Wednesday, March 08, 2006

They say this cat Parks was a bad mother...

I have to echo the sentiments of my correspondent Janet from The Art of Getting By: What's up with all these well-known folks kicking the bucket during the past couple of weeks? It's like an epidemic out there.

Now film director, writer, and photographer Gordon Parks has passed on at the age of 93. Okay, so when a guy's 93, it's not exactly a shocker. But still.

Gordon Parks began his singular career as a photojournalist for Life magazine, where his stunning images of people — from impoverished African-Americans in the South to heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali — made lasting impressions on the American consciousness. He then exploded into cinema in 1969, writing, directing, and even scoring the film adaptation of his bestselling novel, The Learning Tree, becoming the first black artist to helm a major studio movie. Twenty years later, The Learning Tree became one of the first 25 motion pictures to be preserved by the National Film Registry.

Although he hated the term "blaxploitation," Parks became the founder of a new cinematic genre with his 1971 film Shaft and its sequel, Shaft's Big Score! He also directed a brilliant biopic entitled Leadbelly, about the life of folk and blues singer Huddie Ledbetter. Parks's son, Gordon Jr., directed the seminal urban thriller Superfly.

Gordon Parks was one cat who wouldn't cop out. And thus another legend departs.

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1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

I think this is why I rarely blog about celebrities that die. If I had, I'd have an obit blog right now and it would be DOA.

7:21 PM  

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