Jester Hairston

Composer, songwriter, conductor, singer and actor, educated at Tufts University, Juilliard, and the University of the Pacific (hon. Mus. D.). He acted on radio and television besides on film, and played Leroy on the “Amos ‘n Andy” radio series for fifteen years. He directed the Federal Theatre Project, and was assistant conductor of the ‘Hall Johnson Choir’ in New York for fifteen years and trained choirs for radio and Broadway musicals. Coming to Hollywood in 1936, he sang and appeared with the Hall Johnson Choir in the film The Green Pastures (1936). Organizing his own choir in 1943, he arranged and conducted film background music and conducted choral groups in colleges and high schools, touring Europe for the State Department in 1961. Joining ASCAP in 1956, his popular-song compositions include “Mary’s Boy Child,” “Poor Man Lazarus,” and many Gospel songs including “In Dat Great Gittin’ Up Mornin’,” “Amen,” and “Gossip, Gossip.”

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