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