Born Daphne Maxwell, actress Daphne Reid was born on July 13, 1948. Growing up on Manhattan’s West Side, Reid was influenced early on by her teachers to enroll in a challenging high school. Despite her initial desire to attend the Fashion Industries High School, she was swayed to attend the Bronx High School of Science. While attending Bronx Science, Reid was highly involved, serving as senior class president and joining the Group Theater Workshop. After her graduation, she received a scholarship to attend Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. While there, she was named homecoming queen, becoming the first black woman at the school to attain the title. She went on to earn her B.A. in 1970.
While still a student at Northwestern, one of Reid’s teachers from Bronx Science submitted a photograph of her to a modeling agency, and her modeling career took off. In 1969, Reid became the first African American woman to grace the cover of Glamour. While in Chicago in the 1970s, Reid met comedian Tim Reid and the two became fast friends, and they would go on to marry in 1982. Reid made her television debut in 1979 on the short-lived series, The Duke, and made the move to Los Angeles. There, she appeared on several episodes of the popular show WKRP in Cincinnati opposite her future husband. Throughout the 1980s, she would appear on numerous hit television shows, including T.J. Hooker, The A-Team, Murder, She Wrote and Simon & Simon, where she again worked with her husband. In 1987, her husband co-produced the critically acclaimed but short-lived series Frank’s Place, and featured Tim and Daphne opposite one another. The two went on to work together on Snoops before hosting a talk show, The Tim and Daphne Show. In 1993, Reid made her biggest move yet, when she joined the cast of the hit series, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air in the role of Aunt Viv, and she remained there until the show’s end in 1996.
In 1997, Reid, her husband Tim Reid, Mark Warner (then governor of Virginia) and Dan Hoffler founded New Millennium Studios in Petersburg, Virginia. The studio was the first African American production operation since scar Micheaux’s to handle a project from start to finish. A number of documentaries and films have since been filmed there, including The Contender and Hearts in Atlantis. They have also re-released The Spook Who Sat By the Door, by Sam Greenlee, as a part of their Obsidian Gold Series, and are working on a series entitled American Legacy highlighting historical contributions of African Americans. Currently, Reid is working on the sitcom Eve on UPN.