It's A Wonderful Life uncredited actor
I have probably watched the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life at least 100 times over the decades but a few nights ago I noticed a character I had missed. An unnamed black man is playing piano as George Bailey ( Jimmy Stewart) is thrown out of Nick's Bar. It's his only appearance in the film and he was not credited but his name birth name was Anderson Meade Lewis. Professionally he was known as Meade "Lux" Lewis. Lux was a nickname given to him by his boyhood friends.
In the holiday classic, Lewis was smiling and looked so happy in that one scene. There were a number of characters in It's A Wonderful Life who were not named but catching Meade who was African American in a sea of white faces made him stand out. Either I have missed this scene for many decades unless it was not in the edited television version of the Christmas classic.
Early life and death of Meade Lewis
According to Wikipedia there is a discrepancy with Meade's early life as he was said to be born on September 3, 4, or 13 in either Louisville Kentucky, or Chicago in 1905. birth in sources). His father was a guitarist who made two recordings of his own and introduced Meade to music even arranging for him to have violin lessons. Shortly after his father's death, when he was 16 Meade gave up the violin and began playing the piano.
Lewis made his first recording in 1927 with a rendition of Honky Tonk Blues and gained public notoriety when he performed in From Spirituals to Swings at Carnage Hall. Lewis and two other performers from that concert, Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson, appeared as a trio and became the leading boogie-woogie pianists of the day even playing with Tommy Dorsey. In addition to It's A Wonderful Life in 1946 Lewis was also in the films New Orleans in 1947 and Nightmare in 1956.
In May of 1964, Lewis began a three-week engagement at the White Hosue Restaurant in Golden Valley. On Sunday, June 7, however, at around 2 a.m.Lewis left the White House parking lot and headed east on Olsen Memorial Highway when his Chrysler Imperial was rear-ended by a speeding driver Ronald Bates. Lewis was killed instantly when his car was pushed 400 feet and crashed into a tree. Anderson Meade Lewis lives on each holiday season through his brief appearance in It's A Wonderful Life.