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A native of Watts, the distinguished actor PAUL WINFIELD’s earliest theater experience came while he was a student at Manual Arts High School. He continued his studies as a scholarship student at the University of Portland, Stanford University, Los Angeles City College, and UCLA. Winfield had resolved to become a university professor, but black actors were beginning to make their mark in Hollywood. He received his first big break from Burgess Meredith, who cast him in Le Roi Jones’ controversial The Dutchman and the Toilet. This led to a series of walk-on parts for television; Winfield then decided to join the Stanford Repertory Theatre, followed by a stint at the Inner City Cultural Center Theatre in Los Angeles.
Winfield has amassed an impressive number of television, theater and film credits, including the roles of Professor Huegly in Roots II, for which he received an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and the title role in King, the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for which he was nominated for an Emmy as Best Actor. His film credits include Presumed Innocent; Mike’s Murder; Terminator; Star Trek II; and Sounder, for which he garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
Winfield has been honored for his civic and artistic contributions from organizations such as CORE, Black Publishers of America, National Association of Media Women, California Federation of Black Leadership, and the NAACP, which cited him with its Image Award for Best Actor.