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Story of WSU alumnus Rodriguez wins Oscar

February 26, 2013

"Searching for Sugar Man" found an Oscar on Sunday night. The film, which traces the strange, almost unbelievable tale of Detroit folk musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez from obscurity to international success, largely without his knowing, won the Academy Award for best documentary feature at Sunday's 85th Academy Awards. The Oscar win caps the incredible 13-month journey of the film. "Sugar Man" debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and rode a steady wave of buzz over the course of the year. As the film picked up steam, Rodriguez, who performed his music in the 1960's and '70's, was profiled on "60 Minutes" and "CBS Sunday Morning," and made appearances on David Letterman and Jay Leno's talk shows. The success follows decades of obscurity for Rodriguez, who grew up at 831 Michigan Avenue in downtown Detroit and earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Wayne State University. He did construction work in the city and occasionally dabbled in politics, including runs for Detroit City Council, State Representative, Senator and two bids for mayor of Detroit. Meanwhile, Rodriguez' international profile grew, and he became a cult figure in South Africa.