View Full Version : the films of Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs

Robin Bougie
07-30-2010, 04:45 AM
I'm on a bit of a Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs kick at the moment. He's best known for his role on WELCOME BACK KOTTER, but those of you who have seen some of his film roles will surely back me up that this dude could really act as well, and if not for the fact that it was harder back in the day for blacks to get good roles, would probably have done much better for himself in his film career.

Seeing him in COOLEY HIGH (1975) was what started me on him. What a great little movie. In fact, L.H.J was so good it was this performance that got him noticed by the casting dept for KOTTER. And tonight I got to see YOUNGBLOOD from 1978 (thanks for the hook up, Don G! Props) and I really enjoyed it. As usual, Lawrence stole the show.

From what I can see though, I don't have much else to choose from if I want to see more Hilton-Jacobs starring roles for another 10 years after those movies. Looks like his next "big" movie (if you can call it that) is L.A. HEAT (1989) with Jim Brown, L.A. VICE (1989) with William Smith, and ANGELS OF THE CITY (1989) about a bunch of pimps who kidnap some white sorority girls. Are these worth huntin' down?

What happened to him for 10 years? The man was in his prime and headlining movies based on his 1975-79 KOTTER fame, and then poof. Like I say -- he was really good when given a chance, so I don't get it. Have you guys seen any of his later starring roles in the 90s and beyond? He seems to have been in a lot of direct-to-video stuff.

His IMDB page:

EDIT: Holy crap. I just stumbled upon the fact that one of my teachers from high school directed one of Hilton-Jacobs movies from the early 90s (two years after I graduated). INDECENT BEHAVIOR with Shannon Tweed!! That almost knocked me out of my chair, man.

Thomas D.
07-30-2010, 10:02 AM
Hey! I just wanna say that I'm a big Cinema Sewer fan. It's a permanent fixture in my bathroom (along with Evan Dorkin's Dork comic). Anyway, I'm a fan of the PM stuff, and Angels of the City is one of my favorites, although it differs from the later films. It's ostensibly a ripoff of the Angel series, and lacks the sort of meat and potatoes action of the later PM films. I really like it for the absurd trashy plot and the two leads, and especially the cool atmospheric portrait of L.A. It almost has an After Hours vibe, with the two girls wandering the city at night. There is a lot of stylish lighting (especially green and red) that adds to the atmosphere.

I have not seen either L.A. Vice or L.A. Heat, but have seen the majority of the other PM movies. Incredibly, even though I am a big blaxploitation fan, I have not seen Cooley High. I will rectify this ASAP.

Coincidentally, I uploaded a clip of Angels of the City to Youtube:
<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/2IgoVNu3-NU&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/2IgoVNu3-NU&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

Chris Poggiali
07-30-2010, 11:23 AM
Robin, have you seen THE ANNIHILATORS? He's in that one also, co-starring with Christopher Stone, Gerrit Graham and Paul Koslo. It's directed by Charles Sellier, Jr. New World put it out in '85.

Wasn't he also on the ALIEN NATION television series?

07-30-2010, 04:31 PM
He doesn't having a starring role in it, so you may not be tempted by it anyway, but avoid "Sublime". I thought it was pretentious crap.

Matthew David
07-31-2010, 06:59 PM
L.A. VICE/HEAT played back-to-back on a local station sometime in the 90's. Recall they came off like dire made-for-TV movies or pilots. Most likely edited though, so whatever thrills to be found were probably missing.

Robin, have you seen THE ANNIHILATORS? He's in that one also, co-starring with Christopher Stone, Gerrit Graham and Paul Koslo. It's directed by Charles Sellier, Jr. New World put it out in '85.

That's the one I was gonna recommend. Been years since seeing it, but remember it being trashy, 'Nam vet revenge goodness. Comparable to DEATH WISH 3, maybe? Couldn't be nearly as goofy though. Sellier directed this right after SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT.

Robin Bougie
07-31-2010, 09:13 PM
I'm gonna have to track THE ANNIHILATORS down. Sounds like good stuff.

Haha, that ANGELS OF THE CITY clip is retarded. ^_^

Paul Talbot
08-01-2010, 06:09 PM
Essential pre-“Kotter” work:
He sits behind Dorian Harewood and smirks with disgust in an early-70s TV ad for the United Negro College Fund.
He plays a creepy mugger (“Give me the money, honey”) at the bottom of the famous stairway in DEATH WISH (1974).
He has some role good scenes as one of the sons of CLAUDINE (1974).

Essential work during the “Kotter” era:
He played a struggling club comic in the TV-movie THE COMEDY COMPANY (1978) and has a good monologue in front of a mirror.
In a very brief segment of the omnibus series DARKROOM (1981), he battles Esther Rolle as a voodoo woman.

Essential post-“Kotter” work:
All of his PM movies are worth watching. My favorite is L.A. VICE. In the early 90s, I worked at a video store. I remember a black guy picking up the box of QUIET FIRE and saying, “Boom-Boom Washington’s in this!” He turned the box over, saw a pic of an explosion and said, “He’s into some serious shit!”
Hilton-Jacobs’ all time best role and performance was as patriarch Joe Jackson in the 2-part TV-movie THE JACKSONS: AN AMERICAN DREAM, which should have copped him an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination.

A few years ago, he was in my town for a night as a cast member of some touring play. I was broke and didn’t go--a major regret.


Robin Bougie
08-01-2010, 09:49 PM
Thanks Paul! That info helps a lot!