04 April 1899
United States of America
24 July 1934|
Los Angeles, California,
United States of America
(homicide: stabbed with knife, age 35)
Black American actor, acrobat, stuntman, comedian for Larry Semon. He was often referred to as Snowball and/or G. Howe Black in Vitagraph and Semon productions. He was also an award-winning artist and wood carver.|
There is some question about his birth date. The (June) 1900 Census gives his birth as "January 1898" which would make him 2 years old in June 1900 - but his "age" is given as "1 year old" which would make his birth year as 1899. His WWI Draft Card says he was born "April 4, 1899" and his Death Certificate says he was born "April 4, 1900".
Curiously, his Death Certificate says he had been working as a "bootblack" for the past year yet Harry Levette, the prolific sports and entertainment writer for "The California Eagle" talked to Curtis 30 minutes before he was killed in a horrific knife fight said Curtis told him he had worked at the Roach Studio on the prior Saturday.
For a long time he has been misidentified elsewhere as Spencer Bell.
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography;
plus all films with Babe Hardy.
Acknowledgements & sources:
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MS5Z-J95 (1900 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPY4-32L (1910 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZVD-XVV (WWI draft reg. card)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCRG-H44 (1920 Census) [?]
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKS9-HTCY (CA Death Index)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9SV-CG6S (death certificate)
https://archive.org/stream/la_caleagle_reel9#page/n26/mode/1up/search/mchenry (California Eagle, 25 Nov 1927)
https://archive.org/stream/la_caleagle_reel15#page/n19/mode/1up/search/mchenry (California Eagle, 20 Jul 1934)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/380336566/ (Los Angeles Times, 25 Jul 1934)
https://archive.org/stream/la_caleagle_reel15#page/n27/mode/1up/search/mchenry (California Eagle, 27 Jul 1934)
https://archive.org/stream/la_caleagle_reel15#page/n37/mode/1up/search/mchenry (California Eagle, 27 Jul 1934)
https://archive.org/stream/la_caleagle_reel18#page/n170/mode/1up/search/mchenry (California Eagle, 02 Jul 1937)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9SV-CG6S?i=1683 (1934 Jul 24 Death Certificate)
Steve Rydzewski (original source of identification, and assistance)
Jesse Brisson (research and dates)
Tommie Hicks (help and information)
Jim Jarvis (additional information)
This page was last updated on: 11 July 2020