Nelson Mandela's Death: Hollywood Mourns Civil Rights Icon

2:37 PM PST 12/05/2013 by THR Staff, The Associated Press
Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton

UPDATED: Beyonce, Samuel L. Jackson, Russell Simmons, Anderson Cooper, Michael Moore and Charlize Theron were among those mourning the South African leader on Twitter and Instagram.

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first democratically elected black president and a crusader against apartheid, died Thursday in his suburban Johannesburg home. He was 95. He had been receiving in-home intensive care since leaving the hospital on Sept. 1 after being admitted in June for a lung infection.

Mandela was an inspiration to many, including some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, who quickly took to Twitter and Instagram to mourn his passing.

The former president has been portrayed onscreen by Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Terrence Howard, Sidney Poitier and Dennis Haysbert among others. His life is also the subject of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, starring Idris Elba, The Weinstein Co.'s awards contender that was released in select theaters on Nov. 29.

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"One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity," TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. "We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela's story and legacy. It's been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history's greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation."

Added Elba: "What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Freeman, who played Mandela in Clint Eastwood's 2009 rugby drama Invictus, said: "Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of  incomparable honor, unconquerable strength and unyielding resolve -- a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us."

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Denzel Washington said: "Pauletta and I are honored and humbled to call Nelson Mandela a friend of our entire family. He will continue to live through all of us as a symbol of hope, faith and strength.”

Oprah Winfrey said: "One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela's home, spend private time and get to know him.  He was everything you've ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time."

Quincy Jones honored the late leader: "Today, as it did while he inhabited our planet, Nelson Mandela's spirit truly soars with the angels. It was a spirit born of a generosity, love, compassion and hope for mankind that may never exist at such a heightened level in any single human being again. One of the most profound honors that I have had in my life was to be able to call 'Madiba' my friend and brother."

Paul Simon added: "Mandela was one of the great leaders and teachers of the 20th century. He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice and the power of forgiveness. His passing should reignite a worldwide effort for peace."

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Long Walk to Freedom producer Anant Singh said in a statement: "We have lost our father, an exceptional human being, a hero to the world. There has never been anyone quite like him and there will never be. We should be inspired by his life and celebrate him with our love. We will all miss him dearly. Our love, thoughts and prayers are with Mama Winnie, Mrs. Machel, Zenani, Zindzi, Maki and the entire Mandela family during this difficult time."

Noted singer Dionne Warwick: "He amazingly lived what I was taught as a child, that we human beings have truly been put on this Earth to be of service to one another and through this comes the joy, peace and harmony we all desire."

He was also honored by Law & Order's Richard Brooks, who said: "Nelson Mandela was a great man who changed the world and my life forever by showing the power of love and truth in the most impossible of circumstances. His spirit lives on in me and in all of us. He will be surely missed. Long live Mandela!" In Loving Color's Tommy Davidson said "We may have lost a sense of true global freedom forever if we as a human race don't learn from his legacy."

Dennis Haysbert recalled playing Mandela: "Portraying Nelson Mandela, in the film Goodbye Bafana was a defining moment in my life and my career. We as a society, have been blessed to live in a time that Nelson Mandela has lived, loved, and led. What he has done for his country, his countrymen, and everyone on this planet may not be achieved again. ever. I will always honor him as a saint."

Aretha Franklin: "What a sad day that such a great man has passed on and moved on up a little higher. Most extraordinary was how he rose above his being imprisoned and exalted himself above apartheid and hatred to unite the country, an unbelievable example of humanitarianism and courage."

Muhammad Ali: "What I will remember most about Mr. Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge."


Take a look at what actors, musicians, executives and media personalities are saying about the late icon on social media.

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