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Paul Winfield

Paul Winfield

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Also Known As: Paul Edward Winfield Died: March 7, 2004
Born: May 22, 1941 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: actor, voice actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A powerhouse black supporting player and occasional lead, Paul Winfield gained international recognition and a Best Actor Oscar nomination opposite Cicely Tyson in Martin Ritt's "Sounder" (1972).Winfield has worked consistently in theater, film and TV, offering one of his finest performances in the latter: as Martin Luther King Jr. in the NBC miniseries "King" (1978) He also scored on the big screen as Gabriel Grimes, the semi-autobiographical hero in the adaptation of James Baldwin's novel "Go Tell It On the Mountain" (1984) and as the college chancellor willing to sing Negro spirituals to gain donations to his school in "Roots: The Next Generation" (ABC, 1979).Raised in the Watts section of Los Angeles during the period when it was changing from a white neighborhood into a primarily African American neighborhood, Winfield began his career acting onstage as an artist in residence at Stanford and the University of Hawaii. He made his feature debut in "The Lost Man" (1969), but it took his turn as a loving father and husband willing to do anything to provide for his family in "Sounder" to move him into the spotlight. But, typical of a black actor in the 1970s and 80s, even an Academy Award nomination...

A powerhouse black supporting player and occasional lead, Paul Winfield gained international recognition and a Best Actor Oscar nomination opposite Cicely Tyson in Martin Ritt's "Sounder" (1972).

Winfield has worked consistently in theater, film and TV, offering one of his finest performances in the latter: as Martin Luther King Jr. in the NBC miniseries "King" (1978) He also scored on the big screen as Gabriel Grimes, the semi-autobiographical hero in the adaptation of James Baldwin's novel "Go Tell It On the Mountain" (1984) and as the college chancellor willing to sing Negro spirituals to gain donations to his school in "Roots: The Next Generation" (ABC, 1979).

Raised in the Watts section of Los Angeles during the period when it was changing from a white neighborhood into a primarily African American neighborhood, Winfield began his career acting onstage as an artist in residence at Stanford and the University of Hawaii. He made his feature debut in "The Lost Man" (1969), but it took his turn as a loving father and husband willing to do anything to provide for his family in "Sounder" to move him into the spotlight. But, typical of a black actor in the 1970s and 80s, even an Academy Award nomination did not guarantee acting offers. Winfield was relegated to supporting roles, as in "Conrack" and the remake of "Huckleberry Finn" (both 1974), in which he was cast as Jim. He reteamed with Cicely Tyson as another father figure in the superb "A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich" (1977), but it was four years before Winfield had another feature role, the decidedly supporting one as George Segal's attorney in "Carbon Copy" (1981). He went on to portray an animal trainer with the daunting task of re-training a dog which attacks blacks in Sam Fuller's controversial "White Dog" and was the doomed captain of a spaceship who incurs the attention of Ricardo Montelban in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" (both 1982). He marked time during the 80s in such features as "The Terminator" (1984) and "The Serpent and the Rainbow" before emerging in authoritarian roles in the 90s. Winfield was the judge with a secret of his own in "Presumed Innocent" (1990), the police chief in "Dennis the Menace" (1993) and a bellowing general fighting aliens in Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!" (1996). He also played Rev. Dorsey in "Original Gangstas" (1996), a send-up of blaxploitation films that reunited such stalwarts as Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, Ron O'Neal and Richard Roundtree.

The small screen has often provided more substantive roles for the actor. After making guest appearances in such top-rated 60s series as "Perry Mason" and "Daktari," he landed the regular role as neighbor and love interest to Diahann Carroll's "Julia" (NBC, 1968-70). Winfield appeared in a number of TV-movies, notably portraying baseball great Roy Campanella in "It's Good to Be Alive" (CBS, 1974) before another screen pairing with Cicely Tyson in "King." Other notable performances have included Oprah Winfrey's father in the first installment of the miniseries "The Women of Brewster Place" (ABC, 1989), Cap'n Jack in the CBS miniseries "Queen" (1993), and the slave Big Sam in the "Gone With the Wind" sequel, "Scarlett" (CBS, 1994). More recently, Winfield essayed fight promoter Don King in the biopic "Tyson" (HBO, 1995).

Winfield has not had much success as a series regular. He was cast as the sassy talking mirror in "The Charmings" (ABC, 1987-88), a forgettable sitcom in which the fairy tale characters are living in modern day. Winfield appeared in the final season of "227" (NBC, 1989-90), as the cranky owner of Marla Gibbs' apartment building. In a memorably cycle of CBS' "Wiseguy" (1989), he was a down-on-his-luck record company owner on the verge of making deals with the devil to get back on top. The actor won an Emmy in 1995 for his guest appearance as a federal judge whose rulings on busing inner-city children are challenged by one of the town's leading citizens in "Picket Fences" (CBS). In a memorable "Family Matters" (ABC, 1991), Winfield was Harriette's long-lost father, and in a 1996 episode of ABC's "Second Noah," he was a homeless man who brings meaning into the family's life. He attempted a return to series TV signing on as the patriarch of a family in business together in the NBC sitcom "Built to Last" (1997).

Winfield has also leant his distinctive vocal talents to several projects, ranging from Ken Burns' documentary "Baseball" (PBS, 1994) to the PBS children's series "The Magic School Bus" (1994-98) and the ABC animated program "Gargoyles."

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Sounder (2003) Teacher
2.
 Second to Die (2002)
3.
4.
 Knockout (2000) Ron Regent
5.
 Catfish in Black Bean Sauce (1999) Harold Williams
6.
 Strange Justice (1999) Thurgood Marshall
7.
 Deadly Measures (1998)
8.
 Relax...It's Just Sex (1998) Auntie Miriam
9.
 Original Gangstas (1996) Reverend Marshall Dorsey
10.
 Mars Attacks! (1996) General Casey
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Was artist in residence at Stanford University
1965:
Worked as artist in residence at University of Hawaii
1965:
Made TV debut in episode of "Perry Mason" (CBS)
:
Played romantic interest of Diahann Carroll's "Julia" on the NBC sitcom
1969:
Film acting debut in "The Lost Man"
1972:
Breakthrough feature role, "Sounder"; earned Best Actor Oscar nomination
1973:
Made TV-movie debut in "Horror at 37,000 Feet" (CBS)
1978:
Played title role in the NBC miniseries "King"; won first Emmy nomination
1979:
Had supporting role in "Roots: The Next Generation" (ABC); won second Emmy nomination
:
Played a talking mirror on TV sitcom "The Charmings" (ABC)
:
Appeared in the Broadway play "Checkmates", co-starring Denzel Washington
1989:
Appeared as a record executive in a story arc of the CBS crime drama "Wiseguy"
:
Had regular role of building landlord on the NBC sitcom "227"
1990:
Had pivotal role in the feature "Presumed Innocent"
:
Voiced Mr Ruhle in "The Magic School Bus" (PBS)
1995:
Portrayed boxing promoter Don King in the HBO biopic "Tyson"
1997:
Returned to series TV as regular on the short-lived NBC sitcom "Built to Last"
1999:
Played the adoptive father of two Vietnamese children in "Catfish and Black Bean Sauce"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Portland: Portland , Oregon - 1957 - 1959
Stanford University: Stanford , California - 1959
Los Angeles City College: Los Angeles , California - 1959 - 1963
University of California at Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California - 1962 - 1964

Notes

Winfield was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Clarence Winfield.
mother:
Lois Beatrice Winfield.

Contributions

SandraJune ( 2006-12-14 )

Source: The show is still coming on "Court TV" on the Comcast channel (58).

Paul Winfield was also the first voice-narrator for the crimes series "City Confidental".

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