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Crystal Lee Sutton
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    (1941-September 11, 2009)
    Birth name was Crystal Lee Pulley
    Textile worker
    Organizer for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU)
    Fired from her job for trying to unionize fellow employees (1973)
    Subject of the book 'Crystal Lee: A Woman of Inheritance' by New York Times reporter Hank Lieferman (1975)
    Inspiration for the movie 'Norma Rae' (1979)
    She said of school, 'I hated every second I went. I even hated study hall and lunch time.'
    After winning a court order reinstating her job, she went back to work for only two days (1977).
    Her name was changed in the film she inspired.
    After she complained about her portrayal in 'Norma Rae,' director Martin Ritt responded, 'She's obviously no longer the free spirit of my movie. She's turned into a middle-class bourgeoise woman who doesn't want anyone to know about her life.'
    Her first husband broke her nose during an argument.
    She won the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award (1980).
    When her insurance company took two months to decide if it would cover medication for her meningioma, she said 'How in the world can it take so long to find out when it could be a matter of life or death? It is almost like, in a way, committing murder.'
    Sally Field said, 'Portraying Crystal Lee in 'Norma Rae'... not only elevated me as an actress, but as a human being.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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