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    Actor Stan Shaw enlightens NSWC PHD at National African American/Black History Month event

    Stan Shaw speaks at NSWC PHD

    Photo By Marco Hinahon | Actor, writer and producer Stan Shaw speaks at the National African American/ Black...... read more read more

    PORT HUENEME, CA, UNITED STATES

    02.12.2018

    Story by J.W. Marcum 

    Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division

    Actor, writer and producer Stan Shaw spoke at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division’s (NSWC PHD) National African American/Black History Month observance, Feb. 8.

    Shaw shared his personal story of how he started acting, his many mentors throughout his career and his philosophy on resilience, perseverance and determination.

    Born in Chicago, Shaw’s father, Eddie, was a well-known saxophonist who played with jazz and blues legends from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago’s “mean streets.” Growing up, Shaw would sing with his father in blues joints and night clubs. He was eventually picked up by a casting director who was in town producing a musical. Shaw began acting on Broadway in New York City and eventually made his way to Hollywood, where he would spend the next 40 years starring in films.

    When he started acting in 1972, there were few desirable parts for black actors, according to Shaw. “Hollywood was cutthroat, and many of the roles were being given to former athletes,” said Shaw. The parts were initially what he called, “the best of the worst.” Shaw formulated a plan to only play roles that reflected his beliefs.

    “A career is what you choose to do, and also what you turn down,” he said. “Each individual on this planet is placed here for a reason. Faith strengthens us when we’re at our weakest. You have to be fearless.”

    During his tenure, Shaw became friends with actors Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Redd Foxx and Billy Dee Williams. Many acted as mentors.

    “Mentorship has been amazing in my life,” stated Shaw. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have these men in my life; they elevated me.”

    According to Shaw, James Earl Jones was “the most influential person in my life and career choices.” As his greatest mentor, he still remains in touch. Shaw shared an experience when Jones called his house and Shaw put his son on the line. The younger Shaw, in disbelief that he was speaking with “Darth Vader,” (Jones played the voice in the Star Wars feature) eventually had all of his friends in the neighborhood come and speak to him over the phone. “Darth Vader” told the kids to obey their parents and to make good grades in school.

    “I was king of the neighborhood after that moment,” said Shaw. “How can you top that?”

    Shaw closed with a few words about commitment and integrity. He said his father had passed away three days ago and his family was in the midst of funeral arrangements. He told his family that his presence would be delayed due to a prior commitment. A commitment he had made a month ago to speak at the National African American / Black History Month event at NSWC PHD.

    “You are serving at the highest level of our country, keeping us safe,” said Shaw. “It’s an amazing sacrifice and a commitment that strengthens what we hold dear. I appreciate your service.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.12.2018
    Date Posted: 02.12.2018 18:10
    Story ID: 265763
    Location: PORT HUENEME, CA, US 
    Hometown: CHICAGO, IL, US
    Hometown: HOLLYWOOD, CA, US

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