Before Tyler Perry there was Noble Johnson. Noble Johnson was born Noble Mark Johnson on April 18, 1881 in Marshall Missouri. Not only was he one of the first Black actors in Hollywood but in 1916, with the help of his brother, founded a movie studio! It was called The Lincoln Motion Picture Company. He wanted to make movies for Black people that featured Black people because the Black population was being ignored by Hollywood or they were basically portrayed as a bunch of uneducated buffoons.
The money Noble made from acting he invested it right back into his movie studio. His looks, height, & athletic build enabled him to get a lot of work as a character actor and he portrayed everyone from African, Native American, Arab, and Latino. He played in westerns, adventure, & horror films.
In 1920 he resigned as president of his studio because his acting schedule kept him away from the day to day responsibilities of running a studio and production costs were high and sales were low. The studio closed in 1923 however his acting continued. Even when the silent film era ended, he still found work in Hollywood which was hard because a lot white actors had a hard time transiting from silent films to “talkies”.
Noble retired from acting in 1950 and passed away in 1978 at the ripe old age of 96. He's buried in California next to his wife.