Famous boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who Bob Dylan once wrote a song about, passed away yesterday on Easter Sunday, at age 76, according to CNN. Carter, who was also portrayed by actor Denzel Washington in a movie, was twice convicted of murder before an appeals court judge threw out the convictions, according to the New York Times.
Carter was an outstanding boxer who once fought for the middleweight championship. He was hoping for a second shot at the title when he was convicted of being involved in the murder of three people in Paterson, New Jersey. He did several years in prison before an appeals court ordered a second trial for him.
Celebrities such as Dylan rallied to his side. Dylan, an avid boxing fan, created a wave of publicity around the case which helped place Carter's case in the national spotlight before his case was reversed the first time. But when the diminutive boxer was convicted by a second jury, his celebrity support melted away and he was returned to prison for another long stretch.
When an appeals court judge threw out his second conviction, he moved to Canada. From his residence there, he became involved in helping other prison inmates.
Washington won an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Carter in a movie in 1999 which re-introduced the hard-hitting fighter to a new generation. Upon hearing of Carter's death Sunday, the actor said, "God bless Rubin Hurricane Carter."
After knocking out 11 of his first 15 opponents fighting mainly in Madison Square Garden, Ring Magazine named him its outstanding boxer for 1963. A rabid fan base was excited about his world championship hopes, but he lost a middleweight title bout to Joey Giardello.
He was hoping for a second title shot when he was arrested for a triple homicide in 1966 at the Lafayette Bar and Grill. He spent 19 years in prison before a federal judge ruled in 1985 he and co-defendant John Artis didn't receive fair trials.
He spent his remaining years in Toronto and was the first executive director for the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993-2004.
He died from complications from prostate cancer.
He excited fans with a thrilling style of attacking opponents with wave after wave of blows. Although he was only 5-8, his determination and ability launched his once promising career. His most notable victory came in 1963 when he knocked out alltime great Emile Griffith in the first round.
Born in Clifton, N.J., he was the fourth of seven children.
Dylan's song was entitled "Hurricane". Washington's movie was named "The Hurricane."
Burt Reynolds was among the cadre of celebrities who supported Carter's legal fights.
Anyone interested in receiving updates of future National Places and Faces articles may click on the subscribe link adjacent to this article.