Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Actor Paul Winfield dead at 62 of a heart attack

Paul Winfield, an Academy Award-nominated actor who was known for his versatility in stage, film and television roles, including a highly praised 1978 depiction of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has died. He was 62.

Winfield died Sunday of a heart attack in Los Angeles, his agent Michael Livingston said.

In 1968, Winfield played the boyfriend of Diahann Carroll in her situation comedy Julia - a role that some suggest helped open television to other black performers.

Winfield's portrayal of the father in Sounder in 1972 earned him an Academy Award nomination for best actor.

He was Emmy-nominated in 1978 for best actor in the title role of the miniseries King, and in 1979 for best supporting actor for playing a college chancellor willing to sing Negro spirituals to get donations for his school in Roots: The Next Generation.

He won an Emmy in 1995 for a guest appearance on Picket Fences.

Sidney Poitier hired Winfield for his first movie role in The Lost Man in 1969.

Other significant roles included an appearance in the Broadway play Checkmates with Denzel Washington, and his portrayal of Don King in a 1995 HBO movie.

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