Antonio Fargas is one of the most well-known blaxploitation actors not named Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, or Jim Brown, even if not everyone really knows his name. For many, all you have to say is he’s that guy from I’m Gonna Git You Sucka with the goldfish in his shoes. He’s also well known for his role as Huggy Bear on the Starsky and Hutch TV show.
Back in the 1970s though, you could almost say his portrayal of a pimp became what is considered the norm. He had the flamboyant clothes, the over-the-top attitude, and knew how to strut into a room.
Fargas was a nice changeup from the ultra-tough guys usually seen in blaxploitation films. His characters dressed tough. They tried to act tough. They did whatever they needed to do to protect their reputation on the street. Many times, however, those efforts fell flat.
Why We Love and Respect Him: Fargas was the Don Knotts of the blaxploitation films, and his pimp and thug characters were just streetwise versions of Barney Fife. He would go on to do other work, but his blaxploitation roles are our favorite.
Best Known For: Dressing sharp and being a hard-luck gangster.
Blaxploitation Role Call:
Shaft (1971) as Bunky: Bunky is a smalltime hood caught up in an NYC crime family war.
Across 110th Street (1972) as Henry J. Jackson: Henry J. Jackson is the getaway driver in the robbery of a Mafia-owned bank that scores the robbers a cool $300,000. Jackson’s crime eventually catches up with him when a couple of hoods find him in a whorehouse.
Cleopatra Jones (1973) as Doodlebug Simkins: Doodlebug Simkins is a sharp-dressing, high ranking soldier in Mommy’s drug cartel, but that isn’t good enough. He goes out on his own, has some success, but then feels the squeeze of his former boss and federal agent Cleopatra Jones.
Foxy Brown (1974) as Link Brown: Link Brown is Foxy’s drug-dealing brother, and due to his being a screw up, Foxy’s boyfriend gets offed by some gangsters. Foxy is determined to get revenge on the gangsters who killed her man.
Antonio Fargas on building characters…
Antonio Fargus Interview with Soul Train; Aug. 31, 2012