August 2001
Les Pine

Les Pine

Dear Readers,

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Les Pine, who died last month after a long and valiant battle with cancer. One thing cancer could not claim, however, was his enduring impact on film, in particular with his original screenplays for "Claudine" (1974), which starred Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones, and "A Man Called Adam" (1966), which starred Sammy Davis, Jr., Cicely Tyson and Louis Armstrong. Those two films hold an honored place in African American cinema, and as the writer (along with his late wife Tina Pine), Les Pine deserves much of the credit.

As you may recall, several weeks ago I urged a call to action to correct a great wrong: despite its significance to so many movie lovers, "Claudine" has never been released in video. I asked you then to write or e-mail me to proclaim your own affection for the film and to demand its release on video.

Now, we're one step closer to making this a reality. Scores of you have already sent letters (and I hope the rest of you will do so too). All that's left is to forward them to the corporate entities that own the rights to "Claudine." Being that the film is more than a quarter-century old, there is some uncertainty about those rights, but we're getting clarification as I write to you today. So, soon I fully expect we will have an answer to our prayers... and all our hard work.

Les Pine was a good man and a great writer. We mourn his passing. But we can be grateful that he had the talent and foresight to make works of art that impacted our community and that have stood the test of time.

Thank you.

Shelby Jones