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Nelson Mandela: Hollywood Remembers Its Fallen Friend

Nelson Mandela’s passing today at the age of 95 had a strong impact on Hollywood. While the South African politician and revolutionary leader has been depicted in films such as the upcoming TWC biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” he also partnered with insiders on charity campaigns. Here, he is remembered by some who knew him:

“One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity,” said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein. “We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.”

“What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world,” said Idris Elba, who portrays him in the TWC film. “My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

I will never forget the time I spent with President Mandela,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Even before I met him, he was one of my heroes. But during the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in South Africa, I had the opportunity to stand with him in his former jail cell at Robben Island to light the torch, and his legend grew before my eyes. He told me about his struggles, his time in captivity, his persecution and oppression. Most people would have had nothing in their heart but revenge, but all President Mandela had was forgiveness. He is the definition of serving a cause greater than self. He singlehandedly reunited his nation, because he had a vision of the future that should inspire all of us. President Mandela’s life is the closest thing we have to proof of God. I will never be able to thank him enough for his inspiration. Today, each of us should commit to do at least one small thing to improve the planet in his honor. Give back. Help someone. Change the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of South Africa.”

“Mandela was one of the great leaders and teachers of the Twentieth century,” said Paul Simon, who was the first American artist to perform in South Africa after apartheid. “He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice and the power of forgiveness. His passing should reignite a worldwide effort for peace.”

“Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century,” said Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela in 2009’s “Invictus.” “Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve — a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us.”

“Mandela shall be missed but his spirit remains with us as long as we remember the principal of greater love for one another and respect for oneself,” said Terrence Howard, who played the activist in the 2011 film “Winnie Mandela” about his wife. “Rest well brother until the world cries again for the warmth of your brilliant light!”

“Together with our nation and the world, we mourn the loss of South Africa’s greatest hero – former President Nelson Mandela,” the producers of “Winnie Mandela” said in a statement. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to all who were touched by his life – especially the Mandela family and close friends. One of the blessings of working on the film, was learning more about this extraordinary man and recognising the impact he made – not only on the lives of South Africans, but on the lives, policies and decisions of leaders around the world. Thank you, Madiba, for bringing your light to our world. May that light shine on forever! Hamba kahle, Tata.”

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