AfriGeneas World Research Forum
Long Kept Family Secret
I am writing to you concerning a long kept family secret. You see, my mother told me the story of how she came to know who her father was. My Mom was born in 1918 in Ohio I think. I say I think because she passed away several years ago along with her two brothers and one sister. All but one from by the same father. My Aunt Letty had a different father.
She told me that she and my grandmother went to see a movie where once the film began my grandmother went into shock and had to be carried out. I guess she wasn't prepared for the father of her children to show up on the movie screen.
My grandfather was/is known in the world as the actor Warner Oland, the orginal Charlie Chan. His real namr was/is Walter Roman. It seems that when my mother was born he tried to take my grandmother to court and have her declared a Bastard, but when that failed he faked his own death.
Somehow it was later discovered thru some mysterious source that good old grandpa was a member of the Free Masons. It was said that they provided him with a whole new persona, name, and life history.
All the rest of the information my mother had of him was that he came from upper class blacks located somewhere in Tennessee. They were well educated and I think his father was a physican and that he did have siblings as well.
If you care to look up this "man" on the web under the name Warner Oland and take a look at him you will see why there was always some type of chatter about his heritage. Knowing my mother's features as well as, those of my uncles all doubt was instantly removed. He passed for the rest of his life playing small roles that took him nowhere, but will always be known best as Charlie Chan.
I hope there will be some discussion of this among your readers and this will somehow break open some avenue to me to pursue more information about this man. I am an only child and since both of my parents are gone I want/need to know about all the members of my bloodline even though he never would have claimed me as his kin.