Darwin Joston bigraphy, stories - American actor

Darwin Joston : biography

December 9, 1937 - June 1, 1998

Francis Darwin Solomon (December 9, 1937 – June 1, 1998) was an American actor known professionally as Darwin Joston (sometimes credited as Darwin Jostin during the early years of his career). Joston began his career as a New York stage actor, and he appeared in many popular television shows during the 1960s, early 1970s, and mid-1980s, but he is best known for his performances in independent films that later achieved cult status, particularly Assault on Precinct 13.

Biography

Early life & acting career

Joston was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Mary Elizabeth Smith and Buford Odell Solomon; he had one brother, Talmadge Solomon, who became a Church of Christ minister. Joston attended Glenn High School in Kernersville, North Carolina, where he was considered to be a talented athlete. He later studied drama at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated from there in 1960."New Endowment Fund Honors Actor," North Carolina School of the Arts Callboard, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Fall 1998), p. 9.

After college, Joston moved to New York City and began his professional career as a stage actor in various theater and summer stock productions.Darwin Joston interview, featured in Art Fein's Poker Party, episode 163, June 1988. He lived and worked in New York for five yearsDarwin Joston interview, featured in Art Fein's Poker Party, episode 163, June 1988. and then moved to Los Angeles, California, where, from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, Joston acted primarily in television. He appeared in a number of popular series including Lassie (in which he had a recurring role), The Virginian, The Rat Patrol, Ironside, The Rookies, and McCloud. He also had guest roles in episodes of the short-lived series Longstreet and Ghost Story/Circle of Fear.

Joston also acted in genre films during this phase of his acting career. Of the two films that were released theatrically, the first was the 1971 western-themed, grindhouse exploitation film, Cain's Cutthroats; in it, he played Billy-Joe, a psychopathic, mother-obsessed, sexually-warped Confederate soldier. The second film was the low-budget 1975 horror movie, Rattlers, in which he played a soldier who is killed by a horde of rattlesnakes.

Assault on Precinct 13

Joston is known for his iconic portrayal of Napoleon Wilson, the sardonic, shotgun-toting, anti-hero in Assault on Precinct 13, John Carpenter's 1976, Howard Hawks-inspired, action film. Carpenter has said that he wrote the Napoleon Wilson role with Joston in mind and imbued the character with some of Joston's personality traits.Q & A session with John Carpenter and Austin Stoker at American Cinematheque's 2002 John Carpenter retrospective, included in the 2003 Assault on Precinct 13 special edition R1 DVD. When Carpenter was writing the screenplay for Assault on Precinct 13, he and Joston both lived in the same Hollywood Hills apartment building and became friends.G. Boulenger, John Carpenter: The Prince of Darkness (Beverly Hills 2003) (ISBN 1-879505-67-3), p. 89.Q & A session with John Carpenter and Austin Stoker at American Cinematheque's 2002 John Carpenter retrospective, included in the 2003 Assault on Precinct 13 special edition R1 DVD.Darwin Joston interview, featured in Art Fein's Poker Party, episode 163, June 1988. Having gotten to know Joston and his dark sense of humor, Carpenter felt that his neighbor would make an interesting anti-hero.Q & A session with John Carpenter and Austin Stoker at American Cinematheque's 2002 John Carpenter retrospective, included in the 2003 Assault on Precinct 13 special edition R1 DVD.

This was Joston's largest role, and it is considered to have been his best. Joston's singular performance not only conveys Wilson's stoic toughness, but also emphasizes his irreverent, ironic sense of humor and slowly reveals the character's unexpected capacities for loyalty and tenderness, thereby adding emotional depth and humanity to what otherwise could have been a stereotypical action-hero role. Moreover, Joston's performance has been repeatedly singled out as the film's best. and is often cited as one of the primary reasons for Assault on Precinct 13's continued audience appeal.

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Living octopus

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