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Marla Gibbs

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Information about Marla Gibbs

Profile image of Marla Gibbs

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Television Actress

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige, Black, Green, Pink, Purple, Red, White
Favorite Food:
Salmon
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Maui, Hawaii, Nassau, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Stay In The Now.

Birthplace

Born:
6/14/1931
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Television Actress

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige, Black, Green, Pink, Purple, Red, White
Favorite Food:
Salmon
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Maui, Hawaii, Nassau, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Stay In The Now.

Birthplace

Born:
6/14/1931
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Marla Gibbs is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Television actress Marla Gibbs was born on June 14, 1931 to Douglas Bradley and Ophelia Kemp in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from Wendell Phillips High School in 1949, Gibbs attended secretarial school and went to work at Service Bindery in Chicago. She then was hired, at Gotham Hotel in Detroit, Michigan, and later worked for Detroit Street Railways (DSR). Gibbs worked for United Airlines as a receptionist. After being transferred to Detroit and later Los Angeles, she took acting classes at the Mafundi Institute and the Watts Writers’ Workshop. In the early 1970s, Gibbs was cast in theatrical roles at the Zodiac Theater and small roles in “made for TV” movies. In 1973, Gibbs had a major supporting role in the 1973 movie Sweet Jesus, Preacher Man.

Gibbs’ big break came in 1975 at the age of forty-four when she was hired for a bit part as a household domestic named “Florence” in the CBS show The Jeffersons, a spin-off of All In The Family. Her character was a hit, and the writers decided to keep her on full-time. Gibbs quit her job at United Airlines only after the show gained widespread popularity, and she appeared in the television program as one of the main characters for all eleven seasons. The Jeffersons was one of the top ten rated television shows for four different years (1975, 1980, 1981 and 1982). Gibbs was nominated for prime-time Emmy Awards four times for Best Supporting Actress in a comedy series, for her role on The Jeffersons. After the show ended, Gibbs bought the rights to a play that was produced by her daughter, Angela Gibbs, called 227 and sold the show to NBC, where she played the lead role (“Mary Jenkins”) for five successful seasons.

Gibbs owned and operated Marla’s Memory Lane, a jazz club and restaurant. Her daughter, Angela, founded the Cross Roads Theater Company in Leimart Park, Los Angeles, and Gibbs owned and operated the Vision Theater Complex. She continues to play guest roles on television and is still involved in the theater. Gibbs has performed dinner theater in Overland Park, Kansas at the New Theatre Company where she was showcased in Neil Simon’s play, Proposals.

Marla Gibbs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 8, 2007.

See how Marla Gibbs is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marla Gibbs' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marla Gibbs lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marla Gibbs describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marla Gibbs describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marla Gibbs describes her mother's occupations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marla Gibbs recalls her mother's numbers operation
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marla Gibbs describes her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marla Gibbs describes her stepfather and stepsister
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marla Gibbs recalls her summers in Racine, Wisconsin
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marla Gibbs recalls marrying Jordan Gibbs, Sr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marla Gibbs lists her children
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marla Gibbs lists her grandchildren and great-grandchildren
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marla Gibbs describes her family's celebrations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marla Gibbs lists her high schools
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marla Gibbs describes her early personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marla Gibbs describes her activities in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marla Gibbs talks about her non-profit organizational activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marla Gibbs describes her spirituality
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marla Gibbs talks about her health
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marla Gibbs describes her jazz album, 'It's Never Too Late'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marla Gibbs talks about her interest in tennis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marla Gibbs remembers the alumni of Wendell Phillips High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marla Gibbs describes her early work experiences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marla Gibbs recalls working for United Airlines in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marla Gibbs recalls her early acting career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marla Gibbs recalls auditioning for film roles
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marla Gibbs recalls buying the Memory Lane jazz club in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marla Gibbs recalls opening Marla's Memory Lane Supper Club in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marla Gibbs describes her two non-profit organizations
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marla Gibbs describes her character, Florence Johnston, on 'The Jeffersons'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marla Gibbs recalls acting with Sherman Hemsley on 'The Jeffersons'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marla Gibbs describes the cast of 'The Jeffersons,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marla Gibbs describes the cast of 'The Jeffersons,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marla Gibbs reflects upon the social impact of 'The Jeffersons'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marla Gibbs reflects upon the universal appeal of 'The Jeffersons'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Marla Gibbs recalls meeting actor Billy Dee Williams
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marla Gibbs talks about the Emmy Awards
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marla Gibbs describes the popularity of her character, Florence Johnston
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marla Gibbs recalls creating the television show '227'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marla Gibbs remembers an episode of '227' about homelessness
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marla Gibbs describes the cast of '227'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marla Gibbs reflects upon the success of '227'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marla Gibbs talks about The Vision Theatre in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marla Gibbs describes her plans for the future
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Marla Gibbs remembers her stepsister, Susie Garrett
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Marla Gibbs talks about her brain aneurysm
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marla Gibbs remembers recovering from a brain aneurysm, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marla Gibbs remembers recovering from her brain aneurysm, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marla Gibbs remembers her birthday celebration in Overland Park, Kansas
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marla Gibbs talks about her celebrity acquaintances
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marla Gibbs describes her plan to write her autobiography