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Famous Demos

Dancer / Choreographer / Entertainer

Television / Film Personality

  • Woody Strode – (Actor, Football Player) Veteran of 30 films including "The Ten Commandments −1956", "Spartacus −1960", "Posse" −1993 (See Football)
  • Mablean Ephriam – Television Personality – "Judge Mablean"
  • Merry Clayton – Actress, Singer –  Eight Episode of "Cagney and Lacey", Acted in "Maid to Order" with Alley Sheedy (See Singer below)
  • Juanita Moore – Actress  – The 4th African American nominated for an Oscar. Participated in over 50 movies; best known for her role as the mother in the movie "Imitation of Life"
  • Matthew Beard (American actor) – Actor (Our gang Little Rascals Series)

Television / Film Production, Direction, Design

  • Iwao Takamoto – Animator, Design the character image of the Hanna-Barbera Production cartoon Scooby-Doo.
  • John Meehan Known as "Francis"–Jefferson Plays,U.S.C Architecture,then Motion Picture Art Director. Won Academy Awards for Art Direction for the films: "The Heiress","Sunset Blvd","20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", Television Art Direction:Emmy Nomination-G.E.Theatre. Graduated Class of 1922.

Politician / Judicial

  • Ralph Bunche (1922) –  Educator, UN mediator on Palestine and Nobel Peace Prize Winner
  • Thelton Henderson –  Federal Judge in the Northern District of California.
  • Willard H. Murray, Jr. –  California State Assembly Member 1988–1996 (District 52); California Institute for the Preservation of Jazz. Current director of the Water Replenishment District 1. Father of Former State Senator Kevin Murray ref: Testimony of Buddy Collette & Marl Young
  • Augustus F. Hawkins –  U.S. House of Representatives from California's 21st and 29th district from 1963–1991; California assembly from 1935–1963
  • David W. Williams –  Judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of California; first African American Federal Judge from states west of the Mississippi.
  • William R Clay –  Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to Superior Court judge in October 1976
  • Earl C. Gay (1902–75), Los Angeles City Council member, 1933–45


  • Stanley Crouch – Syndicated Columnist and Novelist. Created nine Non-Fiction novel and 2 Fiction novels. He is a Controversial anti-rap critic; His novel "Ain't No Ambulances For No Nigguhs Tonight" was typical writings against the non-sophisticated black man.

Composer / Writer /Music Director

  • Floyd Dixon – Songwriter, Singer –  Hit Songs "Telephone Blues", "Call Operator 210" and "Hey Bartender", the latter enjoying wide exposure by the release of 1980 hit "The Blues Brothers".
  • Roy Ayers – Jazz Composer and Vibraphone player –  Arranged Musical Score for 1973 movie "Coffy" and classic albums "Running Away 1976" and "Mystic Voyage 1975".
  • Richard Berry – Songwriter, Singer –  Wrote Classic Hit Song "Louie Louie" made popular by The Kingsmen.
  • Rickey Minor – Emmy-nominated music director, composer, and music producer; widely known for the title 'Music Director" for television series The Tonight Show with Jay LenoAmerican Idol and Don't Forget The Lyrics!
  • Barry White – Record Producer, Singer Song Writer; Five times Grammy Award Winner; attended Jefferson for sophomore and junior year.
  • Horace Tapscott – Jazz Piano player and composer Subject of UCLA Jazz Archive called the Horace Tapscott Collection. Creator of "The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (P.A.P.A.)".
  • Jesse Belvin – Songwriter, Singer –  Co-Wrote "Goodnight My Love" used to end Alan Freed Show; co-credited as one of writers of "Earth Angel" made popular by The Penguins.
  • Johnny "Guitar" Watson – American Blues and Funk guitarist/singer.
  • Young Jessie – Songwriter, Singer – Famous for the hit song "Mary Lou".

Singer – Musician

Singers – Groups

  • The Penguins – 3 group members – Curtis Williams, Bruce Tate, and Ray Brewster – The Group sang the Original Song "Earth Angel"
  • The Platters – 3 original group members – Gaynel Hodge, Alex Hodge, Cornell Gunter and 1 alumni, Ray Brewster
  • The Coasters – 1 group member – Cornell Gunter
  • The Cadillacs – 1 group member – Ray Brewster
  • The Hollywood Flames −1 group member- Ray Brewster
  • Mighty Clouds of Joy – 1 group member – Johnny Martin – Recorded over 25 albums and received two Grammy Award and a host of other awards
  • Etta James – Blues singer – Famous for hit song "At Last"
  • Ernie Andrews – Jazz Blues Singer
  • Merry Clayton – (Singer, Actress) Solo and Backup. Recorded "Gimme Shelter" duet with Mick Jagger. "Who can I count on" with Bobby Darin. (Also see Television/film)
  • O.C. Smith – Jazz Singer, Minister Performed with Count Basie Orchestra; he recorded the first version of the song "That Life" made famous by Frank Sinatra. He had numerous hit songs in his long career.
  • Mel Walker – Lead Singer with the Johnny Otis Orchestra " No 1 hits "Mistrustin' Blues" and "Cupid Boogie"
  • Cornell Gunter – Lead Singer – Original member of the The Platters and a member of The Coasters singing group. Transferred to Manual Arts his senior year.
  • Jennell Hawkins – Lead Singer – famous for her hit "Moments to Remember"
  • Ivie Anderson – Lead Singer – Performed with Duke Ellington orchestra between 1931 and 1942
  • Arthur Lee Maye – of Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns, was lead singer of the pioneering groups of the Doo Wop genre in the early 1950s.
  • Richard Berry -Singer, songwriter, musician. Most famous for writing Louie Louie, Berry performed with numerous Los Angeles doo-wop groups including The Flairs.


Jazz Era Music Teacher and Mentors