PAUL WINFIELD Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Paul Edward Winfield                                                               
Born: 22 May 1939 Los Angeles, California, USA                                           
Died: 7 March 2004 Los Angeles, California, USA                                           
Paul Edward Winfield (May 22, 1939 - March 7, 2004) was an Emmy Award-winning             
and Academy Award-nominated American television and film actor. He was known for         
his portrayal of a Louisiana sharecropper who struggles to support his family             
during the Great Depression in the landmark film Sounder and as Dr. Martin               
Luther King Jr. in the television miniseries King. Off camera, Winfield narrated         
the television crime series City Confidential.                                           
Winfield carved out a diverse career in film, television, theater and voiceovers         
by taking ground breaking roles at a time when African-American actors were               
scarcely cast. His first major feature film role was in the 1969 film, The Lost           
Man starring Sidney Poitier. Winfield first became well-known to television               
audiences when he appeared for several years opposite Diahann Carroll on the             
groundbreaking television series Julia. Filmed during a high point of racial             
tensions in the United States, the show was unique in featuring an African-American       
female as the central character. He also starred as Martin Luther King, Jr. in           
the 1978 miniseries King.                                                                 
In 1973, Winfield was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the             
1972 film Sounder, and his co-star in that film, Cicely Tyson, was nominated for         
Best Actress. Prior to their nominations, only two other African Americans -             
Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier - had ever been nominated for a leading             
role. He appeared in the 2003 Disney-produced television remake of Sounder.               
Winfield played the part of Jim the Slave in Huckleberry Finn (1974) which was           
a musical based on the novel by Mark Twain. Winfield would recall late in his             
career that as a young actor he had played one of the two leads in Of Mice and           
Men in local repertory, made up in whiteface, since a black actor playing it             
would have been unthinkable. Winfield also starred in more recent miniseries,             
including Roots: The Next Generations, Alex Haley'sQueen: The Story of an                 
American Family and Scarlett.                                                             
The actor gained a new segment of fans for his brief but memorable roles in               
several science fiction TV programs and movies. He portrayed Captain Clark               
Terrell, an unwilling minion of Khan Noonien Singh, in Star Trek II: The Wrath           
of Khan and a friendly but crusty cop partnered with Lance Henriksen in The               
Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. On the small screen Star Trek                 
franchise, he appeared as an alien captain who communicates in metaphor in the           
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Darmok. He also appeared on Babylon 5,             
as General Richard Franklin, the father of regular character Dr. Stephen                 
Franklin, in the second season episode "Gropos."                                         
Winfield also took on roles as gay characters in the films Mike's Murder in 1984         
and again in 1998 in the film Relax...It's Just Sex.                                     
Winfield found success off-camera due to his unique voice. He provided voices on         
the cartoons Spider-Man, The Magic School Bus, Batman Beyond, K10C, and The               
Simpsons, on the latter voicing the Don King parody Lucius Sweet. In his                 
voiceover career, he perhaps best-known as the narrator for the A&E true crime           
series City Confidential, a role he began in 1998 and continued with until his           
death in 2004.                                                                           
Throughout his career, Winfield frequently managed to perform in the theater.             
His only Broadway production, Checkmates, in 1988, co-starring Ruby Dee, was             
also the Broadway debut of Denzel Washington. He also appeared in productions at         
the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington,           
He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance in the King and Roots:             
The Next Generations. He won an Emmy Award, in 1995, for Outstanding Guest Actor         
in a Drama Series, for his appearance as Judge Harold Nance in an episode of the         
CBS drama Picket Fences.