SAMUEL L. JACKSON Sometimes when people pass, you can actually feel the hole in the universe. This is one of those.
A founder of the Negro Ensemble Company
We bonded on the road with “A Raisin in the Sun.” Douglas got to play the Sidney Poitier role, Walter Lee [Younger], which was a role he had understudied from the very beginning.
He was a highly intellectual man. Read all the time about everything. I was not into politics at all. But by the time we closed “Raisin in the Sun,” I was a politico. We talked politics all the time. We talked about Black art.
His whole sense of humor as it relates to his writing was classic. He proves it, of course, in “Day of Absence,” when all the Black people disappear from this Southern town. It’s just hilarious. But the white folks that were laughing, their heads would roll down the aisle because that’s the kind of humor Douglas wrote: scathing, scathing stuff.
Of all the men that I’ve ever met in my life, he was the greatest influence. My father died when I was 2. But when I met Douglas Turner Ward, I had a father and a brother.
Negro Ensemble Company alum; in a written statement
Douglas Turner Ward was a “salt of the Earth” person who brought those sensibilities to the art of theater. He was daring. He was bold. He was honest. He was kind. He made room for many theater artists. He even created space.