“Love & Loyalty” – By Ahmad Bell (Kindle Edition)

Ahmad Bell has a new book out now on Kindle. Mr. Bell has been very busy with his ministry, music and now putting pen to paper and writing a book. Through his hard work, diligence, and love for God, he is making a great impact on people who are seeking the Lord, love and loyalty!

Love a buzzword used in sonnets poems, songs, and plays. It’s a “Catch Phrase” used on holidays birthday cards and special events to denote a deep affection to or towards that said object. This book will explore our attitudes towards it both healthy and unhealthy to form a functional foundation to experience exactly what it is.

For more information on this book, or to purchase your copy in Kindle, please click on the tabs below, and they will direct you to Amazon.

Credit: Ahmad Bell

“Hardaway” by Victorious – Featuring Sahvon

Victorious just dropped a new video and song titled: Hardaway, featuring Sahvon an inspiring Hip Hop Artist.  Victorious along with the other artists he features in his videos are changing lives one song lyric at a time. That’s what it takes for some people, it’s like babies taking their first steps. Jesus is there to help us all who are striving to take those steps toward the finish line and into his loving arms.

Below you will find the links to order your copy of the song, and possibly make someone a gift of this song and his others.

You DON’T have live life the Hardaway! Change and NEVER go back. https://music.apple.com/us/album/hard… https://open.spotify.com/track/6l9m92…

Credit: Ahmad J. Bell aka Victorious, YouTube.com & Bing.com/images

“Wonder4l” by Victorious – Featuring GED

It’s plain to see that there is no stopping Victorious, he is out there and on fire to save as many souls and inspire as many as he possibly can through his music and ministry, and is doing a phenomenal job. We are living in Perilous times, and need all of the inspiration, love, support, and unity we can possibly get.  Keep on pushing, Victorious, I am inspired and so happy to see so many others reaching out to your ministry to find the knowledge that they did not receive in the home or ever had the opportunity to visit any churches to gain the knowledge needed to find what they were missing in life!

Ahmad J. Bell (AKA – Victorious ) is an American Public speaker, youth mentor, content provider, Recording Artist, Concert Organizer/Promoter and Motivational Speaker. Heeding his Pastors instructions he stood up and began to share the gospel through Christian Hip Hop and become a force in regional and national ministry platforms as a solo artist, member of The Warriors ATX As a member of the The Warriors ATX he won several Holy Hip Awards from THHHA (Texas Holy Hip Hop Awards) and was honored by the TGAG (Texas Gospel Announcers Guild) for Perseverance inside of the genre. Victorious has appeared on over 35 albums and 4 mixtapes. With the Warriors ATX he released 3 full length albums. As a solo artist he has released 3 solo records. He has also toured and ministered alongside of artist such as, Lecrae, Tedashii, Trip Lee, Bizzle, THISL,Bryan Trejo, Flame, Da T.R.U.T.H., Canton Jones, VRose, The Walls Group, Kirk Franklin, Jonathan Reynolds, JJ Hairston and many more. “None of my accomplishments mean anything if I am not pointing back to the cross!” said Victorious ” Purpose is the ONLY reason for holding the microphone and standing on stage.” Victorious’ New project is called #standforsomething and is medicine and a how to begin again when life has thrown you a curve ball. Doesn’t matter if your 15 or 35 life comes at you at the speed of life and we all must learn how to endure and Overcome Last Project #pressreset is available on iTunes.

Wonder4l ℗ 2021 Victorious Life Entertainment/Management Released on: 2021-12-03 and now available on Spotify.com.

Credit: Ahmad J. Bell aka Victorious, YouTube.com & Bing.com/images

Walter Winchell – Biography and Timeline – People


Walter Winchell photographed in 1944.

No matter if the public loved him or hated him.  One thing for sure, if you were a celebrity or a person of status, there was a good chance that you could end up in one of Walter Winchell’s columns. He would later prove to be a force to be reckoned with, but was always on top of a good story.

Born Walter Winschel on April 7, 1897 and grew up poor in East Harlem, New York, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He quickly rose from vaudeville hoofer to Broadway blabber by posting gossip about his acting troupe on backstage bulletin boards. Winchell’s career took off with a notorious tabloid, the New York Evening Graphic. That became a springboard to Hearst’s Daily Mirror, to countrywide syndication, and to the new medium of radio. His signature columns were crammed with snappy, acerbic banter. His broadcasts were slangy, delivered in machine-gun staccato while clacking a telegraph key alongside. Each week, a growing audience tuned in to hear him sign on, “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America, from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. Let’s go to press!”

Winchell invented a new form of newspaper writing and radio delivery. He created slang and “Winchellisms,” indeed a whole language, “Winchellese,” where falling in love became “pashing it,” or “Garbo-ing it,” while newlyweds awaited a “blessed event,” unless their relationship was “phffft” or about to be “Reno-vated.” Winchell would string together partial phrases, thinly veiled rumors and mere allegations. He had a knack for spinning tales about famous people, exploiting his contacts and trading gossip with friends, often in return for his silence.

“Winchell was all about the grotty exercise of power,” says cultural critic Kurt Andersen. “Relentlessly and specifically, day after day doling out bits of patronage or punishment in response to the greedy murmur of little men. Studios would pay a press agent as much as $5,000, the equivalent of $25,000 today, for giving a movie an ‘orchid,’ Winchell’s maximum praise.”

A plug in Winchell’s column could guarantee any show a successful run or raise the profile of a starlet. Equally, a dig in the column could tarnish or even destroy professional reputations, as acclaimed performer Josephine Baker and talk-show host Barry Gray learned the hard way. Winchell spewed searing attacks in print and on the air at Baker after she publicly complained that she was the object of a racial snub at his favorite haunt, the Stork Club. Her career never recovered. After radio talk show host Barry Gray invited Baker to explain what happened on his radio show, Winchell viciously and repeatedly attacked Gray as well. His shrill outbursts became a cause célèbre, stirring one rival, Ed Sullivan, to declare, “I despise Walter Winchell because he symbolizes to me evil and treacherous things in the American setup.”

Yet Winchell was nothing if not contradictory. When he wasn’t exercising his power to destroy careers, he was using it to elevate “Mr. and Mrs. America,” publicizing bureaucratic injustices and letting the common man and woman in on the secrets of the rich and powerful. The populist tinge to his early work transformed into a full-blown political consciousness following a 1933 meeting with newly elected Franklin Roosevelt, in which the president recruited Winchell to promote his agenda to America. Winchell became an effective tool in Roosevelt’s effort to persuade an isolationist-leaning America to intervene in in Europe’s looming conflict. He was also the first major commentator to directly attack Adolf Hitler and American pro-fascist organizations such as the German American Bund.

After President Roosevelt’s death, Winchell lost his moral bearings for nearly a decade. Personally, he faced successive tragedies: broken marriages and failed relationships, the death of his young daughter and his grown son’s suicide. Professionally, he played all sides, schmoozing with Al Capone even as he befriended J. Edgar Hoover. He served as Roosevelt’s most faithful mouthpiece, then inexplicably championed McCarthyism, having been recruited to the cause by the senator’s young aide. Writes Herman Klurfeld, Winchell’s ghostwriter for thirty years and subsequent biographer, “ Winchell was an egomaniac, he was stubborn and in the end he was fooled by an evil devil named Roy Cohn.”

Winchell saw yet another failure when he attempted to transition to television. He was simply not telegenic. “The familiar hat and pulled down tie are a throwback to the old news papering days,” one critic smirked. The energy Winchell projected so forcefully on radio looked manic on TV, bordering on crazy.

It is a cruel irony that Winchell created the cycle of celebrity – the meteoric rise followed by the crushing fall – and then fell to it himself. “I died on October 16, 1963,” he said the day his flagship paper, the New York Daily Mirror, folded. His final breath, drawn nine years later, was just a formality. “He was not only present at the creation of modern journalism,” concludes biographer Neal Gabler, “in many respects he was the creation.”

Winchell begins performing in vaudeville revues led by composer Gus Edwards. He would tour the national vaudeville circuit for the next 10 years.

Spring 1910
First newspaper job

Fall 1920

Winchell gets his first newspaper job at the Vaudeville News, a trade paper.New York Daily Mirror

Winchell jumps over to William Randolph Hearst’s tabloid, the New York Daily Mirror, where he remains until the Mirror folds in 1963. His column gains a nationwide audience when it is picked up by Hearst’s King Features Syndicate.

June 10, 1929
Radio debut

Radio debut

Winchell’s first radio show, “Before Dinner – Walter Winchell” debuts on WABC.

May 12, 1930

PHOTO: Young Winchell sits at an FBC mic. PHOTO: © Globe Photos, inc.

NBC-Blue network debut


Josephine Baker controversy at the Stork Club

Winchell's death
 Walter Winchell: The Power of Gossip


Full Episode | Walter Winchell: The Power of Gossip

Clip | Walter Winchell and the “trial of the century”

Clip | The time Walter Winchell condemned an American Nazi rally


Ahmad Bell, AKA Victorious – “Love Worth Living For” Featuring Joshua Bridgewater”

Ahmad Bell is back again with a new single titled “Love Worth Living For,” featuring Joshua Bridgewater who is also a Gospel Hip Hop artist getting the word out that Jesus lives and loves us all.  Both men talk to both the youths and adults about staying away from drugs and the wrong crowd and living a life that is pleasing to our father in heaven.

I am adding some links for those of you who would like to know more about Victorious and his passion for Christ to visit my post about this phenomenal man of God.  I sure hope each of you get something out of the lyrics and music.


To sample some of the music or make a purchase, please visit: https://music.apple.com/us/album/we-are-victorious-w-a-v/1476688146.

You can also follow him on Spotify at: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6L2LpVW3yBoLPjLVewW34o

Ralph Waldo Ellison – An American Novelist, Literary Critic, and cholar

See the source image

Ralph Waldo Ellison (March 1, 1913– April 16, 1994) was an American novelist, literary critic, and scholar who is best known for his novel “Invisible Man,” which won the National Book Award in 1953. He also wrote Shadow and Act (1964), a collection of political, social and critical essays, and Going to the Territory (1986). For The New York Times, the best of these essays in addition to the novel put him “among the gods of America’s literary Parnassus.” A posthumous novel, Juneteenth, was published after being assembled from voluminous notes he left upon his death.
Early life –

Ralph Waldo Ellison, named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, was born at 407 East First Street in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Lewis Alfred Ellison and Ida Millsap, on March 1, 1914. He was the second of three sons; firstborn Alfred died in infancy, and younger brother Herbert Maurice (or Millsap) was born in 1916. Lewis Alfred Ellison, a small-business owner and a construction foreman, died in 1916, after an operation to cure internal wounds suffered after shards from a 100-lb ice block penetrated his abdomen, when it was dropped while being loaded into a hopper. The elder Ellison loved literature, and doted on his children, Ralph discovering as an adult that his father had hoped he would grow up to be a poet.

In 1921, Ellison’s mother and her children moved to Gary, Indiana, where she had a brother. According to Ellison, his mother felt that “my brother and I would have a better chance of reaching manhood if we grew up in the north.” When she did not find a job and her brother lost his, the family returned to Oklahoma, where Ellison worked as a busboy, a shoeshine boy, hotel waiter, and a dentist’s assistant. From the father of a neighborhood friend, he received free lessons for playing trumpet and alto saxophone, and would go on to become the school bandmaster. Ida remarried three times after Lewis died. However, the family life was precarious, and Ralph worked various jobs during his youth and teens to assist with family support. While attending Douglass High School, he also found time to play on the school’s football team. He graduated from high school in 1931. He worked for a year, and found the money to make a down payment on a trumpet, using it to play with local musicians, and to take further music lessons. At Douglass, he was influenced by principal Inman E. Page and his daughter, music teacher Zelia N. Breaux.
At Tuskegee Institute –

Ellison applied twice for admission to Tuskegee Institute, the prestigious all-black university in Alabama founded by Booker T. Washington. He was finally admitted in 1933 for lack of a trumpet player in its orchestra. Ellison hopped freight trains to get to Alabama, and was soon to find out that the institution was no less class-conscious than white institutions generally were.

Ellison’s outsider position at Tuskegee “sharpened his satirical lens,” critic Hilton Als believes: “Standing apart from the university’s air of sanctimonious Negritude enabled him to write about it.” In passages of Invisible Man, “he looks back with scorn and despair on the snivelling ethos that ruled at Tuskegee.”

Tuskegee’s music department was perhaps the most renowned department at the school, headed by composer William L. Dawson. Ellison also was guided by the department’s piano instructor, Hazel Harrison. While he studied music primarily in his classes, he spent his free time in the library with modernist classics. He cited reading T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land as a major awakening moment. In 1934, he began to work as a desk clerk at the university library, where he read James Joyce and Gertrude Stein. Librarian Walter Bowie Williams enthusiastically let Ellison share in his knowledge.

A major influence upon Ellison was English teacher Morteza Drezel Sprague, to whom Ellison later dedicated his essay collection Shadow and Act. He opened Ellison’s eyes to “the possibilities of literature as a living art” and to “the glamour he would always associate with the literary life. “Through Sprague, Ellison became familiar with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, identifying with the “brilliant, tortured anti-heroes” of those works.

As a child, Ellison evidenced what would become a lifelong interest in audio technology, starting by taking apart and rebuilding radios, and later moved on to constructing and customizing elaborate hi-fi stereo systems as an adult. He discussed this passion in a December 1955 essay, “Living With Music,” in High Fidelity magazine. Ellison scholar John S. Wright contends that this deftness with the ins-and-outs of electronic devices went on to inform Ellison’s approach to writing and the novel form. Ellison remained at Tuskegee until 1936, and decided to leave before completing the requirements for a degree.
In New York –

Desiring to study sculpture, he moved to New York City on 5 July 1936 and found lodging at a YMCA on 135th Street in Harlem, then “the culture capital of black America.” He met Langston Hughes, “Harlem’s unofficial diplomat” of the Depression era, and one—as one of the country’s celebrity black authors—who could live from his writing. Hughes introduced him to the black literary establishment with Communist sympathies.

He met several artists who would influence his later life, including the artist Romare Bearden and the author Richard Wright (with whom he would have a long and complicated relationship). After Ellison wrote a book review for Wright, Wright encouraged him to write fiction as a career. His first published story was “Hymie’s Bull,” inspired by Ellison’s 1933 hoboing on a train with his uncle to get to Tuskegee. From 1937 to 1944, Ellison had over 20 book reviews, as well as short stories and articles, published in magazines such as New Challenge and The New Masses.

Wright was then openly associated with the Communist Party, and Ellison was publishing and editing for communist publications, although his “affiliation was quieter,” according to historian Carol Polsgrove in Divided Minds. Both Wright and Ellison lost their faith in the Communist Party during World War II, when they felt the party had betrayed African Americans and replaced Marxist class politics with social reformism. In a letter to Wright, dated August 18, 1945, Ellison poured out his anger with party leaders: “If they want to play ball with the bourgeoisie they needn’t think they can get away with it. … Maybe we can’t smash the atom, but we can, with a few well chosen, well written words, smash all that crummy filth to hell.” In the wake of this disillusion, Ellison began writing Invisible Man, a novel that was, in part, his response to the party’s betrayal.

In 1938, Ellison met Rosa Araminta Poindexter, a woman two years his senior. They were married in late 1938. Rose was a stage actress, and continued her career after their marriage. In biographer Arnold Rampersad’s assessment of Ellison’s taste in women, he was searching for one “physically attractive and smart who would love, honor, and obey him–but not challenge his intellect.” At first they lived at 312 West 122nd Street, Rose’s apartment, but moved to 453 West 140th Street after her income shrank. In 1941 he briefly had an affair with Sanora Babb, which he confessed to his wife afterward, and in 1943 the marriage was over.

At the start of World War II, Ellison was classed 1A by the local Selective Service System, and thus eligible for the draft. However, he was not drafted. Toward the end of the war, he enlisted in the United States Merchant Marine. In 1946, he married Fanny McConnell, an accomplished person in her own right: a scholarship graduate of the University of Iowa who was a founder of the Negro People’s Theater in Chicago and a writer for The Chicago Defender. She helped support Ellison financially while he wrote Invisible Man by working for American Medical Center for Burma Frontiers (the charity supporting Gordon S. Seagrave’s medical missionary work). From 1947 to 1951, he earned some money writing book reviews but spent most of his time working on Invisible Man. Fanny also helped type Ellison’s longhand text and assisted him in editing the typescript as it progressed.

Published in 1952, Invisible Man explores the theme of a person’s search for their identity and place in society, as seen from the perspective of the first-person narrator, an unnamed African American man, first in the Deep South and then in the New York City of the 1930s. In contrast to his contemporaries such as Richard Wright and James Baldwin, Ellison created characters that are dispassionate, educated, articulate, and self-aware. Through the protagonist, Ellison explores the contrasts between the Northern and Southern varieties of racism and their alienating effect. The narrator is “invisible” in a figurative sense, in that “people refuse to see” him, and also experiences a kind of dissociation. The novel also contains taboo issues such as incest and the controversial subject of communism.
Later years –

In 1964, Ellison published Shadow and Act, a collection of essays, and began to teach at Bard College, Rutgers University and Yale University, while continuing to work on his novel. The following year, a Book Week poll of 200 critics, authors, and editors was released that proclaimed Invisible Man the most important novel since World War II.

In 1967, Ellison experienced a major house fire at his summer home in Plainfield, Massachusetts, in which he claimed more than 300 pages of his second novel manuscript were lost. A perfectionist regarding the art of the novel, Ellison had said in accepting his National Book Award for Invisible Man that he felt he had made “an attempt at a major novel” and, despite the award, he was unsatisfied with the book. Ellison ultimately wrote more than 2,000 pages of this second novel but never finished it.
Ellison died on April 16, 1994, of pancreatic cancer and was interred in a crypt at Trinity Church Cemetery in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan.
Awards and recognition –

Invisible Man won the 1953 US National Book Award for Fiction.

The award was his ticket into the American literary establishment. He eventually was admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, received two President’s Medals (from Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan) and a State Medal from France. He was the first African-American admitted to the Century Association and was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Harvard University. Disillusioned by his experience with the Communist Party, he used his new fame to speak out for literature as a moral instrument. In 1955 he traveled to Europe, visiting and lecturing, settling for a time in Rome, where he wrote an essay that appeared in a 1957 Bantam anthology called A New Southern Harvest. Robert Penn Warren was in Rome during the same period, and the two writers became close friends. Later, Warren would interview Ellison about his thoughts on race, history, and the Civil Rights Movement for his book Who Speaks for the Negro? In 1958, Ellison returned to the United States to take a position teaching American and Russian literature at Bard College and to begin a second novel, Juneteenth. During the 1950s, he corresponded with his lifelong friend, the writer Albert Murray. In their letters they commented on the development of their careers, the Civil Rights Movement, and other common interests including jazz. Much of this material was published in the collection Trading Twelves (2000).

Writing essays about both the black experience and his love for jazz music, Ellison continued to receive major awards for his work. In 1969, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom; the following year, he was made a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Letters by France and became a permanent member of the faculty at New York University as the Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities, serving from 1970 to 1980.

In 1975, Ellison was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and his hometown of Oklahoma City honored him with the dedication of the Ralph Waldo Ellison Library. Continuing to teach, Ellison published mostly essays, and in 1984, he received the New York City College’s, Langston Hughes Medal. In 1985, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 1986, his Going to the Territory was published; this is a collection of seventeen essays that included insight into southern novelist William Faulkner and Ellison’s friend Richard Wright, as well as the music of Duke Ellington and the contributions of African Americans to America’s national identity.

In 1992, Ellison was awarded a special achievement award from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards; his artistic achievements included work as a sculptor, musician, photographer, and college professor as well as his writing output. He taught at Bard College, Rutgers University, the University of Chicago, and New York University. Ellison was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
Legacy and posthumous publications –

After Ellison’s death, more manuscripts were discovered in his home, resulting in the publication of Flying Home and Other Stories in 1996. In 1999, his second novel, Juneteenth, was published under the editorship of John F. Callahan, a professor at Lewis & Clark College and Ellison’s literary executor. It was a 368-page condensation of more than 2,000 pages written by Ellison over a period of 40 years. All the manuscripts of this incomplete novel were published collectively on January 26, 2010, by Modern Library, under the title Three Days Before the Shooting…

On February 18, 2014, the USPS issued a 91¢ stamp honoring Ralph Ellison in its Literary Arts series.

A park on 150th Street and Riverside Drive in Harlem (near 730 Riverside Drive, Ellison’s principal residence from the early 1950s until his death) was dedicated to Ellison on May 1, 2003. In the park stands a 15 by 8-foot bronze slab with a “cut-out man figure” inspired by his book Invisible Man.


Invisible no longer –

As the calendar nears the end of Black History Month, we’re paying a visit to the memorial for American writer Ralph Ellison in New York’s Riverside Park. The 15-foot-tall bronze monolith depicts a striding, purposeful figure—or rather, the absence of a figure. This sculpture, by artist Elizabeth Catlett, was inspired by Ellison’s most famous written work, ‘Invisible Man,’ published in 1952. The lyrical, uncompromising novel is narrated by an unnamed Black man who describes his agonizing search for identity in a society largely hostile to African Americans and blind to the suffering and indignities of the Black experience. The sculpture bears an inscription of the novel’s opening words: ‘I am an invisible man…I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.’ Widely recognized as one of the greatest American novels of the 20th century, ‘Invisible Man’ won the National Book Award in 1953 and remains one of the most searing portraits of modern American life.
Credit: wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Ellison
Photo credits: wikipedia.org & yahoo.com/images

Christopher Plummer – The Life and Death of a Movie Icon (December 13, 1929 – February 5, 2021)

Christopher Plummer was one of the most credible, genius, sincere actors of our time. He was genuine in every part he played on screen. His tall, suave appearance, beautiful accent, eyes that seemed to penetrate the heart of any woman he laid eyes on, and I must say, he attracted the eye of many women on screen and off. I can honestly say years ago I had a crush on him myself. Up until his death, he was still an incredibly handsome man, gifted actor, and humanitarian.

My favorite movies with Christopher Plummer were, “Somewhere in Time,” and “Wolf.” May this beautiful man rest in peace.  His legacy will forever live in our hearts!

Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer CC (December 13, 1929 – February 5, 2021) was a Canadian actor. His career spanned seven decades, gaining recognition for his performances in film, television, and theatre. Plummer made his Broadway debut in 1954 and continued to act in leading roles on stage playing Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano (1974), Iago in Othello, as well as playing the titular roles in Hamlet at Elsinore (1964), Macbeth, King Lear, and Barrymore. Plummer also performed in stage productions J.B., No Man’s Land, and Inherit the Wind.

Plummer was born in Toronto and grew up in Senneville, Quebec. After appearing on stage, he made his film debut in Sidney Lumet’s Stage Struck (1958), and won great acclaim for his performance as Captain Georg von Trapp in the musical film The Sound of Music (1965) alongside Julie Andrews. Plummer portrayed numerous major historical figures, including Commodus in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington in Waterloo (1970), Rudyard Kipling in The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Mike Wallace in The Insider (1999), Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009), Kaiser Wilhelm II in The Exception (2016), and J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World (2017). Plummer also appeared in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992), Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001), Terrence Malick’s The New World (2005), David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019), and Todd Robinson’s The Last Full Measure (2019).

Plummer received various awards for his work, including an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Tony Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a British Academy Film Award. He is one of the few performers to have received the Triple Crown of Acting and the only Canadian. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the age of 82 for Beginners (2010), becoming the oldest person to win an acting award, and he received a nomination at the age of 88 for All the Money in the World, making him the oldest person to be nominated in an acting category.

 Early life – 

Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born on December 13, 1929, in Toronto, Ontario. He was the only child of John Orme Plummer, who sold stocks and other securities, and his wife Isabella Mary (née Abbott), who worked as secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University and was the granddaughter of Canadian Prime Minister Sir John Abbott. On his father’s side, Plummer’s great-uncle was a patent lawyer and agent F. B. Fetherstonhaugh. Plummer was also a second cousin of British actor Nigel Bruce, known for portraying Doctor Watson to Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes.

Plummer’s parents divorced shortly after his birth, and he was brought up mainly by his mother in the Abbott family home in Senneville, Quebec, outside Montreal. He spoke English and French fluently. As a schoolboy, he began studying to be a concert pianist, but developed a love for theatre at an early age, and began acting while he was attending the High School of Montreal. He took up acting after watching Laurence Olivier’s film Henry V (1944). He learned the basics of acting as an apprentice with the Montreal Repertory Theatre, where fellow Montrealer William Shatner also played.

Plummer never attended university, something he regretted all his life. Although his mother and his father’s family had ties with McGill University, he was never a McGill student.

In 1946, he caught the attention of Montreal Gazette’s theatre critic Herbert Whittaker with his performance as Mr. Darcy in a Montreal High School production of “Pride and Prejudice.” Whittaker was also amateur stage director of the Montreal Repertory Theatre, and he cast Plummer at age 18 as Oedipus in Jean Cocteau’s La Machine Infernale.

Plummer made his professional acting debut in 1948 with Ottawa’s Stage Society after which he performed roles as an apprentice artist with the Montreal Repertory Theatre alongside fellow apprenticing actor William Shatner. In 1952, he starred in a number of productions at the Bermudiana Theatre in the City of Hamilton, in the British colony of Bermuda where he was seen and recruited by a US producer, although he was reluctant to leave Bermuda.  Edward Everett Horton hired Plummer to appear as Gerard in the 1953 roadshow production of André Roussin’s Nina, a role originated on Broadway by David Niven in 1951.

Plummer made his Canadian television debut in the February 1953 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation production of Othello, starring Lorne Greene as the Moor. His American television debut was also in 1953 on a Studio One episode entitled “The Gathering Night”, as an artist who finds success just as his eyesight begins to fail him. He also appeared throughout the 1950s on both dramatic showcase programs like The Alcoa Hour, General Electric Theater, Kraft Television Theatre, and Omnibus and episodic series. In 1956, he appeared with Jason Robards and Constance Ford in an episode entitled “A Thief There Was” of CBS’s anthology series Appointment with Adventure.

Plummer made his Broadway debut in January 1953 in “The Starcross Story,” a show that closed on opening night after a plagiarism lawsuit shut down the production. His next Broadway appearance, Home is the Hero, lasted 30 performances from September to October 1954. He appeared in support of Broadway legend Katharine Cornell and film legend Tyrone Power in “The Dark Is Light Enough,” which lasted 69 performances from February to April 1955. The play toured several cities, with Plummer serving as Power’s understudy. Later that same year, he appeared in his first Broadway hit, opposite Julie Harris (who won a Tony Award) in Jean Anouilh’s The Lark. After appearing in Night of the Auk, which was not a success, Plummer appeared in Elia Kazan’s successful Broadway production of Archibald MacLeish’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play J.B. Plummer was nominated for his first Tony as Best Actor in Play. (J.B. also won some Tony’s as Best Play and for Kazan’s direction.) He appeared as Jason opposite Dame Judith Anderson in Robinson Jeffers’ adaptation of Medea at the Theatre Sara Bernhardt in Paris in 1955. The American National Theatre and Academy production, directed by Guthrie McClintic, was part of Le Festival International. Also in 1955, he played Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and Ferdinand in The Tempest at the American Shakespeare Festival (Stratford, Connecticut). He returned to the American Shakespeare Festival in 1981 to play the title role in Henry V. Plummer made his debut at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 1956, playing the title role in Henry V, which subsequently was performed that year at the Edinburgh Festival. He played the title role in Hamlet and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night at Stratford in 1957. The following year, he played Leontes in The Winter’s Tale, Bardolph in Henry IV, Part 1, and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing.

Plummer’s film career began in 1958 when Sidney Lumet cast him as a young writer in Stage Struck. That same year, Plummer played the lead in Nicholas Ray’s film Wind Across the Everglades. Also in 1958, he appeared in the live television drama Little Moon of Alban with Julie Harris, for which he received his first Emmy Award nomination. He also appeared with Harris in the 1958 television adaptation of Johnny Belinda and played Torvald Helmer to Harris’ Nora in a 1959 television version of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

The 1960s –

Plummer also starred in the television adaptations of Philip Barry’s The Philadelphia Story (1959), George Bernard Shaw’s Captain Brassbound’s Conversion (1960), Jean Anouilh’s Time Remembered (playing the role of Prince Albert originated by Richard Burton on Broadway), and Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1962). In 1964, his performance of the Gloomy Dane in the BBC production Hamlet at Elsinore garnered him his second Emmy nomination. At the Stratford Festival in 1960, he played Philip the Bastard in King John and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. In 1962 at Stratford, he played the title roles in both Cyrano de Bergerac and Macbeth, returning in 1967 to play Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra.

In April 1961, he appeared as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing with the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He also appeared with the RSC in May 1961 in the lead role of Richard III. He made his London debut on June 11, 1961, playing King Henry II in Jean Anouilh’s Becket with the RSC at the Aldwych Theatre, directed by Peter Hall. The production later transferred to the Globe for a December 1961 to April 1962 run. For his performance, Plummer won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actor. In 1963, he was the subject of a short National Film Board of Canada documentary, 30 Minutes, Mister Plummer, directed by Anne Claire Poirier. Plummer did not appear on the film screen for six years after 1958 until he played the Roman emperor Commodus in Anthony Mann’s epic The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). He played Hamlet in a four-hundred centenary television production Hamlet at Elsinore, produced by Danish and British BBC TV (1964), taped at Elsinore Castle.

His next film, the Oscar-winning The Sound of Music, made cinematic history, becoming the all-time top-grossing film, eclipsing Gone with the Wind.

He was in Inside Daisy Clover (1965), then played World War Two agent Eddie Chapman in Triple Cross (1966), and had a supporting role as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in The Night of the Generals (1967). Plummer was cast to replace Rex Harrison for the film adaptation of Doctor Dolittle. This decision was later reversed, but Plummer was nonetheless paid $87,500 for signing the contract. At the same time, Plummer was performing in the stage play The Royal Hunt of the Sun, and his whole Dolittle participation was so brief that Plummer never missed a performance.

Plummer had the title role in Oedipus the King (1968) and The High Commissioner (1968), playing an Australian in the latter. Plummer was one of many stars in Battle of Britain (1969), and the lead in a musical, Lock Up Your Daughters (1969).

Plummer appeared less frequently on Broadway in the 1960s as he moved from New York to London. He appeared in the title role in a 1963 production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, which did not succeed, but he had great success in Peter Shaffer’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun, playing conquistador Francisco Pizarro to David Carradine’s Atahuallpa. Both performances were “stunning,” as Plummer did wonders “of extraordinary beauty and deep pain” in playing his complex character. In the 1969 film adaptation of The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Plummer plays the Inca Emperor Atahualpa to Robert Shaw’s Pizarro.

Main article: The Sound of Music (film)

Plummer remains widely known for his portrayal of Captain Von Trapp due to the box office success and continued popularity of The Sound of Music (1965), which he once described as “so awful and sentimental and gooey”. He found all aspects of making the film unpleasant, except working with Andrews, and he avoided using its name, instead of calling it “that movie”, “S&M”, or “The Sound of Mucus”. He declined to attend the 40th Anniversary cast reunion, but he did provide commentary on the 2005 DVD release. He relented for the 45th anniversary and appeared with the full cast on The Oprah Winfrey Show on October 28, 2010.

In 2009, Plummer said that he was “a bit bored with the character” of Captain von Trapp. “Although we worked hard enough to make him interesting, it was a bit like flogging a dead horse. And the subject matter is not mine. I mean, it can’t appeal to every person in the world.” However, he admitted that the film itself was well made and was proud to be associated with a film with such mass appeal. “But it was a very well-made movie, and it’s a family movie and we haven’t seen a family movie, I don’t think, on that scale for ages.” In one interview he said that he had “terrific memories” of making the movie.

The 1970s –

From June 1971 to January 1972, he appeared at the National Theatre, acting in repertory for the season. The plays he appeared in were Jean Giraudoux’s Amphitryon 38 directed by Laurence Olivier, Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Death (director Jonathan Miller); Adrian Mitchell’s Tyger; Luigi Pirandello’s The Rules of the Game; and Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night at the New Theatre in London. From May to June 1973, he appeared on Broadway as the title character in Cyrano, a musical adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Anthony Burgess and Michael J. Lewis. For that performance, Plummer won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. Later that year, he played Anton Chekhov in Neil Simon’s adaptation of several Chekhov short stories, The Good Doctor. Another notable play in which he appeared was the 1974 adaptation of Arthur Miller’s After the Fall, in which he played Quentin (a part originated on Broadway by Jason Robards opposite Faye Dunaway’s Maggie.

On-screen, Plummer portrayed the Duke of Wellington in Waterloo (1970). The Pyx (1973) was his first Canadian film. He also appeared in The Man Who Would Be King (1975) (playing Rudyard Kipling) alongside Michael Caine and Sean Connery. He also appeared in the comedy The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), alongside Peter Sellers and The Silent Partner (1978) opposite Elliott Gould. He appeared in Aces High (1976), Starcrash (1978), International Velvet (1978), and Murder by Decree (1979) (playing Sherlock Holmes). Plummer appeared in Lovers and Madmen at the Opera House at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 1973 and in Love and Master Will at the same venue in 1975. Love and Master Will consisted of selections from the works of William Shakespeare on the subject of love, arranged by Plummer. His co-stars were Zoe Caldwell, Bibi Andersson, and Leonard Nimoy. Plummer played “Edgar” in E. L. Doctorow’s Drinks before Dinner with the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Public/Newman Theatre in New York City in 1978. He appeared as Herod Antipas in the television miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (1977) alongside the ensemble cast which included Laurence Olivier,  James Earl Jones, and James Mason.

The 1980s –

In the 1980s, he appeared on Broadway in two Shakespearean tragedies, Othello, playing Iago to James Earl Jones’ Moor, and the title role in Macbeth with Glenda Jackson playing his lady. His Iago brought him another Tony nomination.

Plummer appeared as Gregory Peck’s character’s enemy in the true based made for television movie The Scarlet and the Black in 1983 and also that year in the five-time Emmy Award-winning television series The Thorn Birds (1983) alongside Barbara Stanwyck, and Jean Simmons. In the film, Plummer appeared in the romantic drama “Somewhere in Time ‘ (1980), the drama Eyewitness (1981), the comedy Dragnet (1987), and Shadow Dancing (1988). Plummer also did some voice work, such as his role of Henri the pigeon in An American Tail (1986) and the villainous Grand Duke of Owls in Rock-a-Doodle (1991), both directed by Don Bluth.

The 1990s –

He appeared with Jason Robards in the 1994 revival of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land and had great success in 1997 in Barrymore, which he also toured with after a successful Broadway run. His turn as John Barrymore brought him his second Tony Award (this time as Best Actor in Play) and a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Actor in a Play. From 1993 to 1995, he narrated the animated television series Madeline, for which he received an Emmy Award, as well as the animated television series The World of David the Gnome.

Plummer continued acting in films including the science fiction film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), which was a welcome opportunity for Plummer since he was a fan of the Star Trek franchise which also allowed him to perform with his former understudy and long-time friend, William Shatner. He also appeared in Spike Lee’s biographical drama Malcolm X (1992), Mike Nichol’s horror drama Wolf (1994), Taylor Hackford’s psychological drama Dolores Claiborne (1995), and Terry Gilliam’s science fiction drama 12 Monkeys (1995). One of Plummer’s most critically acclaimed roles was that of television journalist Mike Wallace in Michael Mann’s biographical film The Insider (1999), for which he was honored with several critics’ awards for Best Supporting Actor, though a corresponding Academy Award nomination did not materialize.

The 2000s –

Plummer at the premiere for “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” 2009

In 2000, Plummer starred as Sir David Maxwell Fyfe in the Primetime Emmy Award-winning Nuremberg (2000) also featuring Alec Baldwin, Brian Cox, and Max Von Sydow, and the Emmy-winning The Moneychangers for which he won his first Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series. That same year he co-starred in American Tragedy as F. Lee Bailey for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination and appeared in Four Minute Mile, Miracle Planet, and a documentary by Ric Burns about Eugene O’Neill. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his performance in Our Fathers and reunited with Julie Andrews for a television production of On Golden Pond. He was the narrator for The Gospel of John. He also co-starred with Gregory Peck in “The Scarlet and the Black.”

Plummer reprised his role from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in the video game “Star Trek: Klingon Academy.” In 2011, he provided the voice of Arngeir, speaker for the Greybeards, in “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” In 2004, Plummer appeared as a presenter in the CPAC documentary series The Prime Ministers. He appears in the third episode, “John Abbott” as Plummer is Abbott’s great-grandson).

In 2002, he appeared in a lauded production of “King Lear,” directed by Jonathan Miller. The production successfully transferred to New York City’s Lincoln Center in 2004. He was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for his 2004 King Lear and for a Tony playing Henry Drummond in the 2007 revival of Inherit the Wind. He returned to the stage at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in August 2008 in a critically acclaimed performance as Julius Caesar in George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra directed by Tony winner Des McAnuff; this production was videotaped and shown in high-definition in Canadian cinemas on January 31, 2009 (with an encore presentation on February 23, 2009) and broadcast on April 4, 2009, on Bravo in n Canada.

Plummer’s other turns from this period include his roles as Dr. Rosen in Ron Howard’s Academy Award-winning A Beautiful Mind (2001), Arthur Case in Spike Lee’s film Inside Man (2006), and the philosopher Aristotle in Alexander, alongside Colin Farrell. In 2004, Plummer briefly played John Adams Gates in the Disney adventure film National Treasure. He also appeared in Stephen Gaghan’s’ drama Syriana (2005), the romantic comedy “Must Love Dogs”(2005), Terrence Malick’s historical drama The New World (2005), and the romantic drama “The Lake House,” (2006). In 2009, Plummer gave a voice performance for Pixar’s animated film Up where he played the antagonistic character, Charles Muntz. That same year he also lent his voice in Tim Burton-produced action/science fiction film 9 playing elder leader 1.

The 2010s – 

Plummer in 2007

In January 2010, Plummer received his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of author Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). Speaking to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview that aired on March 7, 2010, Plummer added, tongue-in-cheek, “Well, I said it’s about time! I mean, I’m 80 years old, for God’s sake. Have mercy.” On Oscar night, March 7, 2010, however, he lost to Christoph Waltz. 

In 2009 and 2010, Plummer starred in two-stage to screen adaptations of the Stratford Festival productions of George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Both plays were directed for the stage by Des McAnuff and produced by Barry Avrich. The Tempest won Plummer a Canadian Screen Award for Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program.

In 2011, he appeared in the feature-length documentary “The Captains.” The film, written and directed by William Shatner, sees Shatner interview Plummer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival Theatre where they talk about their young careers, long-lasting friendship, and Plummer’s role as Chang in Star Trek VI. The film references that Shatner, two years Plummer’s junior, was the other’s understudy in a production of Henry V at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. When Plummer had fallen ill, Shatner took the stage, earning his first big break.

That same year, Plummer appeared in David Fincher’s English-language film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, and Stellan Skarsgård. The film was a critical and commercial success. Earlier that year, Plummer received his second nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Mike Mills’ independent comedy-drama film “Beginners” (2011) starring Ewan McGregor, and Mélanie Laurent. Plummer was announced as the winner at the 84th Academy Awards. Plummer’s win made him, at age 82, the oldest actor to win an Academy Award. When he accepted the award, he quipped “You’re only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all my life?”.

Plummer returned to the Stratford Festival in the summer of 2010 in The Tempest as the lead character, Prospero (also videotaped and shown in high-def in cinemas), and again in the summer of 2012 in the one-man show, A Word or Two, an autobiographical exploration of his love of literature. In 2014, Plummer presented A Word or Two again, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. In 2015 he starred in the Atom Egoyan-directed thriller Remember starring alongside Martin Landau and Bruno Ganz.

In November 2017, Plummer, who was director Ridley Scott’s original choice to play J. Paul Getty in All the Money in the World, was cast to replace Kevin Spacey in the then-already completed film. The move came amid numerous sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations made towards Spacey. All scenes that had included Spacey were re-shot with Plummer. Co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams were part of the necessary filming. The decision was made not long before the scheduled release date of December 22. TriStar Pictures intended to meet that release date in spite of the tight re-shooting and editing schedule; it was eventually pushed back to December 25. For his role, Plummer earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.

At the age of 89, he appeared in a leading role in Departure, a 2019 Canadian-British TV series by Global for NBC Universal about the disappearance of a trans-Atlantic flight. He starred as murder mystery writer Harlan Thrombey in Rian Johnson’s ensemble mystery film “Knives Out “alongside Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, and Chris Evans.

The 2020s – 

At age 90, Plummer was set to return to Departure for season 2. Due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and Canadian travel lockdown, he would film his parts from his home in Connecticut, instead of venturing to Toronto, in 2020 and 2021. In 2021, at age 91, Plummer was set to play the lead for a big-screen film adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, to be filmed in the summer, in Newfoundland, under director Des McAnuff. He died before filming commenced.

Other works – 

Plummer at the Toronto International Film Festival, 2009

Plummer also wrote for the stage, television, and concert-hall. He and Sir Neville Marriner rearranged Shakespeare’s Henry V with Sir William Walton’s music as a concert piece. They recorded the work with Marriner’s chamber orchestra the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He performed it and other works with the New York Philharmonic and symphony orchestras of London, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax. With Marriner he made his Carnegie Hall debut in his own arrangements of Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Personal life-

Plummer married three times. His first wife was the actress Tammy Grimes, whom he married in 1956. Their marriage lasted four years, and they had a daughter together, the actress Amanda Plummer (born 1957).

Plummer was next married to journalist Patricia Lewis from May 4, 1962, until their divorce in 1967. Three years after his second divorce, Plummer married actress Elaine Taylor on October 2, 1970. Plummer and Elaine lived together in Weston, Connecticut. Plummer had no children by either his second or third marriages.

Plummer’s memoir, In Spite of Myself, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in November 2008 Plummer was a patron of Theatre Museum Canada. He was a member of the Players Club in New York City.

Death – 

On February 5, 2021, Plummer died at his home in Weston, Connecticut, aged 91. According to his wife, Elaine Taylor, he died from a blow to the head resulting from a fall. His family released a statement announcing that Plummer had died peacefully with Taylor at his side.

Following the announcement of his death, his The Sound of Music costar Julie Andrews paid tribute to Plummer:

The world has lost a consummate actor today and I have lost a cherished friend. I treasure the memories of our work together and all the humor and fun we shared through the years.

Others who paid tribute to Plummer included Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katherine Langford, Rian Johnson, Chris Evans, and Don Johnson (who all collaborated with him on Knives Out), as well as William Shatner, Anne Hathaway, Elijah Wood, Vera Farmiga, Ed Asner, Ridley Scott, Simon Pegg, Antonio Banderas, Leonard Maltin, Daniel Dae Kim, George Takei, Russell Crowe, Bruce Greenwood and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lou Pitt, his longtime friend and manager of 46 years, said; Chris was an extraordinary man who deeply loved and respected his profession with great old fashion manners, self-deprecating humor, and the music of words. He was a national treasure who deeply relished his Canadian roots. Through his art and humanity, he touched all of our hearts and his legendary life will endure for all generations to come. He will forever be with us.

Credit: Wikipedia.com

Photo Credit: Yahoo.com/images

Mary Wilson – The Death of a Supreme!

The Supremes were a huge part of my childhood having older siblings that were already “Hip & Groovy,” I learned to love the music of the Detroit Sound Machine named, “Motown!” Back then during the late 60s, and early 70s, I remember very well the great music that came out of Detroit and the Supremes were right at the top of the charts.  My memories of this fabulous girl group was what I saw on television, getting a hair brush pretending it was a microphone while trying to dance and sing like them, but also watching my sisters perform their unique dance moves while staying in rhythm with the music. Those times, I will never forget!

Mary Wilson (March 6, 1944 – February 8, 2021) was an American singer. She gained worldwide recognition as a founding member of The Supremes, the most successful Motown act of the 1960s and the best-charting female group in U.S. chart history, as well as one of the best-selling girl groups of all-time. The group released twelve number-one hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 which set the record at the time, ten of which Wilson sang backing vocals on.

Wilson remained with the group following the departures of other original members, Florence Ballard in 1967 and Diana Ross in 1970, though the group disbanded following Wilson’s own departure in 1977. Wilson later became a New York Times best-selling author in 1986 with the release of her first autobiography, Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme, which set records for sales in its genre, and later for the autobiography Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together.

Continuing a successful career as a concert performer in Las Vegas, Wilson also worked in activism, fighting to pass Truth in Music Advertising bills and donating to various charities. Wilson was inducted along with Ross and Ballard (as members of the Supremes) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Early life – 

Mary Wilson was born March 6, 1944, to Sam, a butcher, and Johnnie Mae Wilson in Greenville, Mississippi. She was the eldest of three children including a brother, Roosevelt, and a sister, Cathy. The Wilsons moved to Chicago, part of the Great Migration in which her father joined many African Americans seeking work in the North, but at age three, Mary Wilson was taken in by her aunt Ivory “I.V.” and uncle John L. Pippin in Detroit. Her parents eventually separated and Wilson’s mother and siblings later joined them in Detroit, though by then Wilson had come to believe I.V. was her real mother. To make ends meet, Wilson’s mother worked as a domestic worker. Wilson and her family had settled in the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects, a housing project in Detroit where Wilson first met Florence Ballard. The duo became friends while singing in their school’s talent show. In 1959, Ballard asked Wilson to audition for Milton Jenkins, who was forming a sister group to his male vocal trio, the Primes (two members of which were later in The Temptations). Wilson was soon accepted into the group known as The Primettes, with Diana Ross and Betty McGlown, who lived in the same housing project with Wilson and Ballard. In this period, Wilson also met Aretha, Erma, and Carolyn Franklin, daughters of the pastor at her local Baptist church.

Wilson graduated from Detroit’s Northeastern High School in January 1962. Despite her mother’s urging that she goes to college, Wilson instead focused on her music career.

Career – 

Wilson at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2019

The Primettes signed to Motown Records in 1961, changing the group’s name to The Supremes. In between that period, McGlown left to get married and was replaced by Barbara Martin. In 1962, the group was reduced to a trio after Martin’s departure. The Supremes scored their first hit in 1963 with the song, “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes”, and reached No. 1 on the pop charts for the first time with the hit, “Where Did Our Love Go”, becoming their first of 12 No. 1 singles. (Though Wilson sang background on all of their hits before 1967, it was later revealed that Motown used in-house background singers, The Andantes, for the hits “Love Child” and “Someday We’ll Be Together”).

By 1964, the group had become international superstars. In 1967, Motown president Berry Gordy changed the name of the group to Diana Ross & The Supremes, and after a period of tension, Florence Ballard was removed from the Supremes that July. Cindy Birdsong was chosen to take her place. The new lineup continued to record hit singles, although several stalled outside the top 20 chart range. Ross left the group in early 1970, and at her farewell performance, Jean Terrell was introduced as the replacement for Ross. According to Wilson in her memoirs, Berry Gordy told Wilson that he thought of having Syreeta Wright join the group in a last-minute change after Terrell had already been introduced as lead singer, to which Wilson refused. With Terrell, the Supremes recorded seven top-40 hit singles in a three-year period. One “River Deep/Mountain High” was a collaboration with the Four Tops. Other recordings by the trio which charted include; “Up the Ladder to the Roof”, “Stoned Love”, “Nathan Jones”, and “Floy Joy”. Of these releases, only “Stoned Love” reached a No. 1 status (R&B Chart). Unlike the latter years with Ross, however, all but one of the hits, “Automatically Sunshine”, succeeded in reaching the top 20 charts, with two breaking into the top 10. During this period, Wilson contributed lead or co-lead vocals to several Supremes songs, including the hits “Floy Joy” and “Automatically Sunshine”, and the title track of the 1971 album Touch.

Wilson in 2019 – 

In 1972, Cindy Birdsong left the group following marriage and pregnancy and was replaced by Lynda Lawrence. The group’s popularity and place on record charts dropped significantly. For the first time in a decade, two singles in a row failed to break into the top 40, including the Stevie Wonder penned-and-produced “Bad Weather”. Discouraged, Jean Terrell and Lynda Lawrence both departed in late 1973. Scherrie Payne was recruited from a group called The Glass House. They were signed to the Invictus label, owned by the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting-production team (who composed 10 of the Supremes No. 1 1960s singles). Cindy Birdsong also returned. Beginning with this lineup change, Wilson began doing almost half of the group’s lead vocal duties, as she was considered the group’s main attraction and reason for continuing. In 1975, Wilson sang lead on the Top 10 disco hit “Early Morning Love”. In 1976, the group scored its final hit single with “I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do the Walking”, written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland Group and included on the H-D-H produced album High Energy. Birdsong again departed, just before the album’s release, and was replaced by the group’s final official member, Susaye Greene, whose voice was dubbed over two songs. High Energy produced a flurry of positive reviews and sales, but a follow-up H-D-H effort in 1977 failed to ignite much interest. In late 1977, Wilson left The Supremes, following a performance at London’s Drury Lane Theatre. After Payne and Greene unsuccessfully lobbied to get a replacement for Wilson, the Supremes officially disbanded.

Wilson became involved in a protracted legal battle with Motown over management of the Supremes. After an out-of-court settlement, Wilson signed with Motown for solo work, releasing a disco-heavy self-titled album in 1979. A single from the album, “Red Hot”, had a modest showing of No. 90 on the pop charts. Midway through the production of a second solo album in 1980, Motown dropped her from its roster. Throughout the mid-1980s, Wilson focused on performances in musical theater productions, including Beehive, Dancing in the Streets, and Supreme Soul.

In 1994, The Supremes were recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7060 Hollywood Blvd.

Wilson found major success once more with her memoir: Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme in 1986. The book remained on the national best-seller list for months and established a sales record for the genre. The book focused on the early career of the Supremes and its success during the 1960s. Four years later, in 1990, Wilson released her second memoir: Supreme Faith: Someday We’ll Be Together, also a best-seller, which focused on the Supremes in the 1970s. In between this period, Wilson became a frequent guest on several television programs and talk shows and began regularly performing in Las Vegas casinos and resorts. Wilson then recorded a cover version of “Ooh Child” for the Motorcity label in 1990. A year later, she signed with CEO Records and released the album, Walk the Line, in 1992. The label filed for bankruptcy the day after its national release. Wilson maintained that she was deceived about the financial status of the label. The available copies of the album quickly sold out, however, and Wilson continued her success as a concert performer.

Wilson fought two court cases with former employees over usage of the Supremes name; Supremes’ replacement singers Lynda Lawrence and Scherrie Payne and a former backing vocalist from her 1980s concert work, Kaaren Ragland. In both cases, the courts found for the employees. This prompted Wilson to take a high-profile role in lobbying for “Truth in Music” legislation, which prohibits the usage of musical acts names unless an original member of the group is in the act or the group is properly licensed by the last person to hold the right of title to the name. Her efforts succeeded in more than 28 U.S. states. In 1995, Wilson released a song, “.U”, for Contract Recording Company. A year later, Wilson released the song, “Turn Around” for Da Bridge Records.

In late 1999, a proposal to unite all former living Supremes for a summer 2000 tour, was negotiated by Ross and SFX. After securing SFX’s interest, Ross had the promoter contact the other former members, refusing to directly negotiate with the other members, in order to spare any hurt feelings among the women. Talks and plans for the tour were well underway before Wilson was contacted by Ross in December 1999. Wilson upset she had been contacted so late, wanted to speak with Ross directly before beginning negotiations. Ross felt they should speak after negotiations took place. Following Ross’s initial contact, she removed herself from the negotiations leaving them between the women, their representatives, and the promoters. Both Wilson and Ross knew that the real heart of The Supremes was the trio that included the very creator of the group, Florence Ballard. Despite the hard knowledge of show business realities, without Ballard negotiations could only be half-hearted in such a return to the group’s past formulations. Still, pushing on, TNA/SFX initially offered Wilson $1 million. Birdsong was reported to have been offered less than $1 million. Wilson and Birdsong were also informed they would not have any creative input into the show. Wilson rejected the initial offer feeling she, Ross, and Birdsong should be paid equally and have equal input into the show. Promoters increased Wilson’s offer up to $2 million after the initial rejection. Ross then agreed to offer Wilson another $2 million from her personal finances added to the $2 million TNA/SFX proposed for a total of $4 million. Wilson and Birdsong’s request for creative input into the show was again rejected. Ross stipulated that all of the other artists’ fees were guaranteed, meaning that they’d receive the full amount of their contracts, regardless of how many performances actually took place.

Wilson erroneously stated publicly that Ross was to receive between $15 to $20 million. Ross, as the tour’s co-producer, was receiving $500,000 per night from TNA/SFX to cover the tour’s expenses. When the expenses exceeded the allotment, Ross covered the overages. Wilson’s final offer of $4 million and Birdsong’s offer of $1 million came with a deadline of early 2000 (in order to begin production of the sets, costume fittings, hiring of staff, etc., and an on-schedule commencement of the tour). Wilson did accept the final offer, but her acceptance was rejected by TNA/SFX citing “the train has left the station.” The promoter ceased negotiations with Wilson and Birdsong. Without Wilson or Birdsong, Ross began to question whether to continue to stage the tour. Berry Gordy Jr. had called TNA/SFX during the negotiation process requesting that Wilson and Birdsong receive better pay and have creative input into the show. Ross contacted Gordy for advice about the tour and he reportedly told her to continue “if it’s something she’d have fun doing;” however, he warned her about continuing without Wilson and Birdsong. Ross decided to continue. The tour, Return to Love, instead went forward with former 1970s Supremes Scherrie Payne and Lynda Lawrence (Susaye Green and Jean Terrell refused to participate because the promoter requested that they audition for the tour, as they had not heard the women sing in over 20 years), but, was canceled mid-tour due low ticket sales (despite selling out New York City’s Madison Square Garden ), following complaints of high ticket prices in a down touring market, a spate of high scrutiny by some members of the public, and press regarding the absence of some performers (i.e. Wilson and Birdsong), and the dispute between versions of events. That year, Wilson released an updated version of her autobiographies as a single combined book. That same year, an album, I Am Changing, was released by Mary Wilson Enterprises, produced through her and her then-management, Duryea Entertainment.

In 2001, Wilson starred in the national tour of Leader of the Pack – The Ellie Greenwich Story. A year later, Wilson was appointed by Secretary of State Colin Powell as a “culture-connect ambassador” for the U.S. State Department, appearing at international events arranged by that agency. In 2006, a live concert DVD, Mary Wilson Live at the Sands, was released. Four years later, another DVD, Mary Wilson: Live from San Francisco… Up Close, was released. During this period, Wilson became a musical activist, having been part of the Truth in Music Bill, a law proposed to stop impostor groups performing under the names of the 1950s and 1960s rock and roll groups, including Motown groups The Marvelettes and The Supremes. The law was passed in 27 states. Wilson also toured and lectured internationally, as well as across the United States, speaking to multiple groups worldwide. Her lecture series, “Dare to Dream”, focuses on reaching goals and triumph over adversity. Wilson’s charity work included the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the American Cancer Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Easter Seals Foundation, UNICEF, The NAACP, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the All-Star Network, and Figure Skaters of Harlem, a youth organization devoted to helping children towards entering the Olympics. Most recently, Wilson became the Mine Action spokesperson for the Humpty Dumpty Institute.


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Cicely Tyson – December 19, 1924 – January 28, 2021

One of the most beautiful, elegant, talented, and intelligent actresses of our time. An actress who could transform into any character and leave the audience raving for more. Her legacy will live on forever. She is one of my favorite actresses of all time, and will truly be missed.

Cicely Tyson (December 19, 1924 – January 28, 2021) was an American actress and fashion model. In a career spanning more than seven decades, she became known for her portrayal of strong African-American women. Tyson was the recipient of three Primetime Emmy Awards, four Black Reel Awards, one Screen Actors Guild Award, one Tony Award, an honorary Academy Award, and a Peabody Award.

Having appeared in minor film and television roles early in her career, Tyson garnered widespread attention and critical acclaim for her performance as Rebecca Morgan in Sounder (1972); she was nominated for both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work in the film. Tyson’s portrayal of the title role in the 1974 television film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, based on the book by Ernest Gaines, won her further praise; among other accolades, the role won her two Emmy Awards and a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Tyson continued to act in film and on television in the 21st century. In 2011, she played the role of Constantine Jefferson in the award-winning film The Help. She also played the recurring role of Ophelia Harkness in the legal drama TV series How to Get Away With Murder since the show’s inception in 2014, for which she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series five times.

In addition to her screen career, Tyson appeared in various theater productions. She received a Drama Desk Award in 1962 for her Off-Broadway performance in Moon on a Rainbow Shawl. Tyson also starred as Carrie Watts in the Broadway play The Trip to Bountiful, winning the Tony Award, the Outer Critics Award, and the Drama Desk Award for Best Actress in a Play in 2013. Tyson was named a Kennedy Center honoree in 2015. In November 2016, Tyson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor in the United States. In 2020, she was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

Early life –

Tyson was born in East Harlem on December 19, 1924, the daughter of Fredericka (Huggins) Tyson, a domestic worker, and William Augustine Tyson, who worked as a carpenter and painter. She was one of three children. Her parents were immigrants from Nevis in the West Indies. Tyson arrived in New York City at age 21 and was processed at Ellis Island on August 4, 1919.

Tyson grew up in a religious atmosphere. She sang in the choir and attended prayer meetings at an Episcopal church in East Harlem. Tyson’s mother was opposed to her becoming an actress and would not speak to her for a time. She changed her mind when she saw Cicely appear on stage. Early work –

Tyson was discovered by a photographer for Ebony magazine and became a successful fashion model. Her first acting role was on the NBC television series Frontiers of Faith in 1951. Tyson played her first film role in Carib Gold in 1956. She had small roles in the 1959 films Odds Against Tomorrow and The Last Angry Man, Her first stage appearance was in Vinnette Carroll’s production of Dark of the Moon at the Harlem YMCA in 1958.

In the early 1960s, Tyson appeared in the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet’s The Blacks. She played the role of Stephanie Virtue Secret-Rose Diop; other notable cast members included; Maya Angelou, James Earl Jones, Godfrey Cambridge, Louis Gossett Jr., and Charles Gordone. The show was the longest-running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, running for 1,408 performances. She won a Vernon Rice Award (later known as the Drama Desk Award) for her performance in another off-Broadway production, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl.

Tyson, who once worked for a social services agency, was spotted by producer David Susskind in The Blacks and in Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright, and was cast for a role in the CBS TV series East Side/West Side (1963–1964), playing the secretary of a social worker played by George C. Scott. She was at the time the only African American regular member of a TV cast, The show was noted for its treatment of social issues, and one of its episodes, on an African-American couple in Harlem, was blacked out in Atlanta and Shreveport, Louisiana.

In the mid-1960s she had a recurring role in the soap opera The Guiding Light. She appeared with Sammy Davis Jr. in the film A Man Called Adam (1966) and starred in the film version of The Comedians (1967) based on the Graham Greene novel. In 1968 Tyson had a featured role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

Stardom –

In 1972, Tyson played the role of Rebecca Morgan in the film “Sounder.” She was nominated for both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work in Sounder and also won the NSFC Best Actress and NBR Best Actress Awards.

In 1974, Tyson played the title role in the television film “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” Tyson’s portrayal of a centenarian black woman’s life from slavery until her death before the Civil rights movement won her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie and an Emmy Award for Actress of the Year – Special. Tyson was also nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in this television film.

Tyson’s television roles included; Binta in the 1977 miniseries Roots, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie; Coretta Scott King in the 1978 miniseries King, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie; Marva Collins in the 1981 television film The Marva Collins Story, for which she received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie, and Muriel in the 1986 television film Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story, for which she received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special.

Later career –

In 1989, Tyson appeared in the television miniseries, The Women of Brewster Place. In 1991, Tyson appeared in Fried Green Tomatoes as Sipsey. In the 1994–95 television series, Sweet Justice, Tyson portrayed a civil rights activist and attorney named Carrie Grace Battle, a character she modeled after Washington, D.C. civil rights and criminal defense lawyer Dovey Johnson Roundtree. Her other notable film roles include the dramas Hoodlum (1997) and Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), and the television films Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1994) (for which she received her third Emmy Award) and A Lesson Before Dying (1999). In 2005, Tyson co-starred in Because of Winn-Dixie.

In 2010, Tyson appeared in Why Did I Get Married Too? and narrated the Paul Robeson Award-winning documentary, Up from the Bottoms: The Search for the American Dream. In 2011, Tyson appeared in her first music video in Willow Smith’s 21st Century Girl. That same year, she played Constantine Jefferson, a maid in Jackson, Mississippi, in the critically acclaimed period drama The Help. Set in the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, the film won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

At the 67th Tony Awards, on June 9, 2013, Tyson won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Miss Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful. Upon winning, the 88-year-old actress became the oldest recipient of the Best Actress Tony Award. She also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for the role.

In 2013, Tyson played a supporting role in the horror film The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia. Beginning in 2014, Tyson guest-starred on How to Get Away with Murder as Ophelia Harkness, the mother of the main character Annalise Keating (Viola Davis); for this role, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. In 2020, she was in the popular movie A Fall From Grace featured on Netflix.

Honors –

In addition to her Screen Actor Guild Award, her Tony Award, her Emmy Awards, and her Black Reel Awards, Tyson received several other honors. In 1977, Tyson was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. In 1980, she received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. In 1982, Tyson was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. The award is given to outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. In 1988, Tyson received a Candace Award for Distinguished Service from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. In 1997, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2005, Tyson was honored at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball. She was also honored by the Congress of Racial Equality, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Council of Negro Women. Tyson was awarded the NAACP’s 2010 Spingarn Medal for her contribution to the entertainment industry, her modeling career, and her support of civil rights. Tyson was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015. She was awarded the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama in November 2016. In September 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Tyson would receive an Academy Honorary Award. On November 18, 2018, Tyson became the first African-American woman to receive an honorary Oscar. In 2018, Tyson was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. She was chosen to be inducted into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame in 2020.

Tyson received honorary degrees from Clark Atlanta University, Columbia University. Howard University; and Morehouse College, an all-male historically black college. The Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, a magnet school in East Orange, New Jersey, was named after her in 2009.

Personal life –

Tyson had a daughter when she was 17 years old. At age 18, Tyson married Kenneth Franklin on December 27, 1942. According to her divorce decree, her husband abandoned her after less than eighteen months of marriage. The marriage was formally dissolved in 1956.

Tyson began dating jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in the 1960s when he was in the process of divorcing dancer Frances Davis. Davis used a photo of Tyson for his 1967 album, Sorcerer. Davis told the press in 1967 that he intended to marry Tyson in March 1968 after his divorce was finalized, but he married singer Betty Davis that September.

Tyson and Davis rekindled their relationship in 1978. They were married on November 26, 1981, in a ceremony conducted by Atlanta mayor Andrew Young at the home of actor Bill Cosby. Their marriage was tumultuous due to Davis’s volatile temper and infidelity. Davis credited Tyson with saving his life and helping him overcome his cocaine addiction. They resided in Malibu, California, and New York City, until she filed for divorce in 1988. Their divorce was finalized in 1989, two years before Davis died in 1991.

Tyson was godmother to the singer Lenny Kravitz, having been friends with his mother, actress Roxie Roker, as well as to Denzel Washington’s daughter Katia; and Tyler Perry’s son Aman.

Tyson was an honorary member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She was a vegetarian.

Tyson’s memoir, Just As I Am, was published on January 26, 2021, and she was promoting the book during her final weeks. In an interview with Gayle King, asked how she wanted to be remembered, Tyson said, “I’ve done my best. That’s all.

Tyson died on January 28, 2021, at the age of 96.

“Charley Pride, The Man, The Music, The Legend!”


In the early 1960s, a young minor league baseball pitcher and aspiring country singer named Charley Pride had settled into a discouraging routine. His days were spent toiling in Helena, Mont., at a smelter operated by the Anaconda Copper Mining Co., and he spent his free time playing for its semipro baseball team, the East Helena Smelteries.

He stood out as an African American working in a musical genre that seldom welcomed black voices. But he developed a small but enthusiastic fan base singing in Montana honky-tonks, which in 1962 led to his invitation to perform before a show headlined by country singers Red Sovine and Red Foley.

After Mr. Pride sang “Heartaches By the Numbers” and “Lovesick Blues,” Sovine, a veteran performer, was struck by Mr. Pride’s magnetism and the enthusiastic response he evoked from the White audience. He suggested that Mr. Pride take his chances in Nashville.

It took him nearly two years to get a contract. Record executives loved his demo tapes but got cold feet after viewing his picture. In one audition, he was told, “Now sing in your regular voice.” A talent scout even suggested that Mr. Pride sell himself as a novelty by dressing in Colonial garb and adopting the stage name of George Washington Carver III. Finally, country guitarist Chet Atkins, who was also an RCA Records executive, saw promise in the singer.

Radio stations received his first singles, credited to Country Charley Pride, without publicity photos — a cautious move by Atkins. Disc jockeys latched onto the records, and country fans listened. “It was RCA’s decision not to play up or down the color thing, but to just let the voice go, put the record out, and let the people decide,” Mr. Pride later told The Washington Post.

Mr. Pride, who grew up in the Mississippi cotton fields and became the first major African American singing star in country music, died Dec. 12 at 86 in Dallas. The cause was complications from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to a statement from the Nashville public relations firm 2911 Media.

Harmonica player DeFord Bailey, who was black, had been one of the earliest and most popular cast members of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s. A generation later, soul stars Ray Charles and Solomon Burke recorded country songs. But Mr. Pride shattered a show-business barrier, paving the way for subsequent black entertainers — Stoney Edwards, Big Al Downing, and Darius Rucker, among them — who followed Mr. Pride’s lead in Nashville.

Country-music historian Rich Kienzle said Mr. Pride embraced a traditional sound: recording with fiddles and steel guitar in an era when many country singers were trying to sound like Las Vegas entertainers. Onstage, he also liked to defuse tension with self-deprecating, sometimes self-demeaning humor.

“He would make jokes to audiences about having a ‘permanent tan,’

” Kienzle said. “The music won out over any bigotry.”

He often turned down songs that he believed were too controversial. One such song, “Blackjack County Chain,” by songwriter Red Lane, recounted a chain gang beating a sadistic sheriff to death. After Mr. Pride rejected it, his frequent touring mate, Willie Nelson, later recorded it.

Mr. Pride often endured cruel jokes and taunts from fellow entertainers. George Jones once drunkenly painted “KKK” on Mr. Pride’s car. (Mr. Pride had passed out at a party while trying to match Jones, an alcoholic, drink for drink.)

Early in his recording career, Mr. Pride’s manager, Jack Johnson, set up a private jam session with singer Faron Young, co-owner of a widely read trade journal Music City News. Young, known for badgering colleagues with profanity and provocative insults, praised Mr. Pride’s singing but referred to him with a racial epithet.

“In all honesty, it took longer for the Nashville crowd to become accustomed to me than I thought it would,” Mr. Pride recalled in his 1994 memoir, “Pride,” written with Jim Henderson. “I was a novelty, but I never allowed myself to feel out of place. Unless someone else brought it up — that I was different — I tried not to think about it much.”

Charley Frank Pride was born in Sledge, Miss., on March 18, 1934, and was the fourth of 11 children in a family of sharecroppers. His father named him Charl but, because of a clerical error, the “ey” was added to his birth certificate.

“We lived in what we called a ‘shotgun house’ and there was a bed over on this side and a bed over on this side, and we’d sleep three and four to a bed,” Mr. Pride told Dan Rather on AXS-TV’s “The Big Interview” in 2015. “I remember sometimes I’d wake up, and my brother’s toes were right in my nose.”

Mr. Pride’s fascination with country music began early during his childhood in the Mississippi Delta. Though the region is best known for its blues, his strict and religious father regarded the genre as the devil’s music. Instead, Mr. Pride recalled listening to the Grand Ole Opry and a local country station on the family’s battery-run Philco radio.

“My dad was in charge of the dials on the radio, so that’s what we listened to,” Mr. Pride once said. “In my formative years, country music was what I heard. I got to be 10 or 11 years old before I started listening to other music. By the time I experienced the blues, I was in my teens.”

Mr. Pride bought his first guitar at 14, but baseball competed with music as a consuming passion.

“As far as I was concerned, my future was in baseball,” he wrote in his memoir. “I saw what Jackie Robinson did, that was my goal. Before he reached the major leagues, there were no real role models for kids like us.”

Throughout the 1950s, Mr. Pride pitched for Negro leagues teams, minor league affiliates of major league teams, and occasionally in exhibition games against barnstorming major league players. At one point while he was playing in the Negro leagues, he and a teammate were traded for a used team bus.

The Army drafted Mr. Pride in 1958. After his discharge two years later, he joined Anaconda.

In his memoir, Mr. Pride spoke of struggles with manic depression. He also invested in many failed business ventures. However, his music management company prospered by discovering new talents Ronnie Millsap and Gary Stewart and bringing both to RCA Records. In 2010, he became a minority owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Mr. Pride was voted entertainer of the year by the Country Music Association in 1971. He received a Grammy for his 1971 album, “Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs.” He won additional Grammys at the 1971 ceremony for two gospel songs, “Did You Think to Pray” and “Let Me Live.”

In 1956, he married Rozene Cohran. In addition to his wife, survivors include three children, reggae musician Carlton Pride; Dion Pride, a country singer; and Angela Pride; four siblings; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Mr. Pride credited his early experiences with giving him an unflinching determination to succeed.

“When I used to go to school and pledge allegiance to the flag, all those nice words about ‘liberty and justice for all,’ I just had to look out my window: We had to play basketball outside while the whites had a gym,” he told The Post in 1984. “But my mother told me to hang in there, that someday it would be different, and that kept me believing.”



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