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Paul Edward Winfield Biography: Life Achievements And Timeline

| How Africa News


Paul Edward Winfield was a well-known stage and television actor. He was the third African-American to receive an Oscar nomination. Winfield was best known for his portrayal of Nathan Morgan, a Louisiana sharecropper struggling to support his family during the Great Depression, in the landmark film Sounder, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. He also played Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1978 television miniseries King, for which he received an Emmy nomination.

Winfield was born in Los Angeles, California to union organizer Lois Edwards. Clarence Winfield, his stepfather, worked as a city trash collector and construction worker. In Los Angeles, Winfield attended Manual Arts High School. He turned down a Yale scholarship after graduation and accepted a scholarship to study theater arts at the University of Portland, Oregon, and later at the University of California.

Winfield carved out a diverse career in film, television, theater, and voiceovers by taking risky roles at a time when black actors were underutilized. He first appeared as Mitch, a race car mechanic, in the 1965 Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Runaway Racer.” His first major feature film role was in The Lost Man, a 1969 film starring Sidney Poitier. Winfield first became well-known to television audiences when he played Diahann Carroll’s boyfriend on the groundbreaking television series Julia for several years.

Winfield also appeared in science fiction films. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, he played Starfleet Captain Clark Terrell of the USS Reliant, as well as an unwilling minion of Khan Noonien Singh. He also played homosexual roles, such as Mike’s Murder in 1984 and Relax…Just It’s Sex. He was also known for his powerful and distinct voice. He provided voices for a number of films. Winfield worked in the theater throughout his career. However, his only Broadway production, Checkmates, in 1988, co-starring Ruby Dee, was also Denzel Washington’s Broadway debut.

Winfield was also nominated for an Emmy for his role in Roots: The Next Generations. In 1995, he received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his performance as Judge Harold Nance in an episode of the CBS drama Picket Fences. Winfield was a civil rights activist who received an Image Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. Winfield passed away in 2004.

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