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Paul Winfield May 22, 1941 - March 7, 2004

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Paul Winfield is best known to Star Trek fans for his portrayals of Captain Clark Terrell of the ill-fated U.S.S. Reliant in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" and in Star Trek: The Next Generation as "Dathon," the metaphor-speaking Tamarian captain in the classic "Darmok" episode.


By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Paul Winfield, who played civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. on television and earned an Oscar nomination for his role as a share-cropping father in "Sounder," has died at age 62, associates said on Tuesday.


Winfield, who had long battled weight problems and suffered a stroke in recent months, died of a heart attack on Sunday night at a Los Angeles hospital, a representative for the actor said.


Click for Spoiler:

The tall, deep-voiced actor's last role was a cameo appearance in an ABC television movie remake last year of "Sounder."


His longtime friend and co-star, Cicely Tyson, said she was devastated to learn of Winfield's death, remembering him as a "highly underrated" actor who brought a regal bearing to all his roles.


"I have not worked with a more generous and a more giving talent in the business," Tyson told Reuters in a telephone interview from New York, recalling that she often chided Winfield to take better care of himself.


Winfield and Tyson both received Academy Award nominations for their roles as the parents at the center of a strong, loving family of 1930s sharecroppers in the 1972 drama "Sounder." Winfield was only the third black man ever to earn an Oscar nomination as best actor.


Tyson recalled that "Sounder" was important to both of them because of their "genuine concern about projecting an image of a real family unit" to counter the "blaxploitation" roles that proliferated in American movies at the time.




Neither he nor Tyson won that year -- the award for best actor went to Marlon Brando for "The Godfather." But Tyson said she will never forget the gracious way in which Winfield accepted the decision by producers to switch the order of the credits to give her top billing over him.


"I said, 'You're insane. Your agent and manager negotiated a contract, and you get first billing.' And he just smiled and said, 'When you see the movie, you'll understand why.' I don't know another human being in the business that would have done that, because billing is what we live for."


Winfield teamed up again with Tyson six years later to play another father figure in "A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich."


But despite the Oscar attention he gained from "Sounder," Winfield's big-screen career during the 1970s and '80s was confined mostly to supporting roles, in such films as "Conrack," a remake of "Huckleberry Finn" playing Jim, and "Carbon Copy," as George Segal's attorney.


More recently, he played the judge presiding over the murder trial of Harrison Ford in the 1990 courtroom mystery "Presumed Innocent."


Some of Winfield's best work was on television, where he first gained attention as Diahann Carroll's love interest and neighbor on the groundbreaking sitcom "Julia," from 1968 to 1971.


He earned Emmy nominations for his title role in the acclaimed 1978 mini-series "King," about the slain civil rights leader, and for his supporting work in "Roots: The Next Generation." He finally won television's top honor for his 1995 guest-starring role as a judge on the CBS series "Picket Fences." He also portrayed boxing promoter Don King in the HBO production "Tyson."


According to the Los Angeles Times, Winfield made a hobby of breeding and showing pug dogs, sharing his Hollywood Hills home with seven pugs, each named for a Shakespearean character.





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I'm very saddened by this news. Darmok was one of my favorite episodes of TNG and was one of the first custom banners I made. This is very sad news!

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Sad news indeed..He was a wonderful actor..We will definately miss him.I'll never forget him in that TNG episode Darmok..


Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra..

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An excellent actor, who I adored, who presented many positive images in a vast array of roles, including the role in Darmok, an episode I loved. I remember being delighted when I recognized his voice under all that make-up back when I first saw the Darmok episode.


Thank you, Mr. Winfield, for being a source of pleasure for me for many years due to your fine acting! :clap::clap:


My condolences to your loved ones for their loss, which is shared by his many fans.

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May god be with your family in this geat time of sorrow.


He now walks with God!

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