Obscure Black C-Lister: Hawthorne James
By the time I really looked at Hawthorne James in his role as the bus driver in Speed, he already had over twenty credits to his name. His hair became my brother’s favorite insult for when I’d go to bed without a scarf on and I’d wake up with a poufy laid back mushroom – I really wish I could find a picture of it. Soon after he was on one of my favorite episodes of Martin, where he played Brother Claus, who came to bomb the tv station on Christmas and stuck a stick of dynamite in Pam’s french-roll/pump combo. Hilarious. He was also Big Red Davis in The Five Heartbeats and One Eyed Sam in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (“You were in the Secretary Corps too? Then how’d you lose your eye?” “Man, these fools were shootin’ paper clips and hit me in the damn eye!”). I wish I could find more information on him, but since James Hawthorne is a pretty common name the search has just been too tiring. I will tell you this – a male friend of mine was forced to re-evaluate his life after Hawthorne James made a winky-wink sex face at him at The Archlight movie theater in Hollywood one day. He was riding past on bicycle and wearing some little plaid shorts. And I know it was no case of mistaken identity because you just can’t miss anyone so big and red. I still say that along with Reynaldo Rey, he puts the “red” in “red carpet” for black Hollywood c-listers!