*Angela Bassett’s portrayal of Tina Turner in 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” was among an unreal amount of real life women the actress had taken on by the time we spoke with her in 2002 for her portrayal of Rosa Parks in the CBS film “The Rosa Parks Story.”
Bassett had also stepped into the shoes of Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson in the 1992 miniseries “The Jacksons: An American Dream,” and twice as Malcolm X’s wife Betty Shabazz: Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” in 1992, and the Mario Van Peebles-directed “Panther” in 1995.
“I just try to remain truthful, as human as possible. And so far it has worked out for me,” Bassett said of their reactions to her cinematic work. “Tina, Ms. Shabazz, Katherine Jackson, Parks, it all worked out positively in that they’ve appreciated the portrayals.”
With the May 24 passing of Turner, the Jackson family matriarch is the lone survivor of the formidable real women Bassett had portrayed at the time We asked Bassett at the time if she had ever considered playing women who are more vulnerable. The film star responded, “I think all my women are vulnerable,” and cited Turner, specifically, as an example.
Turner’s representative announced Wednesday that she “died peacefully” at age of 83 “after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland.” The 12-time Grammy winner and two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee had suffered various health issues in recent years, including a debilitating stroke in 2013, intestinal cancer in 2016 and a kidney transplant in 2017. Her resilience after years of spousal abuse to become the “Queen of Rock and Roll” is being cited among the greatest comeback stories in musical history.
Meanwhile, Bassett went on to play two more real life women after this interview: Coretta Scott King opposite Mary J. Blige’s Betty Shabazz in the 2013 TV movie “Betty and Coretta,” and rapper Notorious B.I.G.’s mother Voletta Wallace in 2009’s “Notorious.”
If you count animated characters, Bassett also voiced forever FLOTUS Michelle Obama in a 2010 episode of “The Simpsons.”
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