Paul Winfield was an American actor best known for a wide variety of roles in film and television, notably as Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and a friendly but crusty cop partnered with Lance Henriksen in The Terminator.
Winfield was born in Los Angeles, California. He first became well-known to audiences when he appeared for several years opposite Diahann Carroll on the groundbreaking television series Julia. He also starred as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1978 miniseries King.
In 1973, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1972 film Sounder, becoming the third African American to ever earn a nomination for a leading role. The other two were Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier.
He appeared in the 2003 Disney-produced television remake of Sounder. Winfield played the part of “Jim the Slave” in Huckleberry Finn (1974) which was a musical.
Winfield would recall late in his career that as a young actor he had played one of the two leads in Of Mice and Men in local reperatory, made up in whiteface, since a black actor playing it would have been unthinkable.
Winfield also starred in more recent mini-series, including Roots: The Next Generations, Queen: The Story of an American Family and Scarlett.
Winfield gained many fans for several of his brief but memorable roles in science fiction TV programs and movies.
He was Captain Clark Terrell, an unwilling minion of Khan Noonien Singh, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and a friendly but crusty cop partnered with Lance Henriksen in The Terminator.
On the small screen, he appeared as General Richard Franklin, father of regular character Dr. Stephen Franklin, on Babylon 5 and as an alien captain who communicates in metaphor in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Darmok” (Season 5, Episode 2).
He also provided voices on the cartoons Spider-Man, The Magic School Bus, Batman Beyond, K10C, and The Simpsons, on the latter voicing the Don King parody Lucius Sweet. He was “The Mirror” on the TV show The Charmings (1987-1988).
He also played the long-lost father of Harriette Winslow and her sister Rachel Crawford on Family Matters.
At the time of his death, he was a narrator for the A&E show City Confidential.
His first major feature film role was in the 1969 film, The Lost Man starring Sidney Poitier. He appeared as gay characters in the films Mike's Murder in 1984 and again in 1998 in the film Relax...It's Just Sex.
He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance in the King and Roots: The Next Generations. He won an Emmy Award in 1995 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, for his appearance as Judge Harold Nance in two episodes of the drama series Picket Fences.
Throughout his career, Winfield frequently managed to perform in the theatre. His only Broadway production, Checkmates, in 1988, co-starring Ruby Dee, was also the Broadway debut of Denzel Washington.
He also appeared in productions at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Winfield died of a heart attack on 7 March 2004. He was 64. His long-time partner of 30 years, architect Charles Gillan Jr., died in 2002 of a rare bone disease.