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Arthur French is best known for his work as both a Broadway Actor and producer. With a career spanning over fifty years, French has been in several Broadway productions such as The Trip to Bountiful, Dividing the Estate, Mule Bone, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Design for Living, You Can’t Take it With You, Death of a Salesman, The Iceman Cometh, The River Niger, Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death and All God’s Chillun Got Wings.

Born and raised in New York, French began his career in community theater. It wasn’t long before he was also performing in street plays in Harlem for Amiri Baraka’s Black Arts Repertory Theater. In 1967 French was one of the founding members of the Negro Ensemble Company. His career however, was not limited to theater. He also has appeared in such notable films as “Malcolm X”, “Crooklyn”, “Car Wash”, “Round Midnight”and “Kinsey”, and on television programs such as “Law and Order”.

In light of his contributions to theatre, Actor’s Equity Association has named him the 2015 recipient of the Paul Robeson Citation award.

French joins other notable recipients of the award such as Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou and Sidney Poitier, among others. According to the website,

Created in 1971, the award honors individuals or organizations that best exemplify and practice the principles to which Mr. Robeson devoted his life:  dedication to the universal brotherhood of all humankind, commitment to the freedom of conscience and of expression, belief in the artist’s responsibility to society, respect for the dignity of the individual and concern for and service to all humans of any race or nationality.

Actors’ Equity Association is the U.S. labor union that represents more than 50,000 Actors and Stage Managers. Equity seeks to foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of society and advances the careers of its members by negotiating wages, working conditions and providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans.  Actor’s Equity Association has committed to “…present annual citations to the individual or organization that, during the preceding year or years, best exemplified and practiced the principles and ideals of the great humanitarian, Paul Robeson.”

French will be presented with the award at 2:00 pm on Friday, October 16, 2015 at the Eastern Regional Membership Meeting of Actors’ Equity Association.  We are thrilled to express our appreciation to Arthur French for his contribution to Black Broadway and our congratulations on receiving this well deserved award!

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