Rupert Crosse (November 29, 1927 – March 5, 1973) was an American television and film actor noted as the first African American to receive a nomination for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award — for his role in the 1969 adaptation of William Faulkner’s The Reivers.
Born in New York City, Crosse was raised by his grandparents in Nevis after the death of his father. He returned to the United States to serve in the Army for two years before entering Bloomfield College. Crosse later worked at Brooklyn College as a counselor.
In 1970, Crosse married singer Chris Calloway, daughter of Cab Calloway. They had one son, Rupert Osaze Dia Crosse, who was nine months old at the time of Crosse’s death. Their son died in 2002 from a heart condition brought on by prior drug abuse. Calloway died of breast cancer in August 2008.
Crosse died March 5, 1973, of lung cancer in Nevis.
After studying acting under John Cassavetes, Crosse appeared in two of Cassavetes’ films: Shadows (for which he won a Venice Film Festival Award) and Too Late Blues (1962).
A life member of The Actors Studio, Crosse made numerous guest appearances on television in the decade prior to landing the role of Ned McCaslin in the 1969 film The Reivers, directed by and starring fellow Studio members Mark Rydell and Steve McQueen, respectively. His last onscreen role was in the sitcom The Partners, alongside Don Adams. Shortly before his death, Crosse was cast as Mulhall in The Last Detail (1973), withdrawing from the role after learning he suffered from terminal cancer.
|1959||Johnny Staccato||Redtop||Episode: “Collector’s Item”|
|1961||Rawhide||A Trooper||Episode: “Incident of the Buffalo Soldier”|
|1961||Have Gun – Will Travel||Aaron Jedediah Gibbs||Episode: “The Hanging of Aaron Gibbs”|
|1961||Too Late Blues||Baby Jackson|
|1962||The Dick Powell Show||Episode: “Borderline”|
|1963||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Dr. Paul Mackey||Episode: “Diagnosis: Danger”|
|1963||Twilight of Honor||Jailer’s assistant||Uncredited|
|1963||The Great Adventure||William Still||Episode: “Go Down, Moses”|
|1963–1964||Ben Casey||George||2 episodes|
|1964||The Best Man||Reporter||Uncredited|
|1964–1966||The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||General Molte Nobuk
|1965||Wild Seed||Hobo||Alternative title: Fargo|
|1965||The Wackiest Ship in the Army||Episode: “The Lady and the Luluai”|
|1966||Dr. Kildare||George Parker||2 episodes|
|1966||That Girl||Police officer||Episode: “I’ll Be Suing You”|
|1966||Daktari||Kukuia||Episode: “The Test”|
|1966||Ride in the Whirlwind||Indian Joe|
|1966||Run for Your Life||Hotel Clerk||Episode: “The Treasure Seekers”|
|1966||The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.||Tchelba||Episode: “The Jewels of Topango Affair”|
|1967||CBS Playhouse||Funeral director||Episode: “The Final War of Olly Winter”|
|1967||I Spy||Chester||Episode: “Cops and Robbers”|
|1967||Cowboy in Africa||Jama||Episode: “Incident at Derati Wells”|
|1967||The Monkees||Thursday||Episode: “Monkees Marooned”|
|1968||Felony Squad||Ray Hawkins||2 episodes|
|1969||The Reivers||Ned McCaslin||Nominated: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1970||Bonanza||Davis||Episode: “The Power of Life and Death”|
|1970||Storefront Lawyers||Johnson||Episode: “The Emancipation of Bessie Gray”|
|1970||The Bill Cosby Show||Felix E. LeBlanc||Episode: “The Lincoln Letter”|
|1970||Bracken’s World||Freddy Webster, Sr.||Episode: “Will Freddy’s Real Father Please Stand Up?”|
|1971||Confessions of a Top Crime Buster||Detective George Robinson||Television movie|
|1971–1972||The Partners||Detective George Robinson||20 episodes, (final appearance)|