Russell Williams II

28 Days of Black History Makers show

Summary: The first African-American to win two Academy Awards in any category—which he did back-to-back for 1989’s Glory and 1990’s Dances with Wolves—discusses the inspiration for his success. “Even before I got into the business, the film that made me consider that there was work behind the scenes was 1967’s In the Heat of the Night,” he tells Keepin It Reel host Tim Gordon. “Not so much the great performance by Sidney Poitier, but I was paying attention to the Quincy Jones score, and people like Ray Charles, who not only did the theme, but played some background cues. And I said, ‘That’s interesting. African-Americans working behind the scenes.’”