William Warfield

William Caesar Warfield ( born January 22, 1920 in West Helena / Arkansas; † August 25, 2002 in Chicago ) was an American singer ( bass-baritone ).

Warfield had as a child piano lessons and studied, after he had won the singing competition of the National Music Educators League in 1938 at the Eastman School of Music. In 1942 he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was due to his language skills at the military intelligence service. From 1946 he led a troop tour with Harold Rome's musical Call Me Mister.

He worked then as a pianist and singer in various other shows with until it debuted at the New York Warfield 's Down Hall 1950. The success earned him an invitation from the Australian Broadcast Corporation for a concert tour of Australia. It was followed by his first appearance in the MGM film adaptation of the musical Show Boat production from 1951, in which he 'Man sang Paul Robeson's legendary song Ol River. In Germany the film was released under the title Mississippi melody to the movies.

He then joined George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess with Leontyne Price, whom he married in 1952. The couple separated in 1958 again, but was divorced in 1972. Warfield took six concert tours on behalf of the State Department of the United States. In performances of Porgy and Bess, he joined New York (1961) and Vienna (1965 and 1974 ), he also toured with a German-language version of Show Boat.

On a European tour of the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein, he joined as a spokesman Aaron Copland's A Lincoln Portrait in on; with the piece, he won a Grammy in 1984. On recordings, he sang with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy games from Handel's Messiah with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bruno Walter games from Mozart's Requiem. He also sang the premieres in Collections Old American Songs by Aaron Copland (1952 and 1958). In his last years he took on the jazz album Something Within Me, and was speaker in Dreamer: A Portrait of Langston Hughes.

From 1975 Warfield taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, from 1992 at Northwestern University in Chicago. He was also a board member of the National Association of Negro Musicians and the Schiller Institute. In 1991 he published his autobiography, My Music & My Life. As a singer he remained until his death from a fall at his home active.


  • Encyclopedia of Arkansas - William Caesar Warfield (1920-2002)
  • The Schiller Institute - Schiller Institute Board of Directors: William Warfield
  • Find A Grave - William Caesar Warfield
  • Akuma.de - William Warfield
  • William Warfield at the Internet Movie Database (English)
  • Bass - baritone
  • Singing teacher
  • Americans
  • Born in 1920
  • Died in 2002
  • Man