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Herb Jeffries: multitalented actor embraced Westerns as well as jazz singing.

A pioneer in African-American-targeted Western movies and jazz singer known as the "Bronze Buckaroo" died of heart failure May 18 in West Hills, Calif. He was 100.

The multitalented Jeffries embraced his mixed heritage--he was of Irish, Ethiopian, Sicilian, French, Moorish and Italian descent--and appeared in his first film in 1937. The movie, "Harlem of the Prairie," was targeted to black audiences, and jump-started the career for the blue-eyed actor.

In 1939, he appeared in "The Bronze Buckaroo," cementing his reputation as the African-American Gene Autry. He would become a go-to singing cowboy in Hollywood, the good guy riding in on a white horse named Stardust.

Later he starred opposite Angie Dickinson in the musical romance "Calypso Joe" (1957).

The actor also appeared on television, guesting on series including "The Virginian" and "Hawaii Five-O" and contributing one of the voices to the brief Hanna-Barbera cartoon series "Where's Huddles?" in 1970.

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Title Annotation:REMEMBERED
Publication:Variety
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jun 3, 2014
Words:150
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