Leroy Haynes (Leroy Howard Milton Haynes)
Actor (Clinton, Kentucky, USA, 1.7.1914 – Paris, France, 4.1986)
Leroy Haynes was born Leroy Howard Milton Haynes, son of Robert Haynes and M.C. Curine Lena, on January 7th, 1914, in Clinton, Kentucky. According to Michael ‘Biltmore’ Ferguson, from the blog Westerns… all’italiana!, early on his family relocated to Chicago, Illinois, where his father’s family worked for the infamous bootlegger Al Capone. In later years Haynes loved to regale his customers with stories of his younger self meeting up with the legendary gangster. Having graduated from high school he went to the prestigious, but segregated Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. There he received a Master’s degree in both Arts and Sociology.
The athletic Haynes found football to his liking and quickly earned the nickname of ‘Roughhouse’. When War broke out he enlisted in the army and saw action in the Pacific. After the war not wanting to return stateside Haynes traveled throughout France and Germany. During these years he taught ‘American-style-football’, rather than soccer to the GI’s that were still stationed overseas. Upon his discharge from the service he found work as a bartender in a local restaurant in Paris. There he met and soon after married the love of his life, Gabrielle Lecarbonnier (1928 – ). In 1949 the newlyweds opened Paris’ first American soul food establishment, ‘Gabby and Haynes’ which was located on rue des Martyrs, around the corner from Place Pigalle. The restaurant quickly attracted not only homesick GI’s, but also writers, students, musicians and film people who found themselves in ol’ Paree. Haynes must have felt right at home amongst his clientele such as Cab Calloway, Sammy Davis Jr. Paul Newman and Anthony Perkins. According to Brigitte Bardot, Haynes’s chitlins were unique.
In between running the restaurant and preparing meals, Haynes found time to continue doing little cameos in such films as Jean Girault’s Le Gendarme à New York (1965), Marcel Carne’s Trois chambres à Manhattan (1965) and Jean Becker’s Tender Voyeur (1966). It wasn’t until a few years later that he got to make spaghetti history by being ask to go a few uncredited rounds with Bud Spencer in Giuseppe Colizzi’s I quattro dell’Ave Maria (Ace High), also starring Brock Peters and Tiffany Hoyveld. Here Haynes comes across rather effectively as the aging prize-fighter who just won’t quit. Surprisingly he wasn’t snapped up by some enterprising producer for a series of his own films. Mr. Haynes appeared in a second spaghetti-western Christian-Jacque’s light-hearted Les Petroleuses (Le pistolere in Italy, The Legend of Frenchie King in US (1971). Six films out of thirteen were Italian co-productions, from his debut Quello che spara per primo (Un nommé La Rocca in France) to the aforementioned Le pistolere.
Quello che spara per primo (Jean Becker, 1962, ff, act), Un avventuriero a Tahiti (Jean Becker, 1966, ff, act), Tre gendarmi a New York (Jean Girault, 1967, ff, act), I quattro dell’Ave Maria (Giuseppe Colizzi, 1968, ff, act), Fuori il malloppo! (Jean Herman, 1971, ff, act), Le pistolere (Christian-Jaque, 1972, ff, act)
Frame taken from:
I quattro dell’Ave Maria. Dir. Giuseppe Colizzi. Crono Cinematografica, San Marco (1955), 1968.
Contributors: Leonardo De Franceschi
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