(October 2, 1929 – December 16, 1993)
Moses Gunn was a very talented character actor and I enjoyed him in Little House on the Prairie and other movies and TV series. Here is a short bio from Wikipedia:
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Mary and George Gunn, he was the eldest of seven children. After his mother died, his family splintered. Moses left home and rode the railroad at just 12 years old. He returned to St. Louis and attended school while living at the home of Jewel Richie, his English teacher. He graduated from Tennessee State University after a stint in the army, then went to graduate school at Kansas University, gaining a masters degree. He taught briefly at Grambling College before attempting an acting career in NYC. He married Gwendolyn Mumma Landes in 1966, becoming stepfather to her daughter Kirsten Sarah Landes. They had a son, Justin Moses, in 1970 who became a musician and composer in the Copenhagen based band, The Reverend Shine Snake Oil Co.
An authoritative black character actor of film and TV, Gunn also enjoyed a successful career on stage. He made his New York City stage debut in the original off-Broadway production of Jean Genet’s The Blacks (1962). He performed many Shakespearean roles In Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park, winning an Obie Award for his portrayal of Aaron in Titus Andronicus. He won a second Obie for his work in the NEC produced “First Breeze of Summer,” which moved to Broadway. His much acclaimed performance as Othello at the Stratford, Connecticut, Shakespeare Festival was also moved to Broadway in 1970. Other Broadway plays in which Gunn performed are: “A Hand is on the Gate,” “Twelfth Night,” “I Have a Dream,” and “The Poison Tree,” for which he gained a Tony nomination for Best Actor. Gunn is perhaps best remembered in film for his portrayal of mobster Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Jonas in the first two Shaft movies, and for his brief role of Booker T. Washington in the 1981 movie Ragtime, a performance which won him an NAACP Image Award. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1977 for his role in the TV mini-series Roots. He also costarred with Avery Brooks on the TV series A Man Called Hawk. Gunn also appeared in a multi-episode story arc as atheist shop owner Carl Dixon on the sitcom Good Times, as Joe Kagan on Little House on the Prairie, and as the character Moses Gage in the 1980s NBC drama Father Murphy. He appeared on The Cosby Show episode “Grampy and Nu Nu Visit the Huxtables”, as Olivia’s (Raven-Symoné) grandfather. His final performance was as murder suspect Risley Tucker in “Three Men and Adena“, an award-winning episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. He died from the complications of asthma in Guilford, Connecticut in December 1993.
Here is a playlist that I created on my YouTube Channel: