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Winfield, Paul (1941-2004)  
 
page: 1  2  

In addition to on-camera work, Winfield also did voice-overs. After playing boxing promoter Don King in the HBO movie Tyson (1995, directed by Uli Edel), he voiced the King-inspired character Lucius Sweet on The Simpsons cartoon series (1996 and 1998). Beginning in 1998 he narrated the A&E cable television series City Confidential, which deals with crimes and their impact upon the cities in which they occur. Winfield's narration for this series was highly melodramatic.

Winfield was happiest performing on stage, particularly in the works of Shakespeare. He also appeared in numerous plays by modern writers.

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Winfield's avocations included home renovation, an interest that he shared with Gillan; playing the cello; and raising champion black pug dogs, whom he named after characters from his beloved Shakespeare. He also became an avid collector of objects depicting the breed, accumulating hundreds of bronze and ceramic figures, including a 600-year-old sculpture from China.

While at a dog show in Denver in the late 1990s, Winfield fell into a diabetic coma and required three weeks of hospitalization. This caused him to "take [the disease] seriously" and to speak out publicly to make African-Americans more aware of the dangers of diabetes and obesity. He was also a vocal proponent of civil rights. Within the entertainment industry he worked tirelessly to promote cultural diversity.

Winfield did not, however, play an active role in the gay rights movement. His friend actor-producer Jack Larson described him as "openly gay in his life if not in the media." Indeed, in a 1990 article in People Weekly Tim Allis wrote that Winfield "mentions no current relationship," although he and Gillan had by then been partners for well over a decade.

One cannot say with certainty why Winfield chose to maintain public silence regarding his sexual orientation. It may be noted, however, that many actors of his generation, such as Rock Hudson and Richard Chamberlain, long concealed their homosexuality for fear of losing employment.

Larson stated that Winfield had been distraught in his final years due to Gillan's death. Winfield died of a heart attack on March 7, 2004 in Los Angeles.

Linda Rapp

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arts >> Overview:  Film Actors: Gay Male

Although few gay actors have been permitted the luxury of openness, many of them have challenged and helped reconfigure notions of masculinity and, to a lesser extent, of homosexuality.

arts >> Overview:  Stage Actors and Actresses

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual actors and actresses are among the elite of contemporary theater, but only recently have many come out publicly.

arts >> Barton, Crawford

Photographer Crawford Barton captured the blossoming of an openly gay culture in San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s.

arts >> Chamberlain, Richard

Deeply closeted for most of his life, American actor Richard Chamberlain finally acknowledged his homosexuality in a memoir published in 2003.

arts >> Hudson, Rock

A product of Hollywood's star system, Rock Hudson became an international symbol of heterosexuality, wearing a mask until it was savagely ripped off when he was diagnosed with AIDS.


    Bibliography
   

"Academy Award-nominated Actor Paul Winfield Dead at 62." The Advocate (online edition) (March 10, 2004). www.advocate.com/new_news.asp?ID-11603&sd-03/10/04.

Allis, Tim. "On Charges of Stealing the Show, Paul Winfield Is Presumed Guilty." People Weekly 34 (August 20, 1990): 61-62.

Bourne, Stephen. "Obituary: Paul Winfield; Actor Nominated for an Oscar for His Role in 'Sounder.'" The Independent (London) (March 12, 2004): 43.

Hall, Ken. "Paul Winfield." Antique & Collecting Magazine 108 (November 2003): 31.

King, Susan. "Paul Winfield, 62; Actor Catapulted to Fame in 'Sounder.'" Los Angeles Times (March 9, 2004): B13.

Sullivan, Patricia. "Acclaimed Actor Paul Winfield Dies at 62." Washington Post (March 11, 2004): B6.

Trescott, Jacqueline. "The Worries of Paul Winfield; Back on Stage as Falstaff, the Actor on His Struggle to Find Other Weighty Roles." Washington Post (June 4, 1991): B1.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Winfield, Paul  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated November 5, 2005  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/winfield_p.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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