×

Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter Dies at 76

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a boxer who was wrongly convicted of murder and inspired a massive campaign to see to his release, has died, according to several reports. His plight inspired Bob Dylan song “Hurricane” and Denzel Washington-starrer “The Hurricane.” He was 76.

According to The New York Times, the cause of death was prostate cancer, which he had been battling for some time. He died Sunday morning in his Toronto home.

Carter was a crowd-pleasing boxer, known for his charisma and fierce left hook, and earned a world title fight in 1964, which he narrowly lost. However, his boxing career was cut short when he was charged of killing and shooting two men and a woman in Paterson, New Jersey in 1966. His was eventually released on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct and the determination that he did not get a fair trial, but spent 19 years in prison beforehand.

His murder charges thrust him to center of a worldwide campaign championing his innocence. A defense committee organized for the cause, comprised of many political and famous faces at the time. He was described by Amnesty International as a “prisoner of conscience.”

Involved in the long legal battles were allegations of racial bias against Carter, along with recanted testimony and a failed prosecution appeal. There were times when it seemed his legal battles could not be won, but he still attracted legions of supporters. Carter himself spoke out for civil rights and against police brutality.

Bob Dylan furthered the cause greatly when he released the song “Hurricane,” which spoke for Carter’s innocence against the police. In 1976, it became a Top 40 hit. The song came after two witnesses recanted their testimonies in 1974 and his trial became a major civil rights issue.

His pop culture influence surfaced again years later in 1999, when his life was made into a film, “The Hurricane.” Washington starred as Carter in the Norman Jewison-directed movie, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal. Carter also released an autobiography, “The 16th Round,” in 1974 while in prison.

Carter was released for good in 1985 with the help of Canadian activists. Prosecutors chose not to pursue a third trial.

Carter became a strong advocate for the wrongly convicted after his release. He served as the executive director of Toronto-based Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, a post he held for 12 years. He also founded Innocence International in Toronto, a nonprofit organization which worked to free prisoners the org considered to be wrongfully convicted.

Carter is survived by his two children.

More Biz

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

  • New York City NYC Placeholder

    CityFM Podcast Takes a Deep Look at New York’s Music Scene (Listen)

    First among the many projects listed at the beginning of New York Music Month in June was a WNYE radio show and podcast called CityFM that promised to “explore the city’s music culture, emerging artists and trends, and upcoming events told through the lens of what’s happening around the city in Summer 2019.” And while [...]

  • Live Nation Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Live Nation)

    Live Nation Confirms Placing Tickets Directly on Secondary Market at Artists’ Request

    Representatives for Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company and owner of Ticketmaster, confirmed that it bypassed conventional channels and directly placed thousands of concert tickets on the secondary market upon artists’ request, in an article published in Billboard. In a statement shared with Variety, the company acknowledged that it has facilitated the transfer of [...]

  • Costume designer Michele Clapton

    Costume Designers Fashion a Plan to Fight for Pay Parity in Upcoming Contract Talks

    The Costume Designers Guild Local 892 is gearing up to fight for pay equity in its 2021 contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, establishing a pay-equity committee to raise awareness of the scale disparity between the mostly female CDG membership and the mostly male membership of the Art Directors Guild Local [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content