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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


An African American motion-picture actor known for his comedic characterizations, Dudley Henry Dickerson, Jr., was born in Chickasha, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory (present Grady County, Oklahoma), on November 27, 1906, to Cora R. and Dudley H. Dickerson, Sr. The senior Dickerson, a Texan, was a railroad porter with a family of six children, four of whom were born in the Chickasaw Nation. Dudley Dickerson, Jr., attended school in Chickasha and finished high school there. He moved to California soon afterward.

Dickerson's movie career began in 1932 in an uncredited role, but by 1936 he received billing, most notably in The Green Pastures, a well-regarded feature with a cast comprising entirely African Americans, and in Spooky Hooky, an Our Gang comedy. Like other African American actors of the day, he was relegated to stereotyped roles of menials. Dickerson usually played a railroad train porter, a janitor, or a waiter who is easily (and often) scared out of his wits by something. He was regularly featured in Three Stooges movies from 1940 to 1956. His other credits include well-loved films such as the Marx Brothers' A Day at the Races (1937); Knute Rockne, All American (1940); The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942); It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947); and The Opposite Sex (1956), all of which remain a staple on the television movie networks. He also worked in films starring the teams of Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello. In 1937 he appeared with fellow Oklahoman Glenda Farrell in The Adventurous Blonde, in the Torchy Blaine series. In the 1950s also Dickerson worked in television, including eight episodes of the Amos & Andy series.

Dudley Dickerson stopped performing in 1959 and remained in California. He died in Los Angeles on September 23, 1968, and was buried there.

Dianna Everett


"Dudley Dickerson," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Loretta Jackson, "Dudley Dickerson: A Reminiscence," Oklahoma @ The Movies, comp. Larry O'Dell (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Historical Society, 2012).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dianna Everett, “Dickerson, Dudley Henry, Jr.,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=DI012.

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