John Wesley, an actor known for parts in such films as Stop, Or My Mom Will Shoot and Martin, has died at age 72. The death was confirmed by his family, who said it stemmed from complications in a long-time battle with multiple myeloma.
Wesley worked with such artists as Denzel Washington, Albert Finney, Robert Guillaume, Barbra Streisand, Tim Burton, James Earl Jones, Michael Apted, James Spader, and Morgan Freeman, among others. A veteran of stage, TV and film, he won an Atlas Awards for Best Supporting Actor in Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic at the Old Globe Theatre.
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As the Artistic and Producing Director of The Southern California Black Repertory Company, he mounted a multitude of productions, including Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Banzi Is Dead and The Island, culminating in a three-year tour. Those productions led to an invitation to work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. While at OSF, he performed in Richard 2, Coriolanus, Twelfth Night, and Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Other accolades followed, including the critically acclaimed production of Oyamo’s I Am A Man, which received an LA Weekly Award for Best Ensemble, and a Dramalogue Award for Best Supporting Actor. Most recently, Wesley was part of the Los Angeles Ovation Award winning production of Stick Fly, which was recognized as Best Ensemble.
In film, Wesley played as a security guard in the 48 Hours, and from there, his career would lead to more than 100 film and television movies. His resume includes Missing in Action, Big Fish, The Wood, and Thirteenth Child.
His TV resume includes appearances on Frasier, The Jefferson’s, Benson and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, as well as the character “Willie” on the Jamie Foxx Show.He also appeared on episodes of JAG, Hill Street Blues, and In the Heat of the Night.
In his last film, Second Acts, a short created and produced by Gerry Pass and directed by Anya Adams, Wesley received an award for Best Actor in A Dramatic Short from the Hollywood Women’s Film Festival.Prior to his career as an actor, Wesley served in the United States Army during the Vietnam war, after which he was honorably discharged. Wesley received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego and his Bachelor of Arts Degrees from the University of San Diego, where he also majored in Political Science.
Wesley is survived by his wife Jenny Houston, mother Hazel Baskin, and daughters Kimiko Kamiel Houston and Kinshasha Lynett Houston, stepson Kyler Richie, brothers Larry Houston, Kamara Baskin, Leon Baskin, Steven Baskin, all of Las Vegas, Shalamon Baskin of Brussels Belgium and sisters Deborah Martino of San Diego, Monica Houston, Evelyn Houston and Kimber Houston of Las Vegas, grandchildren Kazaria Houston, Jeremiah Houston, Anijah Houston, Isiah Jones, Jonathan Jones, Nia Jones and Amiya Robertson.
Service details are pending.