From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Sublett, John William "Bubbles"

(born: February 19, 1902  -  died: May 18, 1986) 

John W. Sublett was born in Louisville, KY, and he was also known as John Bubbles. Sublett was a singer and tap dancer who teamed up with Ford Lee Washington; they were known as Buck and Bubbles. Rather than tap-dancing on his toes, Sublett tap-danced by bringing his heels to the floor like a drummer. He also used a number of other techniques. Sublett also played the piano in some of their performances. He played the role of Sportin' Life in the original Porgy and Bess production.

John W. Sublett died in Bladwin Hills, California. He was the son of John and Katie Sublett. 

For more see Who's Who in Hollywood. The largest cast of international film personalities ever assembled, by D. Ragan; Blacks in Black & White. A source book on Black films, by H. T. Sampson; Sportin' Life: John W. Bubbles, an American classic by Brian Harker; "No.1 tap dancer," LIFE, 12/06/1943, pp.116-119.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Who's who in Hollywood. The largest cast of international film personalities ever assembled
NKAA Source: Blacks in black and white : a source book on Black films
NKAA Source: Sportin' life : John W. Bubbles, an American classic
NKAA Source: Life (periodical)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Washington, Ford Lee "Buck"
NKAA Entry:  Alcohol Not Served to Women at Bars [Frankie E. Maxwell]

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Sublett, John William "Bubbles",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 27, 2023,

Last modified: 2022-11-30 19:42:30