Robeson, Paul (1898–1976), U.S. singer and stage and film actor. A basso, he made his concert debut in 1925 and became known for his renditions of spirituals. Son of a former slave, his most famous song was “Ol' Man River” from the musical Show Boat (1928). Robeson starred in the play and film of Emperor Jones (1925; 1933) and in Shakespeare's Othello. As a collegiate athlete Robeson was twice named an All-American end in football. He also starred in 3 other sports. He was also valedictorian of his class. Ostracized in the United States for his communist beliefs, he lived and sang in Europe between 1958 and 1963.