Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happy birthday, Angela Bassett.

Angela Bassett, one of the most successful black actors in Hollywood, turns 50 today.

I shared a meal with Ms. Bassett a few years ago. I tried to get her interested in a TV series idea (about an American doctor who takes a job at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and moves her family to South Africa). She was not.

I first noticed Angela Bassett nearly 20 years ago, when she did a couple of episodes of the Avery Brooks series “A Man Called Hawk.”

In 1990, she played a rape victim in an episode of “Equal Justice.” Via the magic of Hulu, I’ve embedded that complete episode at the bottom of this homepage. Stream it at your leisure.

Remember “Equal Justice”? It was an ensemble drama in the Steven Bochco style. The main cast included Joe Morton and a still-girlish Sarah Jessica Parker. (Morton is quite good in this episode.)

I rooted for this show when it was on ABC, because it was co-created by Thomas Carter. It was a rare drama series with a black executive producer.

“Equal Justice” didn’t last long, but it was a fine piece of work. If you check out this episode, you’ll also enjoy an excellent guest performance by Steven Hill as an asshole judge.

And if you wonder who sings that theme song... it’s Carl Anderson and Carmen Carter.


Anonymous said...

50? Gorgeous woman! And classy. She turned down the xrated role that Halle Berry took. I'll never forget that.

Michael Fisher said...

Angela and I went to college together. (I was a year or two ahead of her). She was always a very conscious sister. You must've presented her with some pretty politically non-stomachable stuff for her to turn down a talented black screen writer. Even if an undercover one.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ You're mean!

Andrew said...

So she turned down you doctor show only to a few years later take a gig on ER, eh? Ouch!

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Timing is everything.

Reviewer X said...

Man that's a blast from the past with A Man Called Hawk (Spenser for Hire spinoff) AND Equal Justice. You can count me in on the small number of people who watched both of those shows.

She did both of those shows BEFORE Kindergarten Cop even! Amazing.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I've been waiting and waiting for "A Man Called Hawk" to turn up in some kind of digital format.

James said...

Yeah, I watched Hawk and Equal Justice, too.

Thomas Carter is talented and active. His name pops up on other TV shows from time to time. I remember him from "The White Shadow" where he starred along with the also-talented actor/director Kevin Hooks, and once featured a classmate of mine, actor/director Eric Laneuville. A lot of talent came out of there.

mynameismyname said...

I can easily say that Angela Bassett is one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen in Hollywood. Period.

Just plain gorgeous.