ARE YOU LOOKING TO BUY MOVIE POSTERS OR RELATED ITEMS? We are the world's leading auctioneer of movie posters and related items. You are currently on one of our non-auction pages. We hold 4,000 to 5,000 auctions every FOUR WEEKS. To learn more about our auctions, click here. To register to bid on our auctions, click here.


In the past 32 years, we have auctioned MORE movie paper for MORE money than ANY other auction company, period!

EVERY item we auction starts at $1, with NO reserve, and NO buyers premium, and EVERY item is honestly described, with an unenhanced super-sized image!

We charge consignors the lowest rates of ANY major auction, and we have held over 1,834,000 online auctions!

Go to our current auctions in our Auction Galleries, and you will quickly see why we are the most trusted auction site! was founded in 1999 as the first all-movie poster auction website. We have auctioned well over 1.8 MILLION posters (movie and NON-movie), lobby cards, stills and related items through our auctions since 1999, surely the most of any online auction! - The most trusted vintage original movie poster site & the only major online auction with no buyers premiums!

Against the Grain: Black Film Pioneers: Part XI: Woody Strode

Return to Against the Grain Archive
Added: 11/18/2013

NOTE: When available, the images in the article below link to a larger version of the image. Some of these images were supplied by the author, some come from the the Hershenson/Allen Archive, and some come from's Auction History.

"Woodrow Wilson Woolwine "Woody" Strode was one of the most impressive actor-athletes in American film history. A native Angelino, this remarkable man became a world class decathlete specializing in the shot put and the high jump. He became a center of controversy when a picture of him became part of a controversial exhibition at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Because the Nazis objected to the depiction of black and Jewish athletes, it was removed.

Strode, along with two other elite athletes, Kenny Washington and Jackie Robinson, became the first completely African-American starting backfield in the NCAA when they played for UCLA in 1939, an era when there were only a handful of black college footballers.

While Robinson went on to break the color line in baseball in 1946, Strode (after serving in the Air Corps in Guam during the War) and Washington did the same in breaking the color line in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams.

In 1947 Woody played for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL, and when the team won the Grey Cup championship for the first time in its history, he celebrated by riding a horse through the lobby of the Royal York Hotel.

Strode initially entered professional wrestling in 1941 and returned to the sport when shoulder injuries forced him out of football in 1949. He toured with three other wrestlers: Baron Leone, Chief Little Wolf, and Woody's very good friend, the legendary Gorgeous George. When wrestling, Woody played the part of a clean-cut, good guy. He continued to compete until 1962 when he became both the Pacific Coast Heavyweight Wresting Champion and the Pacific Coast Negro Heavyweight Wresting Champion.

Strode entered acting in 1941, making his screen debut in SUNDOWN and continued to work well into the 1990s. (Some sources list him as an extra in STAGECOACH in 1939 although that seems unlikely). Most of his parts he was given in his early apprenticeship were one-dimensional natives in Bomba, Tarzan, Ramar, and Jungle Jim type programmers. However, he eventually gained experience and graduated into more complex parts, gaining kudos as the cowardly soldier in Lewis Milestone's PORK CHOP HILL and a Golden Globe nomination for Kubrick's SPARTACUS.

Strode struck up a friendship with legendary director John Ford, who gave him his first starring role as cavalryman SERGEANT RUTLEDGE, who is falsely accused of rape and murder. Ford had previously befriended two USC footballers, John Wayne and Ward Bond, and helped facilitate their careers. The director was convinced that Strode possessed the potential to become the first African-American to win a Best Actor award and worked with him to perfect his dramatic courtroom scene. Although Strode wasn't even nominated, in just three years Sidney Poitier would make the Oscar breakthrough.

Strode appeared in three more Ford films, TWO RODE TOGETHER, SEVEN WOMEN, and the critically acclaimed THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE.

Strode was forever grateful for the director's help and friendship. During Ford's last months, Woody slept on his mentor's bedroom floor, serving as his primary caregiver and was present at Ford's deathbed when the director passed on.

Many films benefited from the actor's iconic presence including Richard Brooks' THE PROFESSIONALS (1966) and Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968) among other spaghetti westerns.

His last film was THE QUICK AND THE DEAD (1995).

Woody passed away on New Year's Eve 1994 from lung cancer at age 80. Strode's children Woodrow Jr. and Pamela have produced a short documentary honoring their father, STRODE ROAD. It ends with this poem, which hopefully captures the spirit of what this series has tried to accomplish:

For all of those who paved the road,
Their stories sadly left untold,
Here is a life that will unfold,
Whose dignity could not be sold.
He paved the way,
He shared the load,
He was an athlete and an actor,
With a heart of gold.
Never meek - always bold.
This is the story of Woody Strode,
His unsung journey. STRODE ROAD.
-Gabe Taverney

Complete Buyer Protection - No time limit on our guarantees & NO buyer beware
Hershenson Help Hotline - Direct line to Bruce (our owner!) for urgent problems
Also, please read the following two pages of Consignor Reviews - Page 1, Page 2, and two pages of Customer Reviews of our company - Page 1, Page 2, which shows you in our customers' own words exactly what makes our company and our auctions so very different from all others!

LAMP Approved - Founding Sponsor since 2001 - eMoviePoster
Postal Mailing Address:
Bruce Hershenson, P.O. Box 874, West Plains, MO 65775. 
(For our UPS or FedEx address, click here)
phone: +1 417 256-9616     fax: +1 417 257-6948
E-mail: Contact Us
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM & 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM (CST)