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HBO's 'Ali' Film Depicts Thurgood Marshall's Love Of DAYS OF OUR LIVES

Thurgood Marshall was the first African American to serve on the
Supreme Court.  He was also a big DAYS OF OUR LIVES fan.
Famous for both his signature shuffle and verbal sparring, boxer Cassius Clay quickly rose to fame in the '60s, becoming the world's best-known athlete - and eventually its most controversial. After joining the Nation of Islam and adopting the name Muhammad Ali, he was widely denounced for refusing to be drafted into the U.S. military, based on his religious opposition to the Vietnam War. Stripped of his title and banned from the sport, the self-proclaimed "Greatest" lost nearly four years of his boxing prime to legal battles. In 1971, his case for being a conscientious objector eventually reached the United States Supreme Court, rooted by tradition and conservative ideals with Nixon-appointed Chief Justice Warren E. Burger at its helm.

Upcoming HBO movie Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight, premiering October 5 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, goes behind the closed doors of the United States Supreme Court as its nine justices - Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Frank Langella), Hugo Black (Fritz Weaver), William O. Douglas (Harris Yulin), John Harlan II (Christopher Plummer), William Brennan, Jr. (Peter Gerety), Potter Stewart (Barry Levinson), Byron "Whizzer" White (John Bedford Lloyd), Thurgood Marshall (Danny Glover) and Harry Blackmun (Ed Begley, Jr.) - decide the outcome of Muhammad Ali's landmark appeal.

Justice Harlan, a respected jurist with 15 years on the Court, finds himself at odds with the Court's status quo after his perspective is challenged by the contemporary ideals of his new clerk, Kevin Connolly (Benjamin Walker). The film explores the intricate politics behind these historic decisions in a time of rapid social and cultural transformation in the American landscape.

Danny Glover, standing, plays Justice Thurgood Marshall in HBO's
upcoming film, Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight
There's also a soap opera connection.

Thurgood Marshall argued “Brown vs. Board of Education” and was appointed to high-level positions by two U.S. Presidents before becoming the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court in 1967.

Age 62 at the time the case was argued and decided, Justice Marshall was also a big fan of daytime drama DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and his addiction to the show is depicted in Danny Glover's portrayal in the film.

The most frequently seen DAYS characters in 1971 were Tom, Bill, Laura, Mickey, Linda, Doug, Julie, Susan and Alice.

Marshall not only watched DAYS in his chambers, but arrived late at meetings because he had to see the end of an episode.

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight screenwriter Shawn Slovo talked about Marshall and DAYS in the interview clip below.



"He was kind of addicted to the soap opera, the DAYS OF OUR LIVES," Slovo said of Marshall. "He was known for being late. If the conference started before the soap opera ended, he had to wait and see the end. I'm not saying it was a daily occurrence but it is one of the features of his life, at this particular point in his life."

Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight stars Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer, Academy Award nominee Frank Langella and Benjamin Walker; directed by Academy Award nominee Stephen Frears from a script by Shawn Slovo; and executive produced by Emmy winner Frank Doelger, Emmy winner Tracey Scoffield, Jonathan Cameron and Stephen Frears.

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