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.