William Jay Marshall

William Jay Marshall performed in the original cast of a landmark satire, Day of Absence, written and directed by Douglas Turner Ward, which opened off-Broadway in 1965. Telling the story of a Southern town where all of its Black residents suddenly disappear, Day of Absence featured Black actors in whiteface in a reverse minstrel show style. Marshall also performed in the 1967 PBS television production.

The attention focused on the play attracted the attention of the Ford Foundation, whose grant helped launch the Negro Ensemble Company.

Marshall continued to work as an actor through at least the mid 2000’s, mostly in regional theater.

According to IMDb, he appeared in the films The Fisher King (1991), Cookie (1989) and Billy Bathgate (1991).

The photo is from a 1995 performance of I’m Not Rappaport at Missouri Rep.

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
Actor The Missing Face 2000-01 Season