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Eskimo Star
by Lael Morgan

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Product #: 7125
Price: $19.95
144 pages
Trade Paperback
8 1/2" by 8 1/2"
Biography/Native American
Pub Date: 06/01/11
ISBN: 978-1-935347-12-5

From the Tundra to Tinseltown: The Ray Mala Story

The blazing marquee of the plush Astor Theater in New York City billed the 1933 premier of Eskimo as “THE BIGGEST PICTURE EVER MADE,” propelling a 27-year-old Inupiat Eskimo from Candle, Alaska, to overnight stardom. The handsome actor was not only the first Alaskan to become a Hollywood movie star but also the first non-white actor to play in a leading role. This is the story of Ray Wise Mala, the talented and enterprising son of an itinerant Russian trader and an Eskimo mother. Mala became part of the white man’s world but for most of his life struggled to find a place in it, discriminated against because of his mixed race and his father’s Jewish faith. At age 16, Mala got his break in Alaska in 1921 when hired to help film Primitive Love in which he was given a role. Mala appeared in more than 25 films over the next three decades, playing Hawaiians, South Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and other “exotics.” Mala was a generous, sophisticated, self-made man from humble origins who straddled the gap between two cultures, never forgetting the debt he owed his own. ESKIMO STAR includes many historic photos and colorful movie posters.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lael Morgan is an award-winning writer, historian, photographer, and journalist who has written numerous books about Alaska, including the popular ART & ESKIMO POWER. She was named Alaska's historian of the year in 1998 for her work on GOOD TIME GIRLS.

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