Terence Hill, Bud Spencer, Victor Buono, and George Eastman.
Films in the early 1970s include Enzo Barboni’s Chuck Moll (1970), with Leonard Mann, Peter Martell, and Helmuth Schneider; Burt Kennedy’s The Deserter (1971), with Bekim Fehmiu, John Huston, Richard Crenna, Chuck Connors, Ricardo Montalbán, Ian Bannen, and Brandon deWilde; The Gatling Gun (1971), with Guy Stockwell, Robert Fuller, Patrick Wayne, Pat Buttram, and Carlos Rivas; Luigi Magni’s Scipio the African (1971), with Marcello Mastroianni, Silvana Mangano, and Vittorio Gassman; Daniel Mann’s The Revengers (1972), with William Holden, Borgnine, Roger Hanin, and Susan Hayward; and Fernando Di Leo’s The Italian Connection (1972), with Mario Adorf, Henry Silva, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Sylva Koscina, and Cyril Cusack.
Films in the mid to late 1970s include Loaded Guns (1975), with Ursula Andress, Marc Porel, and Isabella Biagini; Gianfranco Parolini’s We Are No Angels (1975), with Michael Coby, Paul L. Smith, and John Ireland; Winterhawk (1975), with Leif Erickson, Denver Pyle, L.Q. Jones, Elisha Cook Jr., Seamon Glass, Dennis Fimple, Arthur Hunnicutt, Dawn Wells, and Michael Dante; Enzo G. Castellari’s Keoma (1976), with Franco Nero, William Berger, and Olga Karlatos; Oil! (1977), with Stuart Whitman, Ray Milland, and Gheorghe Dinică; Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), with William Shatner, Tiffany Bolling, Lieux Dressler, and Altovise Davis; Ravagers (1979), with Richard Harris, Borgnine, Ann Turkel, Art Carney, and Seymour Cassel; and Jaguar Lives! (1979), with Christopher Lee, Donald Pleasence, Barbara Bach, Capucine, and Joe Lewis.
Films in the 1980s include Cuba Crossing (1980), with Whitman, Robert Vaughn, Albert Salmi, Sybil Danning, Michael Gazzo; Angkor: Cambodia Express (1982), with Robert Walker Jr., Christopher George, Nancy Kwan, and Sorapong Chatree; Invaders of the Lost Gold (1982), with Whitman, Edmund Purdom, Harold Sakata, Laura Gemser, and Glynis Barber; William Lustig’s Vigilante (1983), with Robert Forster, Fred Williamson, Richard Bright, Rutanya Alda, Willie Colón, Joe Spinell, and Carol Lynley; The Black Stallion Returns (1983), with Kelly Reno, Vincent Spano, Teri Garr, Allen Garfield, and Ferdy Mayne; and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club (1984), with Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, and Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Garfield, Gwen Verdon, Fred Gwynne, Laurence Fishburne, Joe Dallesandro, and Tom Waits.
Later films include Paul Bartel’s Lust in the Dust (1985), with Tab Hunter, Divine, Lainie Kazan, Cesar Romero, Geoffrey Lewis, and Silva; Mark Frost’s Storyville (1992), with James Spader, Joanne Whalley, Jason Robards, Charlotte Lewis, Michael Warren, Piper Laurie, and Michael Parks; Posse (1993), with Mario Van Peebles (who also directed), Stephen Baldwin, Billy Zane, Tone-Lōc, Melvin Van Peebles, Tiny Lister, Big Daddy Kane, Reginald VelJohnson, Blair Underwood, Isaac Hayes, Charles Lane, Pam Grier, and Nipsey Russell; and Sam Raimi’s The Quick and the Dead (1995), with Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Roberts Blossom, Kevin Conway, Lance Henriksen, Pat Hingle, Gary Sinise, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
TV movies include Breakout (1970), with James Drury, Red Buttons, and Kathryn Hays; Key West (1973), with Stephen Boyd and Tiffany Bolling; The Quest: The Longest Drive (1976), with Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson; Martinelli, Outside Man (1977), with Ron Leibman, Nicholas Colasanto, and Pat Corley; On Fire (1987), with John Forsythe and Carroll Baker; and Volker Schlöndorff’s A Gathering of Old Men (1987), with Louis Gossett Jr., Holly Hunter, Richard Widmark, Joe Seneca, and Will Patton.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Sundown (1941) – directed by Henry Hathaway – uncredited
- Star Spangled Rhythm (1942) – directed by George Marshall – uncredited
- No Time for Love (1943) – directed by Mitchell Leisen – uncredited
- The Lion Hunters (1951) – directed by Ford Beebe
- Bride of the Gorilla (1951) – directed by Curt Siodmak
- African Treasure (1952) – directed by Ford Beebe – uncredited
- Caribbean Gold (1952) – directed by Edward Ludwig
- Androcles and the Lion (1952) – directed by Chester Erskine & Nicholas Ray (uncredited)
- City Beneath the Sea (1953) – directed by Budd Boetticher
- The Royal African Rifles (1953) – directed by Lesley Selander
- Jungle Man-Eaters (1954) – directed by Lee Sholem – uncredited
- Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) – directed by Delmer Daves – uncredited
- The Gambler from Natchez (1954) – directed by Henry Levin
- Jungle Gents (1954) – directed by Edward Bernds – uncredited
- The Silver Chalice (1954) – directed by Victor Saville – uncredited
- Son of Sinbad (1955) – directed by Ted Tetzlaff – uncredited
- Buruuba (1955) – directed by Shigeyoshi Suzuki
- The Ten Commandments (1956) – directed by Cecil B. DeMille
- Tarzan’s Fight for Life (1958) – directed by H. Bruce Humberstone
- The Buccaneer (1958) – directed by Anthony Quinn
- Pork Chop Hill (1959) – directed by Lewis Milestone
- The Last Voyage (1960) – directed by Andrew L. Stone
- Sergeant Rutledge (1960) – directed by John Ford
- Spartacus (1960) – directed by Stanley Kubrick
- The Sins of Rachel Cade (1961) – directed by Gordon Douglas
- Two Rode Together (1961) – directed by John Ford
- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) – directed by John Ford
- Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963) – directed by Robert Day
- Genghis Khan (1965) – directed by Henry Levin
- 7 Women (1966) – directed by John Ford
- The Professionals (1966) – directed by Richard Brooks
- Black Jesus (1968) – directed by Valerio Zurlini
- Shalako (1968) – directed by Edward Dmytryk
- Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) – directed by Sergio Leone
- Che! (1969) – directed by Richard Fleischer
- Boot Hill (1969) – directed by Giuseppe Colizzi
- Chuck Moll (1970) – directed by Enzo Barboni
- Breakout (1970) – directed by Richard Irving – TV movie
- The Deserter (1971) – directed by Burt Kennedy
- The Gatling Gun (1971) – director Robert Gordon
- Scipio the African (1971) – directed by Luigi Magni
- The Last Rebel (1971) – directed by Larry G. Spangler (as Denys McCoy)
- Black Rodeo (1972) – directed by Jeff Kanew – narrator – documentary
- The Revengers (1972) – directed by Daniel Mann
- The Italian Connection (1972) – directed by Fernando Di Leo
- Key West (1973) – directed by Philip Leacock – TV movie
- Loaded Guns (1975) – directed by Fernando di Leo
- We Are No Angels (1975) – directed by Gianfranco Parolini
- Winterhawk (1975) – directed by Charles B. Pierce
- Keoma (1976) – directed by Enzo G. Castellari
- The Quest: The Longest Drive (1976) – directed by Bernard McEveety – TV movie
- Oil! (1977) – directed by Mircea Drăgan
- Martinelli, Outside Man (1977) – directed by Russ Mayberry – TV movie
- Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) – directed by John “Bud” Cardos
- Cowboy-San! (1978) – directed by Susan Oliver – short
- Ravagers (1979) – directed by Richard Compton
- Jaguar Lives! (1979) – directed by Ernest Pintoff
- Cuba Crossing (1980) – directed by Chuck Workman
- Scream (1981) – directed by Byron Quisenberry
- Vigilante (1982) – directed by William Lustig
- Angkor: Cambodia Express (1982) – directed by Lek Kitiparaporn
- Invaders of the Lost Gold (1982) – directed by Alan Birkinshaw
- The Black Stallion Returns (1983) – directed by Robert Dalva
- The Violent Breed (1984) – directed by Fernando Di Leo
- The Final Executioner (1984) – directed by Romolo Guerrieri
- Jungle Warriors (1984) – directed by Ernst R. von Theumer
- The Cotton Club (1984) – directed by Francis Ford Coppola
- Lust in the Dust (1985) – directed by Paul Bartel
- On Fire (1987) – directed by Robert Greenwald – TV movie
- A Gathering of Old Men (1987) – directed by Volker Schlöndorff – TV movie
- The Bronx Executioner (1989) – directed by Vanio Amici – archive footage
- Storyville (1992) – directed by Mark Frost
- Posse (1993) – directed by Mario Van Peebles
- The Quick and the Dead (1995) – directed by Sam Raimi – posthumous release