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Faces Of Success Radio

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Otis Day (DeWayne Jessie)/Bio: At the outset of the 1970s, a teenaged DeWayne Jessie had a promising start to an acting career, just at the point when gifted young black performers were getting more work than ever before. But after eight years of steady screen work and small but enlarging supporting roles, he was sidetracked by a part so unexpectedly big in a movie so unexpectedly successful, that in the 25 years since, he's only appeared in five more movies, but never lacked for work as a performer on-stage, growing out of that movie. In 1978, Jessie was cast in National Lampoon's Animal House in the role of Otis Day, leader of Otis Day & the Knights, who are seen performing {&"Shout"} and {&"Shama Lama Ding Dong"} in two key scenes -- ever since then, like Clayton Moore donning the mask of the Lone Ranger in 1949 and never getting too far from it, DeWayne Jessie has worked regularly as the leader of Otis Day & the Knights.

Ironically, Jessie's most prominent role before National Lampoon's Animal House was probably in The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, in which he played Rainbow, a ball player in the Negro Leagues who is mute. Born in 1953, Jessie made his screen debut at age 17 as a high-school student who is unable to read in the topical dramaHalls of Anger (1970), directed by Paul Bogartand starring Jeff Bridges. He had an uncredited role in The New Centurions (1972) and bounced between television and films over the next few years, guest starring in episodes of series such as Love American Style, Kojak, Starsky and Hutch, and Laverne & Shirley, interspersed with small feature roles inDarktown Strutters, Car Wash, and Fun With Dick and Jane. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings earned him good reviews for a portrayal as poignant as it was inspiring, and earned Jessie an Image