Pioneering actor/singer HERB JEFFRIES has died at the age of 100. Jeffries died from heart failure at West Hills Hospital & Medical Center in California on Sunday (25May14), biographer Raymond Strait confirmed to the Los Angeles Times.
Born Umberto Valentino, Jeffries starred in five Westerns in the 1930s featuring all-black casts including Harlem on the Prairie, Rhythm Rodeo and The Bronze Buckaroo.
He later played the title character in 1957 film Calypso Joe, opposite Angie Dickinson. He was also a successful singer, touring with Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and later joining Duke Ellington’s band and performing at the iconic bandleader’s Jump For Joy revue in Los Angeles in 1941.
As an actor, Jeffries also made a number of guest appearances in popular 1960s TV shows including I Dream of Jeannie, Hawaii Five-O, The Name of the Game and The Virginian.