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|Wilson in Casablanca (1942)|
(1886-04-03)April 3, 1886
Tyler, Texas, U.S.
|Deceased||May 30, 1953(1953-05-30)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Wife/Husband||Estelle Wilson (?-1953; his death)|
Arthur Dooley Wilson (Tyler, Texas, April 3, 1886 – Los Angeles, May 30, 1953) was an American actor and singer. His most famous role is undoubtedly the interpretation of pianist Sam in Casablanca.
The exact year of birth of Dooley Wilson is unknown, although it is supposed to have been between 1884 and 1887. He worked in the theater in Chicago and New York for most of the period between 1908 and 1930, although in the decade of the 1920s played as a drummer in a band that toured Europe. Between the 1930s and the 1950s he worked in films and also in Broadway musical plays, in addition to playing the role of Bill Jackson in the sitcom for television Beulah, in his last season (1952 – 1953).
He received the alias of “Dooley” while working at the Pekin variety theater in Chicago, around 1908, because he played the Irish song “Mr. Dooley”, for whose performance he painted his face in white.
His Broadway theatrical debut was in the role of Little Joe, the stereotype of a rogue, lazy black, in the musical Cabin in the Sky in the 1940-1941 season. This role allowed him to sign with the Hollywood producer Paramount, which gave his rights to Warner Bros. so he could play the role of Sam in Casablanca.
He played Pompey (Pompey), a fugitive slave in the musical Bloomer Girl (Blooming Girl) in the 1946-1948 seasons. His interpretation of the song “The Eagle and Me” in this show was selected by Dwight Blocker Bowers to be included in a collection of recordings of the Smithsonian entitled American Musical Theater.
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