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Paul Winfield

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Paul Winfield

Born : 22 May 1939
City : Los Angeles, California, United States
Rank : ( 998 )
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Paul Winfield Biography

Paul Edward Winfield (May 22, 1939 – March 7, 2004) was an American television, film and stage 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, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. He portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1978 television miniseries King, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. Winfield was also known to science fiction fans for his roles in The Terminator, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Early years

Winfield was born in Los Angeles, California to Lois Beatrice Edwards, a union organizer in the garment industry. His stepfather from the age of eight was Clarence Winfield, a city trash collector and construction worker.

Career

A life member of The Actors Studio, 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 rarely cast. He first appeared in the 1965 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Runaway Racer," as Mitch, a race car mechanic. 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.

Personal life and death

Winfield was gay but remained discreet about it in the public eye.His partner of 30 years, architect Charles Gillan, Jr., died on March 5, 2002 of bone cancer.

Winfield long battled obesity and diabetes. He died of a heart attack in 2004 at age 64, at Queen of Angels – Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles.Winfield and Gillan are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

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