Spent much time as a child in segregated movie theaters, and when he saw the movie Home of the Brave (1949), which featured an African American in a lead role, he knew that he wanted to become a performer.
Was recognized as Best Actor for three years in high school against several other Southern California drama students; he was offered a scholarship to Yale, but turned it down.
Was the third African-American actor, behind Sidney Poitier and James Earl Jones, to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, for his role in Sounder in 1972.
Known for his distinctive voice, he lent it to various animated series, such as The Magic School Bus and The Simpsons, and he was the narrator for A&E's series City Confidential until his death in 2004.
Spoke out strongly for civil rights through his lifetime and was recognized for this; he won an NAACP Image Award and was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.
1972, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
1979, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Special: Nominee
1978, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series: Nominee
1995, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Winner
Charles Gillan Jr. — Ex-significant Other
Cicely Tyson — Ex-significant Other
Gina Loring — Cousin
Claude Marshall — Cousin
Lois Beatrice Winfield — Mother
William Marshall — Cousin
Malcolm Marshall — Cousin
Tariq Marshall — Cousin
Clarence Winfield — Stepfather
Patricia Wilson — Half Sister
Attended University of Portland, Portland, Oregon, United States; attended Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States; attended Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, CA, United States; attended University of California, Los Angeles, CA, US
Birth Name: Paul Edward Winfield
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, United States