As the son of an enlisted man, Clarence Gilyard (sometimes billed as Clarence Gilyard Jr. ) might have been expected to follow in his father's stead. Originally, he attended the US Air Force Academy,...
Kidney surgery wasn't enough to keep Steven Spielberg from making an impassioned plea for diversity. The 53-year-old director skipped the red carpet arrivals but mustered the strength to make it to the podium at the 31st NAACP Image Awards on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif.
Only a few days after having a kidney removed, the filmmaker -- looking no worse for his recent wear -- urged his peers in the industry to continue to "expand the opportunities of the portrayal of diversity in all medium." His call to action came after receiving the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Vanguard Award for his "pioneering courage to promote social justice through creative endeavors."
"A couple of days ago, I was in the hospital,'' the director said. ``This is the first time I've been out since my operation and it feels like a dream, an absolute dream.''
Spielberg was praised by the NAACP for tackling issues of diversity in films such as "The Color Purple" and "Amistad" -- even if more than a decade ago, questions as to whether Spielberg, as a white guy, was qualified to direct the story of black women in "The Color Purple" seemingly undermined the flick's chances for the 1985 Academy Awards. (It got 11 nods -- and zero wins.)
The night's big-screen acting awards, meanwhile, went to "The Best Man's" Nia Long and "The Hurricane's" Denzel Washington. The former pic was also the overall winner for outstanding motion picture. Washington's award, after his Golden Globe win for best actor, bodes well for his Oscar chances as wrongly imprisoned boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.
Less recognized by the NAACP on the night of the Image Awards were the accomplishments of the television industry. The group had previously announced that it had trouble finding enough minority characters on the small screen to honor. On the television front (such as it was), "ER's" Eriq LaSalle and "The Steve Harvey Show's " Steve Harvey were the winning actors in the drama and comedy categories, while "Touched by an Angel's" Della Reese and "Sister, Sister's" Tia and Tamera Mowry were the recognized actresses for drama and comedy series, respectively. Overall, "The Steve Harvey Show" was tapped best comedy, "Touched By an Angel" best drama.
Another notable winner: Rosa Parks. The real-life crusader, whose refusal to move to the back of a Alabama bus in 1955 sparked the modern-day civil rights movement, was honored for her work as an actress in a guest spot on CBS' "Touched By an Angel."
The Image Awards honor the work of minorities in film, TV, music and books. The awards will be presented in an April 6 telecast on Fox.
Here's a complete list of the 31st NAACP Image Awards winners:
Outstanding Motion Picture - "The Best Man" Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture - Denzel Washington, "The Hurricane" Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture - Nia Long, "The Best Man" Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture - Terrence Howard, "The Best Man" Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture - Angela Bassett, "Music of the Heart"
Youth Actor/Actress - Jurnee Smollett in "Cosby"
Outstanding Comedy Series - "The Steve Harvey Show" Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series - Steve Harvey, "The Steve Harvey Show" Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series - Tia Mowry and Tamera Mowry, "Sister, Sister" Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series - Cedric "The Entertainer," "The Steve Harvey Show" Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - Jackee Harry, "Sister, Sister" Outstanding Drama Series - "Touched by an Angel" Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series - Eriq La Salle, "ER" Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series - Della Reese, "Touched By an Angel" Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Clarence Gilyard, "Walker, Texas Ranger" Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series - Rosa Parks, "Touched By an Angel" Outstanding Television Movie/Mini-Series/Dramatic Special - "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie/Mini-Series/Dramatic Special - Sidney Poitier, "The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn" Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie/Mini-Series/Dramatic Special - Halle Berry, "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series - Shemar Moore, "The Young and The Restless" Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series - Tonya Lee Williams, "The Young and the Restless" Outstanding Variety Series/Special - "1999 Essence Awards" Outstanding Performance in a Variety Series/Special - Steve Harvey, "It's Showtime at the Apollo" Outstanding News, Talk or Information Series - "BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley: Black Men in Crisis" (BET) Outstanding News, Talk or Information Special - "True Life: I Am Driving While Black" (MTV) Outstanding Youth or Children's Series/Special - "Teen Summit" (BET) Outstanding Performance in a Youth or Children's Series/Special - Lynn Whitfield, "The Planet of Junior Brown"
Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction - "Blues: For All Changes" by Nikki Giovanni Outstanding Literary Work, Non-Fiction - "Yesterday, I Cried" by Iyanla Vanzant Outstanding Literary Work, Children's - "If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks" by Faith Ringgold
Outstanding New Artist - Eve - "Ruff Ryder's First Lady" Outstanding Male Artist - Brian McKnight - "Back At One" Outstanding Female Artist - Whitney Houston, featuring Faith Evans and Kelly Price - "Heartbreak Hotel" Outstanding Duo or Group - Destiny's Child - "The Writing's On The Wall" Outstanding Rap Artist - Will Smith - "Wild Wild West" Outstanding Jazz Artist - Quincy Jones - "From Q, With Love" Outstanding Gospel Artist - Traditional - Vickie Winans - "Live in Detroit II" Outstanding Gospel Artist - Contemporary - Yolanda Adams - "Mountain High ... Valley Low" Outstanding Music Video - "Wild Wild West" - Will Smith (directed by Paul Hunter) Outstanding Song - "Spend My Life With You" - Songwriters: Eric Benet, George Nash Jr., Demonte Posey (Artist: Eric Benet) Outstanding Album - "The Best Man - Music from the Motion Picture" - Various Artists (Columbia).
Portrayed a minister in the direct-to-video release "Left Behind"; released theatrically in 2001
Portrayed partner of "Walker, Texas Ranger" on the long-running CBS series
Raised in a military family on bases in Hawaii, Texas and Florida
Joined cast of "Bleacher Bums"; became first black actor to play role of the cheerleader
Had featured role in "The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake"
Portrayed one of the terrorists in the thriller "Die Hard"
Began acting career working in children's theater
Moved to L.A.
Co-starred in the short-lived NBC sitcom "The Duck Factory"
Feature film acting debut, "Top Gun"
Played regular role of Conrad McMaster, legman for Andy Griffith's lawyer Ben Matlock in the CBS series "Matlock"; also reprised the role in several made-for-television movies
Joined cast of the NBC series "CHiPs" in its final season
Began making guest appearances on shows like "227" and "Simon and Simon"
As the son of an enlisted man, Clarence Gilyard (sometimes billed as Clarence Gilyard Jr. ) might have been expected to follow in his father's stead. Originally, he attended the US Air Force Academy, but transferred after one year to Sterling College where he played football and first began acting. In 1980, the lanky actor relocated to L.A. and began to pursue an acting career in earnest, first in children's theater. Later, Gilyard became the first black actor to undertake the role of the cheerleader in "Bleacher Bums" before he segued into TV roles. In 1982, he joined the cast of the NBC police drama "CHiPs" for its final season before supporting Jim Carrey in the short-lived NBC sitcom "The Duck Factory" (1984).<p> By the mid-80s. Gilyard was concentrating on film roles, making an auspicious debut as the radar technician who has difficulties achieving the expectations of his cohort 'Maverick' (Tom Cruise) in Tony Scott's slick "Top Gun" (1986). Gilyard went on to essay a military man in "The Karate Kid" (also 1986) and was cast as one of the terrorists in the blockbuster "Die Hard" (1988), but that one breakthrough feature role proved elusive. The actor instead returned to series TV in 1988 joining the cast of "Matlock" (NBC) and spending five years playing the legman for Andy Griffith's folksy attorney. When that series switched networks, Gilyard moved to CBS to co-star alongside Chuck Norris as the former football player-turned-lawman partner of "Walker, Texas Ranger".