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Adam Clayton Powell Jr. on Black Men Rock!
Category: Black Men Rock!
Tags: adam clayton powell black men rock word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. loomed as a giant in the Black community of Harlem, not only as the pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, but also as a community activist and as the first African-American to represent New York in the United States House of Representatives.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. was born in New Haven, Connecticut on November 29, 1908. He was the son of Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., then a Baptist minister in New Haven and his wife Mattie Buster Shaffer. He had an older sister Blanche and the family was of mixed racial origins, African, European and Native American. Powell Sr. had graduated from Wayland Seminary, Yale University and Virginia Seminary and was chosen to pastor the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, eventually growing the church to more than 10,000 members.

Adam Jr., because of his father’s success, grew up in a rather wealthy household and attended Townsend Harris High School before studying at City College of New York and then Colgate University (his father sent him to Colgate, a baptist school, to put Adam on the right path and to get him away from the nightlife and nightclubs that he avidly frequented). He was a handsome young man and because of his fair skin and hazel eyes, he was often able to pass as being white (at birth his hair was blonde), often allowing him to avoid much of the racial strife that was directed towards his Black classmates. This caused a great deal of anger on their part towards him because he withheld his racial background from his classmates, even joining a white fraternity (very uncommon in those days).

His father encouraged him to follow in his footsteps as a minister. Adam Jr. (Adam) received his bachelors degree from Colgate in 1930 and then received a M.A. in Religious Education from Columbia University a year later. Although he had originally planned for a career in medicine, he realized that the church would provide him with a ready-made career. Following his ordination, Adam assisted his father at the church, both preaching to the congregation and in growing the outreach to the community, (primarily in charitable endeavors) and took over for his father as Head Pastor of the church in 1938. He had married Isabel Washington, a star dancer at the Cotton Club, in 1933 and adopted her son Preston and was deeply committed to the church, its parishioners and those community around him. He was now the pastor of the largest protestant congregation in the United States.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. - Great Black HeroesHe became prominent in political activism, fighting for employment opportunities and fair housing. He became the Chairman of the Coordinating Committee for Employment, mounting pressure on local businesses to hire Blacks on all levels of employment. He led very noteworthy protests. He led a “Shop Only Where You Can Work” boycott of all of store along 125th, shutting most of them down, thereby forcing them to hire Black workers. During the World’s Fair of 1939, his protesters picketed in front of the Fair’s headquarters at the Empire State Building which resulted in Black hiring to increase by 250%. Two years later he led the bus boycott of the New York Transit authority leading to 200 additional jobs for Black constituents. His activism on the part of the community led him to run for the New York City Council and he was elected in 1941, the first Black to serve on the Council.

Three years later he ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. He ran on a campaign of fighting for the civil rights of Blacks including seeking a ban on obstacles for voting rights (such as poll taxes), fair employment opportunities and a ban on lynching. Running as a Democrat, he was elected in 1944 representing the 22nd Congressional district (which included Harlem) and was the first Black Congressman from the state of New York. He did not try to ease his way in quietly and instead directly addressed issues that affected his constituents. With Jim Crow being the law of the land in the south and almost all of the southern Congressmen being segregationists, there had been no one willing to stand on the House floor and raise issues that affected Blacks throughout the nation. Powell would be the man to do so.

Powell did not make many friends, especially among the southern Congressmen but he stood up and addressed issues facing Blacks. One particularly noteworthy incident occurred when he stood on the House floor and chastised Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi. A tradition within the House was that freshmen Congressmen did not speak on the House floor during their first year. On this occasion, however, when Rankin used the word “nigger” on the House floor, Powell stood and announced “the time has arrived to impeach Rankin, or at least expel him from the party.” To take on a Congressman as powerful as Rankin demonstrated that Powell would be a force to be reckoned with. Powell would take particular delight in irritating Rankin. Rankin had called Powell’s election to the house “a disgrace” and when Rankin made it known that he did not want to sit anywhere near Powell, Adam would find any opportunity possible to sit as close to the Mississippi Congressman. On one occasion he followed him from seat to seat until Rankin had moved five times.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. - Great Black Heroes

In 1945, having divorced Isabel, Powell married Hazel Scott, a jazz singer and pianist. The two had a son whom they named Adam Clayton, Powell III.

Powell served with only one other Black Congressman (William Levi Dawson of Illinois) until 1955 and they were subject to numerous informal barriers within Congressional offices. Powell protested and refused to defer to the bans on the “Whites Only” House restaurant, the Congressional Barber Shop, the House gymnasium and other facilities. He constantly battle segregationist on both policy and decorum and found allies within the Black community and organizations like the NAACP to push for equality for Blacks throughout the United States.

One method he used to attain his goals was referred to as the “Powell Amendments.” On any proposed legislation that would call for federal expenditures, he would offer an amendment that required that federal funds be denied to any jurisdiction that maintained segregation. This grated on both liberal allies and conservative foes but it gradually seeped into the mindsets of the politicians as they realized that Powell was not going to stop and was not going away. Some were not ready to give up their fight, however. During a 1955 meeting of the Education and Labor Committee, Powell was punched in the face by West Virginia Congressman Cleveland Bailey, a segregationist who was so incensed by Powell’s persistent use of the “Powell Amendment” rider.

His willingness to anger even his allies led him to buck the party ticket in 1956 and throw his support behind Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Powell was dissatisfied with the Democratic Party platform on civil rights and made sure that he was not seen as a rubber stamp for the Democratic party. He also sailed against mainstream opinions when he travelled to Indonesia for the 1955 Asian-African Conference which celebrated the recent move to independence from colonialism for countries which included Ghana, Sierra Leone and Indonesia. The State Department had asked him to not attend but he did so as an observer and ended up speaking of the need to end colonialism abroad and segregation at home while also defending the United States against the communist talking points being used against his country. Powell returned home to a warm reception, honored as “Man of the Year” by the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” and invited to speak with President Eisenhower. He offered the opinion that the United States was wasting an opportunity to truly compete with the Soviet Union by trotting out ballet companies and symphonies to tour around the world. Instead, he thought, the country should focus on presenting more current and popular American offerings such as jazz music, which was an American created style of music appealing to and engaged in by members of various races. Powell suggested sending well known jazz musicians to tour abroad, spreading the American art form to catch the ear of younger citizens of the world. The State Department agreed and set up such a goodwill tour including well known musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie. Gillespie headlined the tour which many referred to as “Jazz Diplomacy.” The musicians were able to meet with high-ranking officials as well as the common man and was considered a great success. One man who attended a concert in Zagreb, Yugoslavia stated “What this country needs is fewer ambassadors and more jam sessions!”

In 1960, having divorced Hazel, Adam married again, this time to Yvette Flores Diago, the daughter of the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. They had a son whom he also named Adam Clayton Powell (this son would later change his name to Adam Clayton Powell, IV).


Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. - Great Black Heroes

After serving the House of Representatives for 15 years, Powell was finally granted a committee chairmanship in 1961 when he became the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. The committees stated purpose is “to ensure that Americans’ needs are addressed so that students and workers may move forward in a changing school system and a competitive global economy.” Under his leadership, the committee created federal programs addressing Medicaid, minimum wage and equal pay for women, as well as education for the disabled, support for libraries and vocational training. Much of this legislation was incorporated into President John F. Kennedy’s “New Frontier” program as well as President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and “War on Poverty” programs.

Some of his greatest triumphs involved passing legislation to protect the rights of Blacks, particularly those affected by Jim Crow laws in the south.  He authored bills to criminalize lynching, dismantle public school desegregation and to abolish the Southern practice of charging a Poll Tax to Black voters. This tax was applied to voters in many southern states, but a grandfather clause allowed those adult males whose father or grandfather had voted prior to emancipation to be exempt from the tax. As such, white male voters were allowed to vote while many Black voters who could not afford to pay the tax were prevented from engaging in the electoral process. The Civil Rights Act of 1965 included many of these provisions and called for enforcement of them.

His growing power made him a target for his political enemies. Unfortunately, in many ways, Powell made himself an easier target through his spending of committee funds, his legal problems, his erratic behavior and habit of constantly traveling and often being absent from the House. Without a doubt, many of the southern House members opposed him simply because of his race and looked for any opportunity to punish him. Unfortunately for Powell, although he had fight so hard against unfair treatment by House members, he had also given them plenty of ammunition to use against him.

In 1958, Powell was indicted by a Federal grand jury for income tax evasion. The trial ended in a hung jury but the Federal government continued to investigate his finances. In 1960, Powell gave a television interview in which he accused a Harlem widow named Esther James of being a “bag woman” for corrupt police payoffs. James sued him and was awarded $211,500.00 in a jury award. Powell refused to pay the damages and instead would only return to his district in Harlem on Sundays when he when he could not be served by court officials (the award was eventually paid out years later after he was cited for criminal contempt, but the matter damaged him significantly). In 1967, a House committee suspended Powell’s third wife, Yvette Diago, and accused her of being on the House payroll without doing any work. Diago, in fact, admitted that she had moved to Puerto Rico in 1961, but was paid from Powell’s Congressional payroll from that time until January of 1967 when the allegation came to light and she was fired.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. - Great Black HeroesHe also travelled a great deal with stays in Florida as well as a vacation home he owned in Bimini in the Bahamas. House opponents accused him of using House funds to pay for this travel including once when he was accompanied by two young women at the expense of the Federal government (the women were Tamara Wall, a staff attorney and secretary Corinne Huff, the first Black Miss Ohio, with whom Powell was romantically involved). As such, the House Democratic Caucus stripped him of his committee leadership in January of 1967 and the full House refused to seat him until the Judiciary Committee completed an investigation of him. On March 1, 1967, by a vote of 307 to 116, the House voted to exclude him from its proceedings. Powell decided to sue to retain his seat. Although he won a Special Election to fill his vacant seat (by a margin of 7-1), he refused to take it, preferring to challenge his removal in court. In the meantime, in November of 1968, his constituents in Harlem defiantly re-elected him with overwhelming support. The House had no choice but to seat him now, but did so while at the same time denying him seniority and fining him $25.0000.00. In June 16, 1969, the United Staes Supreme Court decided 7-1 in Powell vs. McCormack that the House had violated his constitutional rights in refusing to seat him as he was a duly elected member of Congress. Unfortunately, after his Supreme Court victory, he seemed to rub it in the nose of his foes, showing up for only nine roll calls out of 177, a record for absenteeism. He was the most powerful Black politician of his time, but like many great men, it seemed hubris was to become his most destructive opponent.

Regarding his travel expenditures, Powell defended himself saying that “that I will always do just what every other Congressman and committee chairman has done and is doing and will do.” His constituents had grown weary of their Representative always seeming to have to put out fires, whether in the form of lawsuits, political fights or embarrassing scandals. He was defeated in the Democratic primary in 1970 by Charles Rangel by a mere 150 votes. He attempted to get on the November ballot as an independent through a signature campaign, but failed to do so and resigned from his position at the Abyssinian Baptist Church and retired to his home in Bimini.

In April 1972, Powell’s health began faltering and he was rushed from Bimini to Miami, Florida where he was hospitalized. He died on April 4, 1972 due to acute prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate gland. His funeral was held at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and his ashes were spread by his son, Adam III, over the waters of Bimini.

Adam Clayton Powell - Great Black HeroesOver the years numerous public schools have been named after him as has an office building in Harlem and Seventh Avenue, north of Central Park in New York City was renamed Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard. His real legacy, though, is as a confident political figure when many Blacks were afraid to speak out against the racism and poverty that they saw.  He was a bright and engaging leader who would not back down from his opponents and led the fight to change things in a turbulent society. Most of all, he is seen as a man who opened the doors for a lot of minorities who would follow in his footsteps as politicians in the Untied States Congress.

 Rev. Adam Clayton Powell

Source: Great Black Heros

One of the greatest gospel artists of all time - Yolanda Adams Tags: yoland adams true worshipper word life production feature blog

For Gospel legend Yolanda Adams, her stirring Elektra debut Mountain High…. Valley Low was an opportunity to bring both her inspirational vision and her wide range of influences to an audience hungry for spiritual fruit. Since her 1988 debut, the acclaimed and uplifting Just As I Am , Yolanda has been wowing gospel audiences all over the world. In 1999, four studio albums and one live album later (the Grammy nominated Yolanda…. Live In Washington ), the Houston , Texas native is ready to extend her magnificent reach without watering down the message. "I'm not one of those singers who wants to expand my audience at the expense of the people who already know my music," she says determinedly. "And I've grown both vocally and spiritually since my first album, through each phase of my career. So choosing Elektra was just another step of growth. Gospel music had stepped up and gathered a myriad of influences-jazz, hip-hop, R&B. I need to be in a place where my message can be heard by everyone. I understand my purpose. I understand what I was put here for. I take that on every day of my life."

It's precisely that kind of conviction that has caused critics to refer to Yolanda as one of gospel's "seminal" voices. It has also empowered her to venture out of gospel's more sanctimonious confinements, and hook up with some of pop's most formidable producers, such as Keith Thomas, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Yolanda stresses, however, that it was the process of "sharing" talents that made the unique collaborations such a great success. Thomas produced and wrote "The Things We Do."

"I had a chance to work with him," she says, "he's worked with so many great people, like Vanessa Williams and Wynonna Judd. It was awesome. He's the kind of producer who pulls stuff out of you that you didn't know you were capable of." Yolanda also had high praise for the duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who helm the ethereal "Open My Heart," "Wherever You Are," and the disc's feel-good closer, "Already Alright," all which they co-wrote with Yolanda. "Coming from the gospel world and being able to work with them was a dream come true," she says. "They provided leadership and gave me the leeway necessary to develop the songs. They wanted me to bring material to them so that I wouldn't lose connection, for non-inspiration. Their input and approval really encouraged me as a writer."

Religious audiences have been validating Yolanda for well over a decade. She was employed as an elementary teacher in Houston when she first began to garner recognition for her stunning performances. "I taught second and third grades. I would go on the road during the weekends to sing. Pretty soon the demand started growing. I realized I might be able to make it my career."

The eldest of six siblings, her pioneering spirit and boundless optimism soon became her trademark. Her solid church background and love of all kinds of music, which she says: "was inspired by family- everything from Stevie Wonder to Beethoven," left her with a respect for traditional musical hues, as well as a desire for more contemporary interpretation. "Too many times we're put in a box by musical labels," she says.

It was while she served as a lead singer with the Southeast Inspirational Choir that Yolanda caught the eye of the prolific composer/producer Thomas Whitfield. He guided her first album, Just As I am for Sound of Gospel Records. Yolanda went on to sing for the Tribute label in 1990, and was soon hailed as the most versatile contemporary gospel singer since Aretha Franklin.

Her brilliant follow-up albums, 1991's Through The Storm , and 1993's Save The World won several Stellar awards, Gospel's highest accolade. 1995's More Than A Melody propelled her into the world of R&B Gospel, with hit singles such as "Gotta Have Love, " and "Open Arms." The disc won a Soul Train Lady Of Soul award, earned her a Grammy nomination, and unforgettable live performance spot on the 1996 Soul Train Music Awards telecast.

Her album, Yolanda…. Live In Washington, snagged her yet another Stellar award, and another Grammy nomination. Her "bring-the-crowd-to-their-feet" reputation has now become the stuff of pop legend. In fact, it was after seeing Yolanda live in New York 's Beacon Theater that Elektra's Chairman Sylvia Rhone (co-executive producer of the new album) decided to sign the vocalist. "I didn't think signing with Elektra was as much of a leap as some might think, because of the faith she had in me," says Yolanda. "Her vision was the same as mine. To let my singing do the work of reaching a broader audience."

If there's one track on the LP that combines Yolanda's musicality with her indomitable spirit it's the buoyant "Yeah.” Spiritually infectious, yet tinged with a streetwise kind of soul, the song was written and produced by Warren Campbell. I've always been a fan of Nancy Wilson, and no matter how much she was into her music, she would always articulate vocally. For me, a simple expression like 'Yeah,' can connote the power I feel about God, and what it feels like to be alive."

Yolanda also touched hearts with a more reflective song, the tender "Fragile Heart." "That one is a personal story," she says. "It's kind of a recovery song for me. I lost my road manager, who was a dear friend. I wanted to express in a song that the thing to remember is that we're not put on this earth to remain forever. Someday we are all going to have to leave. So, how you live does make a difference. How you lived will be remembered long after you're gone." Yolanda's core fans will also enjoy the steadfast "In The Midst Of It All." "That one is for the mothers of the church. For the people who have gone through a lot of negative situations in their lives, and didn't dwell in it, but instead, they chose to rejoice. It says to use, 'Hey, I know you are going through a hard time, but don't give up because I made it out,'" A stunning cascade of background vocals shadows Yolanda's tremendous lead performance, making the song one of the more memorable tracks on the LP.

Yolanda closes with the aforementioned, pumped up "Already Alright." "I never want to be a stick in the mud, " she laughs. "It's a brighter testament for me because I was inspired by a friend who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was miraculously cured. He was given more than a couple of months to live and he's gone on living more than four years. It proved that miracles still do happen."

The singer, whose love of children's causes is almost as legendary as her singing, eagerly embraces the social responsibility that comes with the blessings of success. She's served as a spokesperson for the FILA Corporation's Operation Rebound program, which address the concerns of inner city school children. She recalls her days as a teacher fondly, and tries to instill in her audience the need for positive reinforcement, no matter from what walk of life. "It's been my experience that of whatever you ask of them, you must look to the best in them. The transformation can be astounding."          

Source: Official Website

This week's celebrity pick is the awesome actor, Adam Sandler
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: Adam sandler celebrity pick word life production feature weekly blog

He hit the big time as the loveable goof who somehow manages to get the girl, but the multi-talented Waterboy turned Wedding Singer also writes and produces movies.

The comedian and screen actor Adam Sandler was born into a Jewish working-class family in the New York suburb of Brooklyn.

Stan, his father, was an electrical engineer by trade, whilst his mother, Judy, was a full-time homemaker. Sandler was the third of four children, and has one brother and two sisters, called Scott, Elizabeth and Valerie.

Shortly after birth, Sandler was diagnosed with a troublesome speech impediment which makes his jaw move in a diagonal direction when he speaks. Sandler had extensive speech therapy for this problem whilst he was growing up, but it has never totally been cured, and can still be observed if Sandler gets upset or overly stressed.

When Sandler was six-years-old, his family moved away from New York to the city of Manchester in New Hampshire. He went to school at Webster Elementary and Hillside Junior High, but did not shine at his studies, preferring wrestling and basketball to more academic pursuits. Sandler remains a keen basketball player to this day and still likes to shoot hoops wherever he happens to be performing.

He went on to study at Manchester Central High School and then enrolled for a degree course in Drama and Fine Arts at New York University. He also worked as a resident assistant to help pay his way through higher education.

Sandler began his acting career in the 1980s, when he played Theo Huxtable’s good friend Ed on ’The Cosby Show‘, from 1985 - 89. He also took part in the MTV Game Show, ’Remote Control‘, where he soon became renowned for playing the parts of Trivia Delinquent and Stud Boy. Sandler then decided to broaden his acting experience by working as a stand-up comedian at a club in Boston, and as a result of this, he received his first really “big break”. After his stint at Boston, he went on to perform at the Improv Club in L.A., where the comedian Dennis Miller happened to catch his set. Miller immediately recommended Sandler to Lorne Michaels, the producer of ’Saturday Night Live’.

In 1990, he was engaged as a comedy scriptwriter for the show, but the producers soon realised that there was no-one as well equipped to deliver Sandler’s zany material as the man himself! He quickly moved on to performing in SNL the following year, creating a string of wacky characters as well as impersonating such showbiz greats as Axel Rose, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and Bono. Taking part in ’Saturday Night Live‘ helped Sandler build the foundations of his career as a comedy actor, and he left the show in 1995 to focus on movie acting.

Sandler’s first major leading role was in 1989, when he starred in the movie ’Going Overboard.’. It wasn’t until 1995, however, that he made his breakthrough movie, when he starred in a film called ‘Billy Madison’. Here, Sandler plays a man who is forced to repeat his primary education in order to satisfy the provisions for inheriting his father’s multi-million-dollar hotel business, along with his father’s respect! Sandler followed his success in Billy Madison with a string of other box-office hits, including ‘Happy Gilmore’ (1996), and ‘The Wedding Singer’ (1998), which took $80 million in a short space of time, and was his biggest grossing movie to date. Sandler was also originally cast to star in the black comedy bachelor party movie ‘Very Bad Things’, alongside Cameron Diaz, but was forced to drop out, due to a clash of schedules on other movies.

Sandler has continually demonstrated his ability to keep many “irons in the fire” by maintaining a high-profile presence on a range of popular light entertainment TV shows, at the same time as pursuing his movie acting career. He had a cameo role in an episode of ‘The Price Is Right’, during the Happy Gilmore Showcase. (Incidentally, the show host Bob Barker also appeared in the movie Happy Gilmore, which featured a famous fight scene with Sandler’s character, which Barker happens to win!)

Sandler also maintains a high profile small-screen presence by being a frequent guest on popular TV talk shows; for instance, he was a special audience member in an episode of ‘The Showbiz Show’ with David Spade, and he was also the feature guest on the final episode of John McEnroe’s CNBC talk show. Sandler has also demonstrated his ability to reverse roles and even act as a talk-show host on occasion; on 20 March 2007, he was due to appear as a guest on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’. But Letterman fell ill, and Sandler stepped in and acted as host instead!

Many of Sandler’s early films were poorly received by the critics, but more recently, he has received far more positive reviews, perhaps on account of his ever-growing ability to generate substantial box-office revenues. It’s also become popular to cite the idea that Sandler possesses far great acting talent than the critics originally believed, and to blame this oversight on the fact that he was given poor scripts and shallow characters to play.

Sandler has consistently capitalised on his genius for slapstick humour and goof-ball comedy. However, in recent years, he has also broadened the scope of his repertoire, embracing more serious roles as well, such as his starring role in Punch-Drunk Love, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. He was also highly praised for his performance in ‘Spanglish’.

Sandler attracted a flurry of negative publicity when some critics commented on recurring similarities in several of his movie roles. This observation was further highlighted when Sandler was lampooned in the episode of South Park called ‘AWESOM-O’, where he was sardonically depicted as a repetitive film-maker. The character, who is an omniscient robotic figure called Cartman, sends out hundreds of film ideas all portraying Adam Sandler in similar roles, as a desperate ploy to make a movie that would generate huge box-office returns.

Although Sandler is certainly far from being type-cast, it’s true that many of the characters that he plays in movies do tend to have a bad temper, which they’re frequently provoked into losing - as in ‘Anger Management’. He has also starred in several movies in which a large amount of money is at stake, and Sandler is called upon to save the day - as in ‘Happy Gilmore’, ‘Mr Deeds’, and ‘Billy Madison’. But whilst it may be true to comment that there are certain similarities to be found in many of the roles that he plays, Sandler has frequently demonstrated his ability to move between different types of media (TV, movie acting and stand-up comedy), as well as his ability to play both humorous and serious roles, and even romantic heroes, as in ‘50 First Dates’, with Drew Barrymore as his leading lady.

Sandler is well known in Hollywood for his preference for acting with his buddies. He has often teamed up with his best friend Rob Scheider, and the two actors frequently play cameo roles in each other’s movies. Notably, Schneider has played cameo roles in most of the films Sandler has starred in, including ‘The Longest Yard’, ‘Little Nicky’, ‘Big Daddy’, ‘Mr Deeds’, ‘50 First Dates’, ‘The Waterboy’, ‘Eight Crazy Nights’ and ‘Click’. Conversely, Sandler has played cameo roles in most of Schneider’s leading-role movies, such as ‘The Hot Chick’, ‘The Animal’, ‘Deuce Bungalow’, and ‘European Gigolo’, where amusingly, Sandler plays a cameo role as one of the dead gigolos! Sandler is also great friends with the well-known U.S. comedian Norm MacDonald, and played a cameo role in MacDonald’s movie, ‘Dirty Work’.

Despite his wacky, “goofball” humour, Sandler is very much a leading Hollywood star. He was a serious contender for the part of Willy Wonka in ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’, before the producers decided to give the role to Johnny Depp. Sandler also starred in the movie ‘Click’ in 2006, which delivers a serious message about the stresses and strains of everyday life, as well as featuring the more familiar elements of Sandler’s comedy acting style.

Sandler also starred in a highly challenging serious role in Mike Binder’s movie, ‘Reign Over Me’, where he plays a man who loses his entire family in the tragedy of 9/11, and rediscovers a long-lost friendship with his old college room-mate, who is played by Don Cheadle.

Teaming up with Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Dan Aykroyd and Steve Buscemi, Sandler went back to what many fans know him for by starring in 2007 comedy ‘I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry’. He played the character of a fireman who is forced to pretend to be gay and married in order to qualify for domestic partnership benefits. The film, which he was executive producer for, was hugely successful despite negative reviews and grossed more than $255 million at the box office.

He also produced his next movie, the 2008 comedy ‘You Don't Mess with the Zohan’, which saw him star as an Israeli counter terrorist army commando who fakes his own death and heads to New York to pursue a career as a hairstylist. Just like his previous effort, critics were not overly impressed, but this did not prevent the film from being a commercial success. A Kids' Choice Award nomination for Favorite Movie Actor came Sandler’s way in the same year for his fantasy comedy Bedtime Stories.

In 2009, he went on to star in director Judd Apatow's comedy ‘Funny People’ alongside Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann and followed this with ‘Grown Ups’. The latter saw him team up once more with Kevin James, as well as Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider, and was a commercial success. Sandler is due to appear in ‘Just Go With It’, ‘Zookeeper’ and ‘Jack and Jill’, which have a 2011 release date.

Sandler’s private life appears to be happy and contented. In 2003, he married his girlfriend of four years’ standing, actress and model Jacqueline Titone, who gave birth to a baby girl called Sadie in May 2006. But Sandler’s relationship with the print media is far from harmonious. Indeed, media relations deteriorated to the extent that Sandler became so tired of being misquoted in the press that he now totally refuses to give interviews to newspapers and magazines, and even only occasionally agrees to give interviews on TV. This reluctance to talk to the print media has earned Sandler the nickname “The Goofball Garbo” - but since he’s now appeared in no less than seven films that have grossed in excess of $100 million, he certainly doesn’t need the publicity.

Regardless of the occasional accusations of typecasting, one thing is certain: thanks to Sandler’s ability to both amuse and entertain us, and deliver substantial box-office revenues, it’s almost certain that we’ll be seeing him play starring Hollywood roles for some considerable time to come.

Source: Biography.com UK

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