Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. (August 20, 1942 -- August 10, 2008) was an American soul and funk singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger, composer and actor. Hayes was one of the main creative forces behind southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served as both an in-house songwriter and producer with partner David Porter during the mid-1960s. In the late 1960s, Hayes became a recording artist, and recorded successful soul albums such as Hot Buttered Soul (1969) and Black Moses (1971) as the Stax label's premier artist.
Alongside his work in popular music, Hayes was a film score composer for motion pictures. His best known work, for the 1971 blaxploitation film Shaft, earned Hayes an Academy Award for Best Original Song (the first Academy Award received by an African-American in a non-acting category) and two Grammy Awards. He received a third Grammy for the album Black Moses.
In 1992, in recognition of his humanitarian work, he was crowned an honorary king of Ghana's Ada district. From 1997 to 2006, he provided the voice for the character "Chef" on the Comedy Central animated TV series South Park.
Hayes was found dead in his Memphis home on August 10, 2008 as reported by the Shelby County sheriff's department. His death came 10 days before his 66th birthday.
Here is a complete slo-mo video clip of Isaac Hayes conducting the Theme from Shaft, which won an Oscar for best song.