Jester Hairston is an American composer, singer and actor who has been known for his contributions to the cultural development of Hollywood. He was a pioneer of the choral music genre and has sung in numerous Hollywood films. His net worth is estimated to be in the range of $20 million in 2023.
Hairston was born on July 9, 1901 in Belews Creek, North Carolina, United States. He was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and is ranked among the most popular actors of his time. In addition to acting, he was a songwriter and a conductor. One of his most well-known songs, “Mary’s Boy Child,” was a popular Christmas song. Aside from his music, Hairston also played a leading role in the television show Amen.
At the time of his birth, Hairston’s family lived in a rural community in North Carolina. He attended high school in 1919 and then studied music at the Juilliard School. While in college, he became involved with a musical group called the Hall Johnson Choir in Harlem. This led to a radio program which grew into a television series.
After completing his education, Hairston worked as a choir conductor in Boston. In the early 1930s, he was accepted to Tufts University and earned a degree. He then auditioned for Leo R. Lewis. Afterwards, he moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School.
During his career, Hairston performed in a variety of roles, from Wildcat on That’s My Mama to Collie Forbes on the popular TV show Amen. He also sang in plays. During the late ’60s and ’70s, Hairston was in films such as I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, The Alamo, and Lady Sings the Blues.
Despite a relatively short career, Hairston gained a huge amount of fame. His contribution to the growth of American music is undeniable. Not only did he write a hit song, but he was a leader in introducing African-American spirituals to the public. Some of his other famous works include “Amen,” “I’m Gonna Tell God All About You,” and the gospel-tinged theme from the film Lilies of the Field.
His popularity soared when Hairston played Collie Forbes on the popular TV show Amen. However, his most famous work is actually a Christmas song. Known as the “Amen” song, it was a 1963 hit for The Impressions. It has become one of the most popular songs of all time.
After his success on Amen, Hairston became a professional actor. He also played the lead role in the movie version of The Alamo in 1960. Also, he has appeared in the movies Lady Sings the Blues, St. Louis Blues, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Additionally, he starred in Being John Malkovich in 1999.
As a result, Hairston earned a wealth of money in a variety of careers. Among his monetary gains, he is credited with contributing to the growth of Hollywood. Although Hairston has not disclosed his marital status, it is possible that he is married.