Rubin Carter Dies at 76: Inspiration Behind Denzel Washington's 'Hurricane' Leaves Legacy

In 1999, Denzel Washington received his fourth Academy Award nomination for his role in The Hurricane. He played Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. Now Rubin "Hurricane" Carter has died, at the age of 76. The Hurricane was adapted from a book written by Carter, about his wrongful conviction for a triple homicide that took place at a bar in Paterson, NJ. He and friend John Artis were both wrongly convicted, with Carter spending nineteen years in prison before a federal judge ruled the trials unfair and both were exonerated.

For over a decade Carter served as an executive director of Canada's Association if Defense of the Wrongly Convicted. Artis was with him when Carter passed away from prostate cancer in Toronto this weekend.

Carter was a middleweight boxing champion, and he worked closely with Washington during the production of The Hurricane. Of his time near the person he was portraying Denzel said "He went through pots and pots of coffee and packs of cigarettes. I'd drink a little coffee. It's interesting and challenging when the person is there, alive and in the room."

The film itself was described by The New Yorker, though, as factually incorrect and "a liberal fairytale," so it's valuable to focus on the trials and tribulations of Carter's life with a wider scope than just the film that broadcast his story the widest.

In other cultural moments related to his life, though, Carter also found himself the inspiration for Bob Dylan's 1975 song "Hurricane," which you find video and selected lyrics to below.

Rubin Carter was falsely triedThe crime was murder 'one' guess who testifiedBello and Bradley and they both baldly liedAnd the newspapers they all went along for the rideHow can the life of such a manBe in the palm of some fool's hand ? To see him obviously framedCouldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land Where justice is a game.Now all the criminals in their coats and their tiesAre free to drink martinis and watch the sun riseWhile Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cellAn innocent man in a living hellThat's the story of the HurricaneBut it won't be over till they clear his nameAnd give him back the time he's donePut him in a prison cell but one time he could-a beenThe champion of the world.
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