Thursday, February 3, 2011

Heroes Of Blaxploitation: Antonio Fargas

Day Three:

Have you hugged your huggy bear today?

Right before his explosion unto the Blaxploitation film scene, Antonio Fargas (b.1946) starred in two films by Maverick Cult Filmmaker Robert Downey: Putney Swope (1969) and Pound (1970). His standout roles in those films led to parts in the great Shaft (1971) and another solid blaxploitation/crime thriller with Across 110th Street (1972)... a gritty New York film I hold very close to my heart.

Another seminal film in the genre Cleopatra Jones (1973) was next up for Fargas, and he all but stole the show. The cop thriller Busting (1974) and the moving drama Conrack (1974) were two films he made outside of the genre before he received maximum exposure as Pam Grier's brother in the big hit Foxy Brown (1974).

Fargas with his 'Foxy' Co-stars

It was then in the mid-70's when Antonio Fargas was cast in the role he's most synonymous for... Huggy Bear in the Starsky And Hutch TV series that ran from 1975 to 1979. It was the role he was born to play, and Fargas brought it like no one's business. Also on TV, Fargas appeared as Jim in Huckleberry Finn (1975) as well as countless memorable roles in series such as Kojak, Ironside, Police Woman, Kolchak, Vega$ and Charlie's Angels among many others.

He returned to the genre for a couple more times in the 70's with the excellent Cornbread, Earl And Me (1975) and Car Wash (1976)... He soon landed a high-profile role in Louis Malle's Pretty Baby (1978) which he even composed a few songs for. For the next 10 years Fargas steadily worked in Film & TV and then in 1988 he got the chance to (and very memorably so) homage his Blaxploitation past in the genre spoof I'm Gonna Git You Sucka and later with Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood (1996). The man hasn't stopped working since.

Your very own Fargas doll!

 Fargas in the hilarious Blaxploitation spoof, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
And yes, those are goldfish in his shoes...

 Fargas, still fly after all these years: Picture taken January 2011


The Goodkind said...

I'm glad to know Antonio is still at it. I last saw him in the Italian picture Night of the Sharks with Treat Williams.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Fargas is one of those guys that so surpassed the genre. I love Blaxploitation, but it is always odd when you see actors of such varying degrees of talent working together. I think Fargas was always able to play the part without faking it. His role in Foxy Brown is a tad cheesy, but his portrayal does not pretend that he is too good for the role (despite my belief that he was). I am baffled that he was not in Black Dynamite, though I think Tommy Davidson likely paid tribute to him.

Cinema Du Meep said...

Goodkind-- Night Of The Sharks! I totally forgot about that one. I'll have to check it out.

Darious-- He could have totally played huggy bear again in the Starsky & Hutch movie. He looks great!

Direct to Video Connoisseur said...

I remember when his son first started as a running back for USC and then the Raiders, he went back and watched his dad's work from the 70s, and grew his hair out into an afro to channel some of that awesomeness. Fargas embodied what it was to be 70s cool.

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