Oprah Winfrey Reveals Tina Turner Turned Down ‘The Color Purple’ Film Role

The legendary singer died in her Zurich, Switzerland, home at the age of 83 on Wednesday.


Tina Turner rejected a starring role in the 1985 film The Color Purple as it was too close to her personal life, her friend Oprah Winfrey recalled.

The media mogul shared the revelation a day before Turner's death at age 83, Entertainment Weekly reported Thursday.

"I remember hearing this from Quincy Jones years ago," Winfrey said of the film's producer while at a trailer launch for the remake, adding that "they had originally gone to Tina Turner in 1985 to ask Tina Turner to play Shug Avery."

She explained, "Tina Turner turned down the role of Shug Avery because she said she'd already lived it with Ike [Turner]. And she was not gonna put herself through it again."

Actress Margaret Avery was ultimately cast in the role.

Oprah Winfrey in "The Color Purple," Tina Turner
Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images

Tina married Ike in 1962. At the time, she was the frontwoman for The Ike & Tina Turner Revue. They divorced in 1978 after years of physical and emotional abuse. 

As news of Tina's death circulated Wednesday, Winfrey paid tribute to her longtime friend in a touching social media post.

"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," Winfrey wrote on Instagram alongside a series of photos of her and Tina through the years. "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."

She saluted Tina's strength and continued in part, "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."

The "Proud Mary" singer died "after a long illness in her home in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland," a spokesperson confirmed to The Messenger on Wednesday. 

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner," a post from her official Instagram account read. "With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow. Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music. All our heartfelt compassion goes out to her family. Tina, we will miss you dearly."

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