Isaac Hayes Dead at 65
Hayes is survived by his wife and 12 children.
When “Theme from ‘Shaft’” won the Oscar for Best Song in 1971, Hayes became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for music. However, “Shaft” was not Hayes’s first foray into the movies; he had previously written a score for Norman Mailer’s experimental film, “Maidstone.” Hayes had dreamed of being an actor, and had actually sought the lead role in “Shaft” for himself. He appeared in a few movies after Shaft, primarily other “blaxploitation” films, says Allmovie.com.
Hayes was also a staple on the popular TV show, “South Park,” supplying the voice of the wise but somewhat inappropriately ardent Chef. The show was infamous (and wildly popular) for mercilessly mocking religious groups, celebrities and political figures, but after a 2006 episode that targeted Scientology, Hayes, a devoted Scientologist, put his foot down. “There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends, and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” Hayes said in a statement reported by The Guardian. “As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices.” Creator Matt Stone felt that civil rights were not the issue, believing that Hayes had taken offense only when his own religion was the one under satirical scrutiny. Hayes was released from his contract.