March 9, 2004 by

Paul Winfield


Categories: Actors, Hollywood

pwinfield.jpgPaul Edward Winfield, an Emmy Award-winning actor, died on March 7 from a heart attack. He was 62.
As a teen, Winfield was bused from his Watts home to the predominately white Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles. Encouraged by his drama teacher to become a thespian, Winfield was named best actor two years in a row by the Southern California Speech and Drama Teachers Association. He earned a scholarship to Yale University, but turned it down to attend the University of Oregon. After transferring to several West Coast schools, he dropped out of UCLA to delve into professional acting.
Winfield did a guest appearance on “Room 222” and landed his first regular TV job acting opposite Diahann Carroll in the comedy “Julia.” A year later, Sidney Poitier gave him his first movie role in “The Lost Man.” He catapulted to fame in 1972 when he earned a best actor Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Nathan Lee Morgan in the film, “Sounder.”
Winfield soon developed a reputation for fearless dramatic versatility. Cast mainly in character roles, he spent more than 30 years working in film, television and on stage. Some of his most memorable appearances include “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “Presumed Innocent,” “Terminator” and opposite Denzel Washington in the play “Checkmates.” He also narrated the A&E crime series, “City Confidential,” and voiced the character of Sam Young in the cartoon “Batman Beyond.”
Winfield earned a best actor Emmy nomination in 1978 as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the miniseries “King.” After playing a college chancellor in the TV movie, “Roots: The Next Generation,” he received a best supporting actor Emmy nomination. He finally won an Emmy in 1995 for playing a federal judge who rules on a school busing case on the show “Picket Fences.”

56 Responses to Paul Winfield

  1. Lainey

    Paul Winfield’s death made me very sad. Although I loved him as an actor (I first saw him in Pat Conroy’s “Conrak” starring Jon Voight), I will most remember him as the voice of “City Confidential” on A&E. One of the main reasons I enjoyed the show so much was because of his soothing yet expressive voice. He will be sorely missed.

  2. Annette Richard

    I’ve seen Mr. Winfield in every genre of work he
    has ever done. I think he was a great actor. I
    loved him and Cicely Tyson together. He was great
    as Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1978 three part
    movie. He lived a quiet life. His voice was so
    melodious and soothing. I will never forge him.
    All fans three cheers for my friend, a toast for my friend. May we always remember him in our hearts. I love you Paul winfield
    Annette Richard: your #1 Fan

  3. Jackie

    This is the first I’ve heard of Paul Winfield’s passing and boy, does it hurt!! The acting world has lost a great personality in Mr. Winfield. I can almost remember his roll in Room 222 but his portrayal of Dr. King was truly his greatest work. I will certainly miss him!!

  4. Peter

    Of course the sci-fi fans have a long-running gag about “the many genre deaths of Paul Winfield” (zapped self with phaser in the second “Star Trek,” shot by Schwarzenegger in the first “Terminator,” zapped by phaser again in “Mars Attacks”), but for me my fondest memory was getting to see Mr. Winfield as Falstaff in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in D.C. some years ago. It was an outdoor venue, and was actually my very first tantalizing taste of the Rennie life.
    Rest in peace, Mr. Winfield. Thanks epecially for “Roots: The Next Generations” –my parents let me stay up late to see that one. Beautiful work.

  5. James Tolson

    The first time I was aware of Paul Winfield as an actor was his role in the movie “Sounder” in 1972 when I was 13 years of age. The performances he and Cicely Tyson did had left such an impact on me that I’ve followed their acting careers ever since. I will miss Paul Winfield deeply as he was one of the many black performers who made a difference towards the cause of civil rights. Farewell.

  6. K. McMinn

    I turned on City Confidential this evening and noticed a different narrator. I always wondered who had that wonderful voice and had to find out why it was not there. I was sad to find out Paul Winfield had died. I always loved hearing him tell the stories on City Confidential. It’s not the same.

  7. Robert E. Brown

    I too tuned into City Confidential waiting to hear the narration from Mr. Winfield. Then I remembered
    a rumor of his death. Decided to check it out on the internet. They say ” The show must go on.
    But it will not be the same without his voice. As much as this show has a great format, and professional
    presentation, without Paul Winfields’ voice, ” I am afraid it will lose it favor.”

  8. Don

    I did not know Paul Winfield had passed,I was looking at city confidential on the internet and found out they had changed the host,and I said are these people crazy this man is the show. Then I looked up his name on the internet and found out he had passed I will miss him. He would brighten my day. I hope the new host is real good.

  9. Dorthy Winfield Coleman

    What a shock to find out thid way. I have longed to meet Paul Winfield for many years. The first time my dad told me about him I was 6 years old. My father, (Willie Winfield-desease)was very proud of Paul and never missed a film, or movie. I moved to North Carolina thinking that one day I would get to see him. He just past in March, a few days before my sister’s birthday, how come it wasn’t all over the news like everything else? I loved him so much, he looked a lot like my father.
    I would appreciate an e-mail from someone or pass my comdolences to the family. I am devistated.

  10. nedra hargrave

    Paul Winfield was a great actor with unique voice that melted the hearts of women all over the world. I’d watch city confidential every week just hear his voice. Paul will be missed by all who loved him. My heart goes out to his family , and your in my prayers.
    Remember The Lord Loves
    You and So do I.
    God Bless You
    Nedra hargrave & family.

  11. S. Haze

    I, like alot of other people, starting watching City Confidential because of Paul Winfield’s mesmerizing voice. I just yesterday told my husband I LOVE his voice it is like no other!!! I just read an old Entertainment Weekly and found out he died. I am so upset. I also feel this world continues to demonstrate it’s racism… how so, by acting in the manner that his death was not even newsworthy. No one I called saw any announcement on the nightly news and that is a darn outright SHAME! This man was a well known distinguished, respected actor and narrarator that will soreley be missed by alot more people than the media must believe. City Confidential will not be the same without his voice, and I doubt if I will still be interested in watching. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  12. Bill Smith

    I was not aware that Paul had died.
    Everytime I would hear the new voice, I would think, “However was responsible for taking him off, must be the dumbest guy in the world”. I hope they play his repeats forever.

  13. Evelyn Lewis

    The first time that I saw Mr. Paul Winfield was when I viewed the movie “Sounder” many years ago. He portrayed the husband/father with great passion. I was so pleased to hear his excellent narration of the City Confidential stories every week. I miss him very much.

  14. Charlotte

    Such a talented actor with a great voice. I loved his narration on A&E.
    I was shocked to learn of his death just yesterday. Rest In Peace Paul Winfield.

  15. sem

    Surfed in, after seeing an episode of Star Trek : the next generation. Paul Winfield was on this episode as a leader of a race that the crew encounters “tarmack at garrad”
    Then I this the Paul Winfield I was familiar with from City Confidential? I too had a burning question of why he was no longer narrating City Confidential. My room mate even argued that he was still doing it! LOL, but his voice is unmistakable, Drunkenly Soothing as I refer to it, and in no means a disrespect. I have read and learned much more about the man, and I am saddened by his passing.
    All the best to his friends and family who know they have lost a very unique soul.

  16. Tanyka Sylvester

    Paul Winfield was a man of great accomplishments. I recently watched him in “King” with Cicely Tyson, and it just reconfirms my belief in his extraordinary talent. He will be genuinely missed and the African-American community has lost a great genius of the screen. Rest in Peace, Mr. Winfield and you are now hanging with the real Dr. King. Say “hello” for me.

  17. Kimber

    I love City Confidential and noticed the narrator was different…similar…but it just wasn’t the same… I decided to investigate and I’m so so sad to hear of Paul Winfield’s death…Man could he give a good narration… He was so witty…and I loved his funny comments he would add to such sinister acts..He really kept one glued to the TV with what was to come next….RIP

  18. Cal Bambi

    I first became aware of Paul Winfield in a movie called Green Eyes. I as so many people have enjoyed his captivating voice. I also enjoyed him as the narator of City Confidential. I was not aware of his death until tonight on the Academy Awards. I will miss him.

  19. Kathleen McLaughlin

    Paul Winfield is synonomous with City Confidential. When I first heard someone else’s voice narrate CC, and despite how pleasant this new narrator is, it just wasn’t or will ever be the same. The ambience he created with his unique voice and witty charm can never be duplicated. I won’t ever be able to watch a new episode of CC without silently saying a prayer for his family and for him, this, remarkable, fascinating man, Paul Winfield. He will be sorely missed, even by those who had never met him, but who also will never forget him.

  20. Rebecca

    I am also saddened by the death of this great talent, and I am so disappointed with his “City Confidential” replacement. I know he’s really a hard act to follow.

  21. S

    I’ve watched City Confidential forever. I have always said, “This guy, Paul Winfield, is a great narrator”. His voice, so soothing and mesmerizing made me pay attention to the story that was being told.
    Today I decided to look on the internet to look for info on Paul Winfield.
    I was shocked and truly saddened to discover that he has passed away. No person, nor voice can replace him as City Confidential’s narrator!

  22. Brenda

    I too was saddened when Paul Winfield passed. I enjoyed him playing the part of Sam, an angel on the show “Touched By An Angel.” I believe he is now one of God’s beautiful angels in heaven. He truly was a great narrator for the show “City Confidential”, but life goes on, so we must give the new host of “City Confidential” a chance.

  23. Nancy

    For so long I’ve wondered who belonged to that City Confidential’s mesmerizing, captivating voice, never realizing he was the same Paul Winfield we’ve all seen in movies. I plan on watching CC reruns forever in order to hear that beautiful voice that hooks you and won’t let you go.

  24. Sharon

    It is a very sad loss. His narration on A & E City Confidential was awesome! He had such an amazing voive for television. He kept me drawn to the show with that soft spoken yet strong voice. It really suited him well. He was also a great actor. He will be sorely missed.

  25. kem

    I am still in shock after more than a year. I still run home at lunch to catch City Confidential. And even now, I am still shocked to realize these are just repeats. I could see the CC episodes over and over and over again. What great storytelling!

  26. Pam Cooper

    I also was very swept away by his voice and saddened by news of his death. However, I still tune in and have since grown to appreciate the new narrator. Mr. Winfield laid the ground work and has left a great path for future narrators.

  27. tj scott

    a special thanks to greatest narrator ever created. you will be missed but never forgotten. paul winfield was the man that makes city confidential such a great show to this day. soothing but interesting voice is what makes me want to watch that awesome show time and time again. t scott

  28. Veronica

    I, knew Mr. Winfield for thirteen years of my life. I grew up going to work with my mom to his house and I remember his voice and the way he lived his life. He loved his pugs which i got to take care when i was there. I loved his home and how they decorated it this once christmas. It was beautiful. I loved the dinners he made and how he would take care of every detail. How he cared for my mom. She worked for him for about 18 years. He loved everything about life and his family. He was someone so caring and yes with a great voice. Though, i still remember seeing him in the living room reading his scripts. Once in a while i would go over and read them too because like any other girl i was facinated to know an actor, especially like Mr. Winfield. The last time i saw him, he still was going on and strong just days after being in the hospital. I visit him with my mom. She misses him alot. We were so sad that he past away and we all greatly miss him. I still think of him and how he made a difference in my life. I thank him and his family for being so nice to us through all these years. My condolences go out to all of you…..

  29. Terri

    Paul Winfield’s voice on City Confidential made you feel like part of the story. Losing this great man’s voice is synonimous with losing Dale Earnhardt from Nascar. The show will go on with someone else, but it will never be the same.

  30. e.langfield

    Paul Winfield had a beautiful voice. I have watched City Confidential and loved hearing his soothing, smooth voice. I will really miss that wonderful sound and I doubt if he can be replaced. My prayers go out to his entire family. I will miss you Paul.

  31. Douglas

    I guess I am old fashon as I enjoy listening to old radio shows and a few documentary before going to sleep after a long hectic day………….Like people before me have stated, City Confidential was so well done and his voice almost like a tonic. Mr. Winfields voice and description was a relaxing & soothing experience….I know Keith David does a great job but it’s like a very good trumpet player trying to replace Louis Armstrong….It can’t be done…..I have most of Mr. Winfields City Confidential’s recorded and still enjoy closing my eyes and letting my mind follow his descriptions on the town, people and event…..I wish I could state it in a better way, but he was “truly the best” and will be missed but never forgotten………. Rest in Peace Mr. Winfield.

  32. Charmaine Holes

    I have always loved watching City Confidential. I had a bet that the speaker was a ‘ Black man’ but never had a picture to prove it. I finally found one today September 18, 2006. Imagine my shock to see that he had passed on.
    May you charm the angels with that that well modulated voice.
    Charmaine from Jamaica

  33. Lillian

    I have just discovered the death oif paul his voice has kepm me watching city confidential he do have a way of bringing you right in the story with him as it goes he will be sadely missed in my living room and im sure im speaking for a alt of people even though im very late finding out this sad news. God Bless you.

  34. Tim Murray

    I miss this guy…He has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. A great actor and from what has been said.. a great person as well.

  35. Joan in CA

    I love listening to stories being read/told. Mr. Winfield’s voice had a rare quality that leant itself beautifully to story telling. Honestly, I believe I watched/listened to City Confidential for his voice more than the story content over the years. I would’ve loved listening to him narrate anything just to hear his rich & soothing voice. I learned he was the narrator on City Confidential quite by accident one day. I was watching an episode of Crossing Jordon that Mr. Winfield happened to be cast in. “That Voice!” I said to myself. “He’s the Voice on City Confidential!”. While he played the roll quite well, of course, I was distracted by the fact that I’d finally been able to put a face with the voice I’d enjoyed for so many years. What a sad realization to learn he had passed. Mr. Winfield was a gifted actor and a positive roll model for the gay community (his life partner of 30 years whom he is buried with having passed 2 years before him). I miss him terribly – especially his wonderful voice. I wish I’d known more about him while he was with us.
    Rest in Peace alongside your soulmate, Mr. Winfield. Thank you for the years and for sharing your gifts and talent with us.

  36. Cheryl Kreger

    I also – as those who have written before me, have truly missed “that voice” on City Confidential. What a mesmerizing and melodic voice, and the way he had of telling a story. For some time after first seeing an episode of the show, I was unsure of who it was, I was only suspicious. I found myself watching the show quite often just to hear the man speak. When my husband told me he had heard that Mr. Winfield had passed I was very shocked and saddened not only for his loved ones but for myself that I would lose his story-telling abilities forever.


    I noticed the new voice on City Confidential and looked at the date of the program just summer of 2007. I went to my computer and got his information. Was just shocked and so saddened he had passed away. He could speak and God would be in awe of him, I believe. I know his voice was so
    incredibly beautiful and his manner was incredible. I miss him terribly. God Bless you, Mr. Winfield.

  38. Clarence

    I also did not know Paul died,thats very sad,I love his voice on city confidential,he made the show with that wonderful voice of his,May he rest in peace,and God Bless you for touching our lives.

  39. joywendt

    This info. makes me very sad. Mr.Winfields voice, helped me thru chemo.No one has a voice like him. he will be missed. Heaven is hearing the wonderful stories now, we will all miss you. Joy

  40. teia

    I was upset when I heard that PAUL WINFIELD had pasted on. He was like a father to me. I never knew him. But I wish I did . I am so sorry.

  41. Katrina from Florida

    I too wondered where that beautiful soothing voice from city confidential went. It’s four years after his death, and I’m just now stumbling upon it. That is troubling. I was actually looking for audiobooks online, and after listening to a few samples I thought, you know I could really get into this if Paul Winfield was narrating. So I looked him up and discovered this. Truly devastating.

  42. Tom Kirchpfadreich

    I always called CC a combo murder mystery/travelogue.
    I loved Paul’s narrations; seasoned with just the right amount of irony, cynicism, and sarcasm that makes the show real.
    He is missed.

  43. Carol

    Mr. Winfield’s voice is certainly the reason I enjoyed City Confidential so much. I have yet to hear another voice that has made a program so unique and one of a kind. Such a loss…

  44. Cheryldapearl

    I didn’t know who Paul was until City Confidential, I agree that his voice narration was one of a kind and he is truly missed even to this day. I will have to start a collection of the other shows that have been mentioned on the internet that Paul worked on. I wish I was a little older and knew about all these other shows that were before my time. He was truly an angel that will never be forgotten.

  45. Rhonda Rana

    I had the great fortune of seeing him play OTHELLO at the Guthrie Theater in Mpls. He was amazing, and one of the few American actors who could do theater as well as TV and movies. My favorite role of his was as Issac Twine in Wiseguy, as a music industry mogul.I was hooked on City Confidential because he was the host. Keith David is a worthy follow up. I miss him immensely.

  46. Curious

    There is a Visa Debit ad running on TV at the moment (7/09) with the music of Oye Como Va in the background….the voice in the commercial sounds at times just like Paul Winfield. Could someone be using a voice over (of his) from something else for this commercial?

  47. sheila shepherd

    i loved watching city confidential, just to hear paul winfields voice, and the show was awesome to , and i loved how he told about how beautiful each city was for about half the show, then he went in to what happened there, there will never be another paul winfield.

  48. Honut Sinti

    I truly enjoyed Paul Winfield’s work. I loved his soothing and unforgettable voice on City Confidential. On my first trip at 18 to New York to visit my sister, she took me to see the movie Sounder. I will never forget see Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson on screen.

  49. Harry Berry

    Mr. Paul Winfield was the point of anything sharp, I will always watch CC, especially the
    reruns bearing his awesome voice. Wish he could
    rejoin us but I hope to join him one day.

  50. manzabe

    I heard the news of his death earlier on ,before most of the above. That is because I was almost obsessed with his narrator ability.I used to make people guess if it sounded anything other than a white man>Always had a unanimous NO.And that was part of how much mainstream and national his voice was.Am just glad it is not only me who felt all those feelings about his voice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *