Site Columns

By Michelle
March 10, 2004 - 11:32 PM

Hello World!

Yesterday, to my regret, I wrote an obituary for actor Paul Winfield, who had appeared in Star Trek twice during a long and illustrious career that included an Oscar nomination and several Emmy nods. I was curious why, as I read through dozens of articles in major newspapers, none of them mentioned the fact that he had been predeceased by a long-time male partner, something I had read in several places.

In fact, the only major publication I could find which included that information was The Advocate, a gay and lesbian news magazine. A web search revealed a history of his activism for gay rights, but when it came to the sort of information one would expect to find in the obituary of a heterosexual person who had been in a long-term relationship, whether married or partnered, it was absent. Today two different people mentioned that they had seen an article stating that that information was kept out of the media by the request of Winfield's sister, the survivor named in the obituaries.

Here's what The Advocate said, in part:

Actor and author Jack Larson, a friend, told Advocate.com that Winfield, who was openly gay in his life if not in the media, had been distraught over the past two years following the death of his longtime companion, Charles Gillan Jr. Larson produced the 1984 drama Mike's Murder, written and directed by gay filmmaker James Bridges, in which Winfield gave one of his finest performances as a gay man distraught over the death of his onetime lover.
This makes me sad. I'm sympathetic to the privacy issues - I'm sure there are many actors who don't want their partners or spouses named in the media, gay or straight - but I think it's a pity that a man who supported gay rights and was openly gay is mentioned as neither in what will probably be the last articles written about him for a wide audience. I'm sorry that gay teenagers, and black teenagers, and gay black teenagers who probably wonder whether anyone in Hollywood could overcome prejudice against both those characteristics won't know it.

I've no idea what Winfield's own wishes would have been concerning his obituary, but I'm going to take the chance on assuming that a man who did not hide his sexuality in life would not necessarily have gone along with the decision never to mention it after his death, and post this column.

Trek BBS Today

Below are some of the topics currently being discussed at the Trek BBS:

-Best Trek one-liners!

-Who is Enterprise's best writer?

-Why did they drop the "the"?

More topics can be found at the Trek BBS!

Trek Two Years Ago

These were some of the major news items from March 2002:

  • Bakula: I Didn't Set Out To Be An Actor
    Scott Bakula (Captain Archer) explained that he started off in a pre-law program, following his father and brother into the legal profession, because he never thought that he would earn a living in the theatre.

  • Nichols Tells The Story Behind 'The Kiss'
    Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) explained that the first interracial kiss on television almost didn't happen, because the director had doubts about whether it would be accepted by the network, but Gene Roddenberry insisted on filming it both ways and William Shatner crossed his eyes in the take without the kiss, rendering it unusable.

  • Official 'Acquisition' Information Released
    News about the first story in which humans encountered Ferengi was published on the official Star Trek site.

More news can be found in the archives.

Poll Results

Below are the results of the most recent TrekToday poll:


Have you ever been to...
nowhere, just the TV show is plenty! 51.9% - (422 Votes)
the Star Trek Experience? 25.8% - (210 Votes)
more than one of the above? 10.3% - (84 Votes)
a Star Trek interactive performance at a convention? 6.5% - (53 Votes)
a Star Trek show at a Paramount theme park? 4.5% - (37 Votes)
the Star Trek exhibit at the Hollywood Museum? 0.6% - (5 Votes)

Total Votes: 812

Please vote in our new poll about Enterprise's fourth season!

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Today's Television Listings

    Tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time -- note the time change! -- UPN will show a rerun of Enterprise's "North Star". Here's the official synopsis of the episode:

    Enterprise discovers a settlement of humans living a 19th-century Western lifestyle on a Delphic Expanse planet, so Archer and crew set out to learn how they got there.

Discuss this news item at Trek BBS!
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