The P. Jay Sidney Collection, dating from the 1930s to the 1970s, depicts some aspects of actor Sidney's professional career. The collection consists of individual portraits used for publicity purposes, film and television stills, as well as views of theater scenes. The collection does not document Sidney's personal life nor his civil rights activism.
Most of the individual portraits of Sidney are of his portrayals in various productions. Also included is a quarter-length studio portrait with a resume attached. Most of the views of Sidney in performance are unidentified. Identified performances for television are U.S. Steel's presentation of "Notebook Warrior" and the sitcom "You're Never too Rich" later re-named the "Phil Silvers Show" featuring Phil Silvers with Sidney (1955). Views of theatrical performances are "Androcles and the Lion" produced by the Negro Theatre Project of the Federal Theatre Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) (1939) and "Twentieth Century," which appeared on Broadway. A film still of "Black like Me" features Sidney with James Whitmore (1964).
Biographical/historical: P. Jay Sidney was born in 1915 in rural Virginia. After moving to New York City, he appeared on stage, in films and played minor roles in more than 70 productions in early television. He was Private Palmer on the sitcom "You'll never get Rich" in 1955, which later became the "Phil Silvers Show." Sidney played a waiter on "Appointment in Samara" on the "Robert Montgomery Presents" series (1950-1957), one of the few roles that featured a serious Black actor during that era. Sidney's stage performances included the WPA Federal Theatre Project, Broadway, and regional theater productions. His film credits include "The Joe Louis Story" "Black like Me" and "Rosemary's Baby." Sidney died in 1997 in New York City.