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D’Urville Martin was an actor, director and producer who was considered one of the hardest working men during the Blaxploitation film era.

D’Urville was born on February 11, 1939 in New York City. He first began acting in the mid 1960’s. His first film was Black Like Me. He landed a TV role as Lionel Jefferson in the first two episodes of the television series, The Jeffersons in 1975, before the role was re-cast with actor Mike Evans.

He went on to become a prominent figure in Blaxploitation films. D’Urville acted in several movies with legendary Blaxploitation icon Fred “The Hammer” Williamson. He was especially memorable as Williamson’s reluctant partner Toby in the Nigger Charley pictures.

He played the old childhood friend Reverend Rufus in Black Caesar and Hell Up in Harlem. D’Urville popped up in two flicks by director William Girdler, playing the villainous pilot in Sheba Baby and a flamboyant pimp in The Zebra Killer.

Martin directed the Rudy Ray Moore comedy Dolemite where he also plays Willie Green, and directed and produced Disco 9000. D’Urville was the associate producer on the film The Final Comedown (aka Blast).

He appeared in guest roles on Dr. Kildare, Daniel Boone, The Monkeys, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Invaders, All in the Family, Love, American Style, and Ironside.

D’Urville Martin led a hard partying lifestyle, which directly caused his unfortunate and untimely death from a heart attack at age 45 on May 28, 1984.

Sources: Wikipedia, Ask.com, IMDB and Carol Speed Wed Den

6 Comments

  • January 31, 2011

    This is such a nice page on Mr. Martin, I had the honor of meeting Mr. Martin as a huge fan and then became a good friend… Mr. Martin opened the doors for Black Actors in Hollywood… So much talent, Mr. Martin was very sweet to his fans and give execellent performance everytime the filming crew said “Ligths, Camera, Action”… RIP Mr. Martin and thank you for opening the doors to Black Hollywood…

    De De Tillman
    Actress /Scriptwriter/ Celebrity blogger
    Fan/Friend

  • Kevin
    August 6, 2019

    I was wondering if there was a book out on the actors from the 70s such as Mr. Martin…I would love to read about all the stories of that time.
    .

  • Allison Scott
    June 15, 2020

    He and his wife Lillian were friends with my mother Pat Fagin Scott father Tom Scott in New York and my daddy moved to Los Angeles. His work was inspiring for daddy’s moving forward in his career. He was a founder for African American men at the time

  • Donald McLeod Keefer
    June 15, 2020

    I also knew D’Urville through my actor parents: He was a member of their small but influential theater group Theater West, where he put in a tour de force performance as the villainous “Purple Tooth” in a children’s play (“The Clowns”)written by my mother, the late actress Catherine McLeod. (Other notable members of Theater West included Martin Landau, his then-wife Barbara Bain, and Dayan Canon).A frequent guest at our Sherman Oaks home, he had a very high “Fun Quotient”, was funny and fun-loving, and just generally a blast (joy) to be around. He also was a stand-up guy — a hero who risked his own life to save mine (I was about 14 at the time) when I almost went over a ten foot waterfall, ‘Perils of Pauline’ style, while racing him downstream in the Waimea River in Hawaii. It’s good to see him getting real recognition now for his trailblazing career and work, most recently in Eddie Murphy’s ‘My Name Is Dolomite’. One very talented and charismatic cat, now (still) very much missed.

  • John Wakefield
    July 15, 2020

    I get here via James’ comment about his role in .. you know .. as Frankie .. it is on page 92 of The Devil Finds Work .. a good depth charge of a read during these tumultuous, ubiquitous/ubiquitously tumultuous times ..

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