Issac Hayes, Music Pioneer and Actor, Dies at 65

In Films/Film stars, music, obituaries on August 12, 2008 by Editor Z

Issac Hayes, the deep voiced Rhythm and Blues and soul singer, songwriter, and actor, who is known recently as providing the voice of the character “chef” on the long running Comedy Central TV series “South Park” was found unconscious Sunday at his home in Tennessee. He was 65 years old.

His influence in music was like sunshine with its rays bringing light to genres ranging from soul, to R &B, disco, techno, and rap; as well as the movies.

Hayes was a well known figure in music. He was perhaps best known for his song which was the opening title to the 1971 classic blaxplotation action film Shaft (1971), which won him an Academy Award for best original score to a movie and two Grammys.

Hayes also released some 22 albums of music throughout the span of his career, and was also an actor. Appearing in such films as: Escape from New York (1981), Robin Hood Men in Tights (1991), It Could Happen to You (1994), Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), Reindeer Games (1999), and Dr Doolittle 2 (2001); as well as a litany of TV shows. Recently he had been working on “Soul Man”, along with the now deceased comedian Bernie Mac.

Associated Press:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Isaac Hayes, the baldheaded, baritone-voiced soul crooner who laid the groundwork for disco and whose “Theme From Shaft” won both Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday after he collapsed near a treadmill, authorities said. He was 65.

Hayes was pronounced dead at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis an hour after he was found by a family member, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said. The cause of death was not immediately known.

In his spoken-word introductions and interludes, Hayes was essentially rapping before there was rap. His career hit another high in 1997 when he became the voice of Chef, the sensible school cook and devoted ladies’ man on the animated TV show “South Park.”

Hayes was about to begin work on a new album for Stax, the soul record label he helped build.

The album “Hot Buttered Soul” made Hayes a star in 1969. Next came “Theme From Shaft,” a No. 1 hit in 1971 from the film “Shaft” starring Richard Roundtree. He won an Academy Award for the song and was nominated for another one for the score. The song and score also won him two Grammys.

Hayes was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Hayes was born in 1942 in a tin shack in Covington, Tenn., about 40 miles north of Memphis. He was raised by his maternal grandparents after his mother died and his father took off when he was 1 1/2.

Hayes wanted to be a doctor but got redirected when he won a talent contest in ninth grade by singing Nat King Cole’s “Looking Back.”

Hayes gave life soul and rhythm when it needed it. May you rest in peace man.



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