- Tina Turner turned down the role of Shug Avery in the 1985 adaptation of “The Color Purple.”
- Oprah Winfrey, who starred in the movie, said Turner didn’t want to be in a film about domestic violence.
- Winfrey said that the singer told producer Quincy Jones that she’d “already lived it.”
The late Tina Turner rejected a leading role in the 1985 adaptation of “The Color Purple,” according to Oprah Winfrey.
Entertainment Weekly reported that during a trailer launch event for the upcoming musical remake earlier this week, Winfrey, who starred in the original and is producing the remake, recalled that Turner was approached to play the flamboyant singer Shug Avery.
The role later went to Margaret Avery, while Táta Vega voiced Shug when she was singing.
“I remember hearing this from Quincy Jones years ago, that they had originally gone to Tina Turner in 1985 to ask Tina Turner to play Shug Avery,” said Winfrey. “Tina Turner turned down the role of Shug Avery because she said she’d already lived it with Ike. And she was not gonna put herself through it again.”
“The Color Purple” explores several problems African-American women experienced during the early 20th century, including domestic violence, which Turner had raised awareness about after her divorce from her ex-husband Ike Turner in 1978.
Ike Turner, who died in 2007 at age 76, met Tina as a teenager and the pair formed a romantic relationship and a musical partnership.
Turner first publicly spoke about her abusive marriage in 1981, three years after her divorce from Ike in order to separate herself from her ex-husband.
On Wednesday, Turner’s family said she had “died peacefully” at age 83 in her home in Switzerland after a “long illness.”
Following the announcement, Winfrey, a longtime friend of the singer, paid tribute to the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll on her Instagram.
In her first post, which contained a slideshow of images of her and Turner over the years, Winfrey wrote: “I started out as a fan of Tina Turner, then a full-on groupie, following her from show to show around the country, and then, eventually, we became real friends. She is our forever goddess of rock ‘n’ roll who contained a magnitude of inner strength that grew throughout her life. She was a role model not only for me but for the world. She encouraged a part of me I didn’t know existed.”
Winfrey continued: “Once she claimed her freedom from years of domestic abuse, her life became a clarion call for triumph. I’m grateful for her courage, for showing us what victory looks like wearing Manolo’s and a leather miniskirt.”
“She once shared with me that when her time came to leave this earth, she would not be afraid, but excited and curious. Because she had learned how to LIVE surrounded by her beloved husband, Erwin, and friends. I am a better woman, a better human, because her life touched mine. She was indeed simply the best.”
The second tribute post was a video of Winfrey performing with Turner on the latter’s Wildest Dreams Tour and in the caption, Winfrey wrote about being “so nervous” before performing but that she felt “encouraged” by the “What’s Love Got to Do with It” singer.
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