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Tim Moore
"George 'Kingfish' Stevens"

 Tim Moore - George "Kingfish" Stevens

Born Harry Roscoe "Tim" Moore in Rock Island, Illinois on December 9, 1887, the son of Harry and Cynthia Moore.

Although Tim Moore will forever be known as "The Kingfish" in the pioneering series "The Amos 'n Andy Show" (1951), he was actually far better known for his career on the stage and as a comedian in vaudeville than he was for his film and television work. In fact, he had only made (as far as is known) three films before "Amos 'n' Andy", and he had to be coaxed out of retirement to join a TV show.


Tim Moore in The Amos 'N' Andy Show

Moore was born into a family of 15 children in Illinois. He left school at age 11 to join a traveling vaudeville act called "Cora Miskel and Her Gold Dust Twins", which was such a hit in the U.S. that it toured Europe. 

Shortly after his return from Europe, Moore quit the stage and became a jockey. After that he became a prizefighter. He began as a featherweight under the name of Kid Noble and finished his boxing career in the middleweight division. His best fights were in the lightweight division against Young Klondike, whom he defeated in 12 rounds, and against Jimmy Shannon, to whom he lost in 27 rounds at Muscatine, Iowa in 1908.

In 1908, Time Moore returned to the stage and created a sensation doing a one-man edition of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." With one-half of his face in white chalk and the other half in burnt cork, Moore turned the white side of his face to the audience when he spoke the lines of Simon Legree, and turned the other side when he spoke as Uncle Tom. 

Moore created a vaudeville act with his first wife, Hester Moore. The two proved so successful that they toured Japan, Australia, China, New Zealand, Hawaii and the Fiji Islands. Then followed some more vaudeville dates with his second wife, Gertie Moore, until he produced Time Moore's Chicago Follies, a black musical which played the T.O.B.A. circuit from 1921 to 1925. The Theater Owners Booking Association, or T.O.B.A., was the vaudeville circuit for African American performers in the 1920s and 1930s.

Tim Moore had a long and successful career in vaudeville and a successful run on Broadway in "Blackbirds" in 1928. In 1932 he was featured with Mantan Moreland in "Harlem Scandals" and "Blackberries." Once the "Amos 'n' Andy" TV series became a major hit it made Moore--or rather, "The Kingfish"--a household word. 

Tim Moore at age 70 with his 40-year-old wife Vivian Moore
Tim Moore at age 70 with his 40-year-old wife Vivian Moore

After the show's run he retired from show business again, except for an occasional appearance on TV talk shows to reminisce about the series. In 1958 he was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon after firing a handgun in the direction of his wife. Moore was outraged after he discovered that his visiting in-laws had eaten some leftover roast beef he was saving. Tim and his wife reconciled, and Vivian asked for the charges to be dropped. Moore received a $100 fine and a year's probation as his sentence. The "Roast Beef Scandal" brought him a few more guest appearances on TV, like Jack Paar's Tonight Show and an engagement at LA's famous Mocambo nightclub, but Tim Moore would not live long enough to complete his probation. He died penniless at age 71 of tuberculosis in 1958.

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