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Melba Moore

Singer, stage actress, and musical singer Melba Moore was born Beatrice Melba Smith on October 29, 1945 in New York City. The daughter of Detroit bandleader, Ted Hill, Moore was raised by mother, Gertrude Melba Smith and stepfather, Clement Leroy Moorman, alsoa professional musicians. As a youth, Moore’s passion was dancing, however, when her stepfather made her take piano lessons, she began to admire jazz and blues pianists. Moore attended Newark, New Jersey’s Waverly Elementary School and Cleveland Junior High School. After graduating from the High School of Performing Arts, she enrolled in Montclair State Teachers College. Later, Moore went on to earn her B.A. degree in music.

Moore returned to the Newark Public Schools and student taught at the Pershine Avenue Elementary School. As a teacher, Moore began to perform with other teachers that formed a cultural performance group called Black Voices. In 1968, Moore began to work at various studios in Manhattan where she provided background vocals for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin. While working at one such session, Moore was encouraged to audition for the Broadway musical Hair in 1968. She succeeded Diane Keaton in the lead role in 1969.

Moore went on to play recurring roles in several hit Broadway productions including Purlie, which she won a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Inacent Black, Timbuktu and Les Misérables. In 1975, alongside her then-husband Charles Huggins, Moore formed Hush Productions and signed R&B artist Freddie Jackson. That same year, she released her Grammy-nominated, debut album entitled Peach Melba. Throughout the 1980s, Moore made appearances on several television and movie productions including Ellis Island. In 2003, she was featured alongside Beyoncé Knowles and Cuba Gooding, Jr. as “Bessie Cooley” in The Fighting Temptations.

Moore lives in New York City.

Melba Moore was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 28, 2010.

Accession Number

A2008.008

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/4/2008 |and| 4/28/2010

Last Name

Moore

Marital Status

Divorced

Organizations
Schools

Arts High School

Waverly Elementary School

Cleveland Junior High School

St. Thomas the Apostle School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Melba

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MOO13

Favorite Season

All Seasons

Sponsor

A and E

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Praise The Lord.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

10/29/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Guttenberg

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Stage actress, musical singer, and singer Melba Moore (1945 - ) won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Purlie. She was also a recording artist, and received a Grammy nomination for her song, 'Lean on Me.'

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Melba Moore's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Melba Moore lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Melba Moore describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Melba Moore describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her mother's Creole heritage

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Melba Moore describes her mother's musical career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about her biological father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Melba Moore describes how her mother and stepfather met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Melba Moore talks about her mother and stepfather's musical style

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Melba Moore talks about the nightclub venues in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Melba Moore describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Melba Moore remembers the Harlem neighborhood of New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Melba Moore describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Melba Moore remembers her early dance lessons

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Melba Moore talks about moving from New York City to Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about her family

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Melba Moore describes her schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Melba Moore talks about her early involvement in the performing arts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Melba Moore talks about her favorite black performers

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Melba Moore talks about her career aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Melba Moore recalls studying music education at Montclair State College in Montclair, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Melba Moore describes her experiences as a music teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about touring in the segregated South

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her relationship with her stepfather

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Melba Moore recalls the start of her performance career

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Melba Moore remembers joining the all-black Voices, Inc. ensemble

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Melba Moore talks about her career as a backup singer

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Melba Moore remembers her nanny

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Melba Moore talks about developing her confidence

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Melba Moore remembers the cast of the Broadway production of 'Hair'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about why she left the production of 'Hair'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her role in the Broadway production of 'Purlie'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Melba Moore talks about the African American performers on Broadway

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about 'The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Melba Moore remembers her struggle with addiction

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Melba Moore recalls meeting Charles Huggins

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Melba Moore talks about her husband, Charles Huggins

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Melba Moore remembers her mother's death and her divorce

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about Hush Productions

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her acting career and album 'Peach Melba'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Melba Moore remembers working with Eartha Kitt

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about her crossover to acting

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Melba Moore recalls how her ex-husband ruined her reputation

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Melba Moore talks about reviving her career after her divorce

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Melba Moore talks about the gospel music theatre circuit

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Melba Moore remembers becoming estranged from her daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about Bill Cosby and Camille Cosby's role in caring for her daughter

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Melba Moore recalls securing a part in 'Les Miserables' on Broadway

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Melba Moore describes her experience in the role of Fantine in 'Les Miserables'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about her experiences with the record industry

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Melba Moore recalls her transition to gospel music

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Melba Moore talks about working with gospel music artists and songwriters

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Melba Moore talks about the gospel music circuit in the Midwest

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Melba Moore describes the basis of her religious faith

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Melba Moore talks about the parallels between her life and her acting roles

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about her faith's influence on her career

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Melba Moore remembers 'The Fighting Temptations'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Melba Moore talks about the role of music in the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Melba Moore describes her daily life

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Melba Moore talks about the Broadway revival of 'Hair'

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Melba Moore describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Melba Moore reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Melba Moore talks about the status of black women in the arts

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Melba Moore reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Melba Moore describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$6

DAStory

3$2

DATitle
Melba Moore remembers the cast of the Broadway production of 'Hair'
Melba Moore talks about the gospel music theatre circuit
Transcript
We were talking about the beginning of 'Hair' ['Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical'], and, and you said you really didn't know what it was about when you got involved, you didn't know what a hippie--really what the hippies were doing and or what (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, one of the things that happens, we were invited to do the recording session as with anything dates you know that these songwriters and producers come in, and you meet each other, and you see the music and you say, "Hi," and, you know, make friends with each other. And when they came in the studio when Jim Rado [James Rado] and Gerry Ragni [Gerome Ragni] came in and Galt MacDermot, Jim and Gerry had no shoes, they had raggedy jeans that were tore up, you know, like it was on purpose, and they had these T-shirts on that I'd like to say looked like their mother didn't teach them how to separate the colors from the white in the laundry (laughter). And they said they were tie dyed. So I said, "Well, where the man's shoes at? Why don't he comb his hair?" You know, I mean, I said, "Oh, my god, these are hippies," (laughter).$$These guys were young men and in those days they weren't poor or were they?$$They very well to do. Yeah.$$Yeah, I think a lot of people would, you know, when they think of someone barefoot and, you know, dressed down, are poor but they are well to--okay (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, you so--so you're confused about, "What is this?" (Laughter) You know, and they were very happy. I said, "What's wrong with them?" (Laughter) You know, not that they shouldn't be happy, but, you know, you could see that. They knew what they were doing. They were very intelligent, you know.$$But they were counterculture, as we would say now.$$Yes, and we were culture (laughter). We were upward mobile, we were BAPS, black American princesses, and well educated and, you know, on our way out to conquer the world and--$$We were two trains running in different directions in some ways, right?$$Not really, as I discovered. Not really. Because--and once I decided to do the play--first of all realize, I was learning acting. I ran into people like Diane Keaton and Ben Vereen, and it was very obvious that Diane was straight. It was obvious to me. Yeah, she was there without her shoes and everything, but she knew exactly what she was doing as an actress. She was just so cool and happy, you know. And we would learn the script and do these acting exercises, you know. "Oh, wow," you know. And I remember Ben was such an incredible athlete. He played the role of Berger, and Berger was the wild crazy one, just swinging around up on the ropes. Of course, the audience, they rolled all over the place--with the grace of a tiger, baby. You know, so when I look at that, I didn't know what his background was and most of us he kind of got from different places, and many of us, we weren't trained at all, certainly not in acting. But we were picked because we had certain personalities and certain talents. So it was a wonderfully eclectic group and you're just observing (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I didn't realize it but, Ben Vereen, I didn't realize he was in it.$$God, everybody in the world was--$$I never saw it, but I know Ronnie Dyson was one I remembered early on--$$Ronnie Dyson. Oh, Ronnie Dyson is a good example. Just a kid with great talent, great sense of humor; his mother [Elsie Dyson] was hilarious. And you could tell--$$Can we go to something she did? I mean, is there a story about his mother?$$I can't tell stories about Ronnie Dyson's mother (laughter). I can't tell those stories. But they were hilarious. They were funny people, they were good people, they were fun people. And, Ronnie, he was--he always had jokes. He always had stories. He was a good storyteller, a good--he could have been a good comic if he wanted to (laughter). I remember him coming down, you know, the stairs, doing an imitation of Diana Ross, or whatever, you know. Just like kids will do, you know. And then just an incredible voice and talent. And everybody was like that in their own way. I worked with Jim Rado in later years, like fairly recently, we'd say about the last ten years. He said I was always--I had a great sense of humor and feisty. But these are--this is just how you were, so I don't necessarily remember, right, what I said or what I did. But we all had, you know, interesting personalities.$I don't think we mentioned last time the role that Bill Cosby played in the life of you and your daughter [Melba Charli Huggins] at (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, I've had a chance to say thank you to Bill Cosby since then, who has just been unbelievable, he and Camille [Camille Cosby] and the whole family have been just a set of angels that I didn't even know were there, to be honest with you. And looking back on it, I can see that they knew what my situation was but--let me just put it into context. During a war of roses between my ex-husband [Charles Huggins] and myself, it got so terrible until my daughter ran away. She was just broken.$$How old was your daughter?$$At that time, she was about twelve. She was just coming into puberty, and she'd be used to a beautiful, loving, supportive home, I mean, and she was in the middle of psychological warfare. Actually, she was starting to get seizures. That's how bad it was. And one day she ran away and I didn't see her, I'm not sure how long it was, it seemed like forever. It seemed like it was over a year or two years, because at the time I was able to go on the road with some gospel plays that had just started during the '90s [1990s] but--and the gentleman who actually started these plays--no. Wait a minute. Let me give credit to Miss Vy Higginsen [HistoryMaker Vy Higginsen], who was the one to do one of the gospels, 'Mama, I Want to Sing!' and she still continues with different versions of that, and great things that she's doing with young people as a result of her foundation [Mama Foundation for the Arts, New York, New York]. But another person was Michael Matthews. He started out in St. Louis, Missouri, and he did a whole bunch of gospel plays. As a matter of fact, he's the one that Tyler Perry and Shelly Garrett and some of the other African American, I guess you'd call gospel musical--music plays. They have--basically have a moral story, so that's why I call them gospel.$$Tyler Perry is sort of--out of that genre too.$$Tyler Perry is the biggest one that we know of that has been very, very successful. And if you've noticed it, you might not call his plays gospel so much anymore, but there's a very, very, very strong moral message. And that gives it a very--$$The church involved.$$--very, very church oriented, yes. I guess I could call it--yes, I'll call it a gospel play, and I mean that in an honorable way because that's our niche audience, it's our culture, and, has been the basis for great, great, great entrepreneurial expansion and growth forums.$$Yeah. It's almost like a new Chitlin' Circuit in the sense of, you know--$$Nouveau chitlin' (laughter).$$Yeah. And they tour from town to town.$$They tour from town to town but the most important thing about chitlin' theatre is they paid you in cash money. And see you--one of the things that happened that we were talking about, Bill Cosby and his family helping, was I had been--I was saying I was getting ready to go out on tour with one of these gospel plays that was written by Michael Matthews, who started the genre, and I'd just been on welfare to pay my rent and I was able to pay the rent, but I was still evicted. But around the time I got evicted, it kind of dovetailed when I went on tour with this play. And they paid me seven thousand dollars in cash, and it made go in the back of the tour bus where they paid everybody and learn how to count the money. You know, how bankers count money, because first of all, it comes from box office and there's a whole lot of singles and fives (laughter). I had money all over the whole back of the bus.$$Okay. So you're saying--I know you just said it, but I have to repeat it. They actually pay you at the box--they pay the performers on these tours with the box office receipts?$$Yeah. That's how much money they make too.$$And seven thousand dollars in your pocket?$$Well, I was one of the stars. They didn't pay everybody that. But they pay you. Pay you good money but it's in cash. But you know what's great about that experience, of course, I'm in shock; I just come from welfare, I don't know anything about business, I've lost my daughter, I've lost everything. So I come and get plunked in to this touring company of super, born again, Pentecostal, religious, Baptist people. Now from before, it wasn't nothing around me but heathens and non believers. And fish eyed fools.

Freda Payne

Singer and actress Freda Charcelia Payne was born September 19, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan, to Frederick and Charsilee Payne. Payne attended Palmer Elementary School and Crossman Elementary School; she also modeled and took ballet and Afro-Cuban dance. In 1956, while at Hutchins Middle School, Payne appeared on the nationally televised Ted Mack’s The Original Amateur Hour; singing jingles, she was featured on WJR radio’s Make Way for Youth, in addition to many other local television and radio shows. Payne’s mother spurned a contract from the then unknown Barry Gordy. When she graduated from Central High School in 1959, Payne began touring with Pearl Bailey’s musical review and sang with the Duke Ellington Band. Payne’s first album was After the Lights Go Down for ABC’s Impulse Records in 1962.

Moving to New York City in 1963, Payne made appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show and The Dick Cavette Show. In 1964, Payne joined the Four Tops, Billy Eckstine, and Nipsey Russell on the Quincy Jones Tour. Payne was understudy for Leslie Uggams in Broadway’s Hallelujah Baby! in 1967; she also performed in the Equity Theatre production of Lost in the Stars. Stardom for Payne began when she signed with Invictus Records, a label run by her old Detroit friends Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., and Lamont Dozier (formerly of Motown) in 1969. Payne’s smash single Band of Gold, released in 1970, was ranked #1 in the United Kingdom and #3 in the United States; it was her first gold record. Payne’s other hits included Deeper and Deeper, You Brought Me Joy, and the anti-war, Bring the Boys Home.

As her star kept rising, Payne began appearing in television specials and touring the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. Although she left Invictus in 1973, date Payne continued recording, pressing twenty-one albums, including several remakes of Band of Gold. In 1974, Payne made the cover of Jet magazine after she was dubbed a Dame of Malta, by the Knights of Malta and the Sovereign Military, and Hospital Order of St. John of Jerusalem by the Prince of Rumania. Payne hosted Today’s Black Woman, a talk show, in 1980 and 1981, before joining the cast of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies in 1982. Payne also starred in productions of Ain’t Misbehavin’ with Della Reese, The Blues in the Night, Jellies Last Jam with Gregory Hines and Savion Glover in the 1990s. Payne’s film appearances include: Private Obsession in 1995; Sprung in 1997; Ragdoll in 1999; The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps in 2000; and Fire and Ice in 2001.

Returning to her jazz roots, Payne later toured with Darlene Love in a critically acclaimed revue entitled Love and Payne.

Accession Number

A2005.113

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/28/2005 |and| 10/7/2005

Last Name

Payne

Occupation
Schools

Central High School

Palmer Elementary School

Caroline Crossman Elementary School

Harry B. Hutchins Intermediate School

Crosman Alternative High School

First Name

Freda

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

PAY02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/19/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Stage actress and singer Freda Payne (1942 - ) pressed twenty-one albums, including the hit single, Band of Gold.

Favorite Color

Blue, Maroon, Red, Tan, Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Freda Payne's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Freda Payne lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Freda Payne talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Freda Payne talks about her mother's upbringing and career in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Freda Payne states her father's name

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Freda Payne shares the story of her name

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Freda Payne talks about her father, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Freda Payne talks about her paternal family's relationship to the Vanderbilt family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Freda Payne talks about her father, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Freda Payne speculates about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Freda Payne describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Freda Payne describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Freda Payne describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Freda Payne describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Freda Payne recalls her childhood personality and foray into playing piano

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Freda Payne recalls her elementary school years in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Freda Payne remembers her favorite entertainers from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Freda Payne remembers starring in a play at Hutchins Middle School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Freda Payne recalls her favorite childhood movie stars, Audrey Hepburn and Dorothy Dandridge

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Freda Payne remembers discovering her talent for singing

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Freda Payne reflects upon her personality as a youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Freda Payne recalls performing on Ted Mack's 'The Original Amateur Hour' at the age of fourteen

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Freda Payne remembers her breakthrough on Ted Mack's 'The Original Amateur Hour'

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Freda Payne recalls HistoryMaker Berry Gordy's interest in her as a young performer

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Freda Payne remembers rejecting contracts with Motown Records

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Freda Payne reflects on HistoryMaker Berry Gordy's success with Diana Ross

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Freda Payne remembers singing with The Three Debs during her time at Central High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Freda Payne recalls her hiring as a backup singer for the Pearl Bailey Revue

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Freda Payne recalls performing as a backup singer for Pearl Bailey after high school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Freda Payne recalls declining to sign a ten-year contract with Duke Ellington's band after performing with them

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Freda Payne remembers performing with HistoryMaker Quincy Jones' band in the mid-1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Freda Payne talks about working with the Four Tops

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Freda Payne talks about segregated hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Freda Payne talks about the rise of Motown in the mid-1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Freda Payne recalls her first album, 'After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!!'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Freda Payne remembers her recordings in the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Freda Payne remembers appearing on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Freda Payne remembers talk shows she appeared on, including 'The Merv Griffin Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Freda Payne recalls the aftermath of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Freda Payne remembers moving to New York City and acting as an understudy for Leslie Uggams in 'Hallelujah Baby!'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Freda Payne remembers signing with Invictus Records in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Freda Payne talks about the state of Motown in the late 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Freda Payne lists hit songs she recorded with Invictus Records

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Freda Payne talks about her hit single 'Band of Gold'

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Freda Payne talks about her controversial song 'Bring the Boys Home'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Freda Payne talks about her two remakes of her single 'Bring the Boys Home'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Freda Payne talks about her movie roles and various songs

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Freda Payne talks about suing Invictus Records

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Freda Payne talks about hosting the talk show 'Today's Black Woman'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Freda Payne talks about being made a Dame of the Knights of Malta

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Freda Payne talks about the end of her talk show, 'Today's Black Woman'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Freda Payne talks about her performance career after the end of her talk show

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Freda Payne recalls funny stories from her days as a performer

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Freda Payne talks about performing in the play 'The Blues in the Night'

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Freda Payne recalls her marriage to Gregory Abbott

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Freda Payne mentions her cabaret show, 'Love and Payne'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Freda Payne shares her opinion on contemporary singers

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Freda Payne talks about her favorite singers and songs

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Freda Payne describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Freda Payne talks about her career's longevity and drug abuse by entertainers

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Freda Payne talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Freda Payne reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Freda Payne talks about giving to Minority AIDS Initiative

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Freda Payne describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Freda Payne explains how she stays healthy

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Freda Payne narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Freda Payne narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

9$6

DATitle
Freda Payne remembers discovering her talent for singing
Freda Payne remembers signing with Invictus Records in 1968
Transcript
You started taking piano lessons.$$When I was five.$$Okay. So, did you take them very long?$$Until I was twelve.$$Okay.$$It kind of just, when I got to be about twelve, I kind of, I just lost interest. I was really more starting to, that was when I had discovered I could sing, and I was like wanting to sing more than concentrate and sit down and practice.$$Now, how did you discover that you could sing? Or how were you discovered as a singer?$$I had a piano teacher. Her name was Ruth Ann Johnson [ph.], Mrs. Johnson. And she, we had been taking--I'd taken--my sister [HistoryMaker Scherrie Payne] and I both had taken piano lessons from her for like about eight years. And there was a recital every year, a yearly recital. And so, she was trying to find some of the, some of her students who could sing, who had voices, who could sing a little bit for an ensemble to perform at the recital. And she said, "[HistoryMaker] Freda [Payne], can you sing?" I said, "I don't know." She said, "Let me hear your voice." She said, "I need singers for my ensemble, and maybe you could fit in. But let me hear your voice." So, she started playing, and she said, "Sing this." And I said okay. And she said, "Freda, you have a lovely voice." And she said, "I thought it was just Scherrie. But you have a lovely voice." She says, "I want you to sing a solo in addition to singing in the ensemble." So, she gave me this song she picked out. And she says--and she taught me the song. It was called 'Stars are the Windows of Heaven.' And then the ensemble song was called 'June is Bursting Out all Over' ['June is Bustin Out All Over']. And when I sang at the recital, all my mother's [Charsilee Hickman Farley] friends--my mother invited all her friends, and they were all excited. They said, "Charsilee, we didn't know Freda could sing. We thought when you told us that Freda was going to sing you were just mistaken, you were mistaking it for Scherrie." And they started, people starting asking me to sing at their little like teas and banquets and dances, stuff like that. And that's how it all started. And so then I started entering talent contests, just little local things where you would win. Like once I think I won a radio. And then I won a trophy and a radio, and I won some money. And then that's when I went on, and then I went to Ted Mack on TV.$$Now, that--$$That was Channel 4.$$Now, how old are you then?$$With Ted Mack, I was thirteen.$$Thirteen.$$So, we're talking about like a year later.$$And you're in eighth grade?$$Yeah.$$Was that the Ted Mack amateur hour ['The Original Amateur Hour']?$$No, no, this was still Detroit [Michigan].$$Detroit?$$This was local, Channel 4, WJBK. It was Channel 4 in Detroit. And it came on every Saturday, and it was called Ed McKenzie's dance hour ['Ed McKenzie's Saturday Night']. And he had, it was like '[American] Bandstand,' it was like 'American Bandstand,' but it was Detroit's bandstand. (Laughter) And he would invite like local entertainers who were like appearing in Detroit, who were stars, you know, to come on the show. And then a portion of the show was designated for a talent contest, and they would have four acts. And so, I was on it. And you had to audition for it and everything. So, what happened, was when I auditioned for it, I danced. I wanted to be a dancer, because my mother also let Scherrie and I start taking ballet at the age--I was eleven and Scherrie was almost ten. And we started taking ballet, and I started--I felt like I wanted to be a dancer, because I liked dancing. So when I auditioned, I created and choreographed my own dance number, and I danced. And they said, "Yes, you can be in the contest." I went home that night and I started thinking. I said, "I don't want to dance, I want to sing." And I told my mother, and she said, "Well, I'm going to call them and tell them, and they're probably going to want to see you again." So she called them, and they wanted to hear me sing. And I sang, and they said, "Yes, you can sing." And I won. And then about three or four months, about four months later they called me back to do it again, and I won again.$$Now, this is before the Ted Mack Show?$$This is before Ted Mack.$$Now, when did Ted Mack happen?$$That happened--I must--what's that, I was fourteen.$$Okay.$$I was about fourteen.$$I'm not trying to get ahead, but--$$No, that's okay. That's why we're here.$$Okay.$$I think I was fourteen, and I think I did have to audition for that. And then we flew to New York [New York], they flew us to New York--$$Okay. We're going to pause.$$--my mother and I.$$Okay.$So you went from that show ['Hallelujah Baby!'] to the one in '68 [1968] with Kurt Weill?$$Then I went, I did 'Lost in the Stars' after that.$$'Lost in the Stars.' Okay, okay. And so, what happened after '68 [1968], after 'Lost in the Stars'?$$After '68 [1968], after 'Lost in the Stars'--$$Is that when you started recording for--$$Yeah, that's when I--right, because that's when--what happened, in '68 [1968] that's when I got a call, that's when Brian Holland popped up. And he said, "What are you doing, what's going on?" I said, "Well, I'm just, I mean I'm doing stuff, you know." He said, "Well, do you have a manager?" I had just gotten out of, my contract had just ended with Joe Scandore. I said, "No." He said, "Are you signed with a label?" I had just finished my deal with ABC-Paramount [Records]. I said, "No, I'm not with ABC-Paramount anymore." He said, "Do you want to come with us?" I said, "I thought you were with Motown." He said, "No, we're leaving Motown. We're forming our own label, and we're going to call it Invictus [Records] in Detroit [Michigan]. And we want you, do you think, you know, would you want to come with us?" I said, "Yeah," you know. So I flew to Detroit and sat down and talked, and we signed contracts. And the rest is history.$$Invictus, I was just thinking. Why the name Invictus?$$You know who came up with the title Invictus? What's her name? [Ruth] Copeland, she was an artist on Invictus. God, what's that girl's name? Nothing ever happened. You know, she never really, nothing ever happened. Like, she never really, like I think she should have become bigger.$$Isn't that a poem, "Black as the night that covers me as the pits from pole to pole--$$Right.$$--I thank whatever gods may be for my immortal, my unconquerable soul" ['Invictus,' William Ernest Henley].$$Right, that's right, right. But it's a white woman who came up with that, I'll never forget that.$$Okay.$$But that's where it came from.$$Okay.$$That gave them the idea.$$So, this time, Motown [Records] was (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And if I'm wrong, I stand to be corrected (laughter).

S. Pearl Sharp

Writer, actor and filmmaker Saundra Pearl Sharp was born on December 21, 1942 in Cleveland, Ohio to Clarence and Faythe Sharp. Sharp’s family was active in the local NAACP, and she was raised in Antioch Baptist Church. Sharp graduated from John Adams High School in 1960, and attended Bowling Green State University, where she pursued a double major in music education and radio-TV production. She became the first Black member of the BGSU chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, the music honor society, and produced a children’s story series and music interviews on the campus radio station. During the summer, Sharp interned at WABQ-AM in Cleveland, under the tutelage of Valena Minor Williams, LeBaron Taylor and Jack Gibson.

Graduating in 1964, Sharp moved to New York City, where her first job was as a copywriter for T.V. Guide. She studied acting under the Poverty Program’s HARYOU-ACT with Cleveland’s Karamu Theatre alumni Al Fann and Minnie Gentry. She performed in J.E. Franklin’s Black Girl, in the chorus of the Pearl Bailey company of Hello Dolly from 1967 to 1968, Uniworld’s radio serial Sounds Of The City, and in Gordon Parks’ film, The Learning Tree. Sharp also starred in the TV movies Minstrel Man (1976) and Hollow Image (1980), had recurring roles on Wonder Woman (1978), St. Elsewhere (1984/87) and Knots Landing (1985), and was a leading commercial spokeswoman.

A poet from childhood, Sharp attended John O. Killens’ Writers Workshop at Columbia University where she completed two volumes of poetry and her first play, The Sistuhs, in addition to forming the literary performance troupe Poets & Performers.
In the mid-1970’s Sharp moved to Los Angeles. She created Poets Pay Rent, Too, and served as publisher/editor of Robert E. Price’s Blood Lines (1978), Directory of Black Film/TV Technicians and Artists, West Coast (1980), The BAD-C (Black Anti-Defamation Coalition) Media Matters Newsletter (1981-84) and The Black History Film List (1989). Publisher Glenn Thompson re-issued her 1978 poetry volume Soft Song (1978, 1991) and published Typing in the Dark (Harlem River Press, 1991) and the non-fiction Black Women for Beginners (Writers & Readers, 1993). Sharp was a co-founder, with Robert E. Price, of the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition which monitored the image of Blacks in the media (1980-85).

In 1980 Sharp shifted her focus to filmmaking, studying at Los Angeles City College. Her films include Back Inside Herself (1984), Life Is A Saxophone (1985), Picking Tribes (1988), It’s OK to Peek (1996), The Healing Passage/ Voices From The Water (2004); and for the City of Los Angeles, Central Avenue Live! (1996) and Fertile Ground: Stories from the Watts Towers Arts Center (2005).

Sharp was an essayist and commentator on NPR from 2003 to 2009, and has served as a volunteer segment producer for KPFK-FM, Pacifica Radio Network. Her non-fiction writings are collected in The Evening News- Essays And Commentaries From NPR And Other Clouds (2015).

S. Pearl Sharp was interviewed for The HistoryMakers on April 27, 2005.

Accession Number

A2005.110

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/27/2005 |and| 2/26/2018

Last Name

Sharp

Middle Name

Pearl

Schools

John Adams High School

Bolton Elementary School

Robert Fulton Elementary School

Bowling Green State University

Alexander Hamilton Junior High School

Los Angeles City College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

S.

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

SHA03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Don't Do To Others What You Don't Want Done To You. What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/21/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Playwright, film actress, stage actress, and poet S. Pearl Sharp (1942 - ) was among the cast of Gordon Parks’ The Learning Tree, and Minstrel Man. Sharp has also published six books and produced and directed eight films and stage plays.

Employment

TV Guide

Actress

Voices Incorporated

Author

Juneteenth Audio Books

‘The Tavis Smiley Show’

‘News and Notes’

Favorite Color

Gray, Purple, Red, Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of S. Pearl Sharp's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her family's origin

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers stories of her maternal grandmother singing opera

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her mother's life in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her maternal great-grandfather, Mason Garner

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls her move to Cleveland, Ohio's Mount Pleasant neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her family's community involvement

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her family's love of music

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her school experiences in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls racism at her nursery school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes John Adams Senior High School in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers watching 'The Nat King Cole Show'

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the Little Rock Nine visiting Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the radio station at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls interviewing Miriam Makeba for her college radio station

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the integration of student housing at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the racial climate at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her education and activities at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes traveling to New York City in 1964

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her first job at TV Guide

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her contemporaries at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her experience on 'Captain Kangaroo'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes HARYOU-ACT and the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes poetry in the Black Arts Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her acting and singing career with the Al Fann & Co.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes performing in Pearl Bailey's 'Hello Dolly' in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes Pearl Bailey

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp explains the divisions in New York City's theatre community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers helping Babtunde Olantuji design dashikis

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about black theater

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes being in the first all-black commercial

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp explains how African Americans broke into entertainment industry unions

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her play 'The Sistuhs'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her role in 'The Learning Tree'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers filming a lynching scene for 'Minstrel Man'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her experience with 'The Learning Tree'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes filming scenes for 'The Minstrel Man'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her work with the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about BADC's campaign against 'Webster' and 'White Dog'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about BADC's campaign against the Malcolm X movie

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her role on the soap opera 'Knots Landing'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes a Betty Crocker commercial she was in

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her work helping others to get published

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of S. Pearl Sharp's interview, session 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the founding of the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls her civil rights activism in the entertainment industry

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her early networking in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her Broadway career in New York City

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls acting in Gordon Parks' film, 'The Learning Tree'

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her audition for 'The Learning Tree'

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the 'Our Street' public television program, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls studying writing under John Oliver Killens at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the 'Our Street' public television program, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the 'Minstrel Man' television movie

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her friendship with Beah Richards

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers actress Beah Richards

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the representation of black America in Hollywood

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her early interest in writing, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her sister

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her early interest in writing, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her program on WGBU Radio in Bowling Green, Ohio

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her early career in New York City

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her group, Poets and Performers

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the Black Arts Movement, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the Black Arts Movement, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the differences in New York City's art scenes

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her poem, 'It's the Law: A Rap Poem'

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her introduction to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the black Russian community

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls her early acting career in Los Angeles, California, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her early supplementary income

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls her early acting career in Los Angeles, California, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls enrolling at Los Angeles City College in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her early television commercial appearances

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the creation of her film, 'Back Inside Herself'

Tape: 9 Story: 11 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her documentary, 'Life Is a Saxophone,' pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her documentary, 'Life Is a Saxophone,' pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the group, Reel Black Women

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the '1980 Directory of Black Film/TV: Technicians, West Coast,' pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the '1980 Directory of Black Film/TV: Technicians, West Coast,' pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the work of the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the work of the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the impact of HIV/AIDS

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes Mildred Pitts Walter, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about journalist Margaret Prescod

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes Mildred Pitts Walter, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the civic engagement of Sandra Evers-Manly

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the legacy of Mayme Clayton

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the Alfred and Bernice Ligon Aquarian Collection

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her book, 'Black Women For Beginners,' pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her book, 'Black Women For Beginners,' pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the Juneteenth Audio Books

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her film, 'The Healing Passage: Voice from the Water'

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls the reception to 'The Healing Passage: Voices from the Water'

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her early career at National Public Radio

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her NPR program, 'News and Notes'

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her essay collection, 'The Evening News'

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her consultancy, The Gate is Open

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 12 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp reflects upon her life

Tape: 12 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her advice to black aspiring entertainment industry professionals

Tape: 12 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the importance of voicing concerns

Tape: 12 Story: 11 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her health and spirituality

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

9$4

DATitle
S. Pearl Sharp remembers watching 'The Nat King Cole Show'
S. Pearl Sharp describes her role in 'The Learning Tree'
Transcript
--The other media event was Nat King Cole's program ['The Nat King Cole Show'].$$His TV show.$$The TV show. So when Nat King Cole came on, on Monday night for fifteen minutes, everything stopped, you know. I mean I was a chief dishwasher. I didn't even have to wash dishes. You know, we're usually were eating dinner around that time. Everything stopped, 'cause we all loved Nat King Cole. He was the first black, you know, to have his own show (clearing throat) came on Cleveland [Ohio]. And I mean your phone didn't ring or anything. Only somebody out of their mind would call between 6 and 6:15 on Monday (laughter), you know, 'cause 'The Nat King Cole Show' was on, and everybody black was tuned into a television. If you didn't have one, you went to somebody's house--$$Now I didn't--$$--to watch.$$--realize, I guess I was too young at the time. I remember seeing the show and the excitement around it, but I didn't realize it was only fifteen minutes.$$Initially, it was only fifteen minutes, right; yeah, that's all they gave him because they couldn't get sponsors for anything else, right (laughter), yeah.$$That's amazing, but he had like [HistoryMaker] Harry Belafonte on the show and you know.$$Um-hm, yeah, yeah, and the what--also, the interesting thing about was, because I came up in a very class conscious community, and we don't talk very much about class in the black community. We talk about the color consciousness but not about class. So, conk was off limit. I brought somebody home with a conk once, and my mother [Faythe Sharp] would not let him in the house, okay. The conk was the processed hair.$$That's right. Now that was supposed to be a pimp style--$$Right. But Nat King Cole had a conk, okay, so he was the only person who was allowed. They made an exception for Nat King Cole because he conducted himself in a certain way. He was a singer; he was an entertainer; but he was a gentleman, you know. We--he never embarrassed black people. So it was always interesting to me that this exception was made for Nat King Cole (laughter), you know. He, it was okay that he had--it wasn't okay, but we not gon' talk about it (laughter); we're not gon' talk--$$But wasn't it then--$$--about his conk.$$--in, in those days it was like, it was considered on the street more of a pimp style thing. But in the, entertainers felt compelled to do that for some reason. Sammy Davis, Jr. had one, Johnny Mathis, other people.$$Right, James Brown, yeah, yeah. But see, James was, was doing jump up music, so you kind of expected him to have a conk. Nat King Cole wasn't doing jump up music, all right. Nat King Cole had class (laughter), but he had a conk. So basically, it was like, mm, we see it, but we just don't discuss it (laughter).$$What's interesting, for women it seemed to be the opposite. If you did not have your hair pressed, you were considered--$$That's right.$$--back, backward or country or something, you know.$$Yep. And Cicely Tyson was the one to break, break down that barrier on her show 'East Side/West Side,' and she worn an afro.$$Was she the first?$$She was the first on television--$$Okay.$$--to wear an afro. And boy, would the, the gossip, and the phones, and the newspaper columns, and I mean it would just, the beauty parlors, there was nothing else to talk about. This woman went on national television with her hair in an afro, you know, depending on which side it was: "Yeah, she wore an afro," or "She went up there with all them naps, didn't have her hair did." You know, so there was this divide in the community, and she got a lot of flack about that. Even when Abbey Lincoln did the movie with Sidney Poitier, what was that film?$$'For Love of Ivy.'$$'For Love of Ivy,' right, beautiful film, wonderful story. Most of the dot- most of the rap in the community was about her wigs, whether she had on a wig or not, whether she should have had on wigs or not (laughter). So hair has always taken precedence in the dialogue of the community.$Yeah, I guess we're about to time of 'The Learning Tree,' I guess, sixty--$$Ah 'The Learning Tree,' yes.$$Yeah.$$Yeah, yeah.$$All right, now how did you get in that project?$$I was in 'Hello, Dolly!' And the word went out that they were gonna cast 'The Learning Tree' and that there was a part for a young fifteen or sixteen year, there was a part for a fifteen year-old and a sixteen year-old. And at that time I was twenty-five, but I was still--I had just stopped doing teenage modeling 'cause I did--I know people will say well, you know, it's an ego trip when you say this, but I really did not look my age. I was actually playing younger parts. And I could not get an audition for this role to save my life. And you know that a part is yours when other actors are coming up to you and saying, "You auditioned for that didn't you? 'Cause you'd be good for that" (laughter), you know--'could not get an audition. And a, a modeling agent that I had called up finally and said--and I could not get the book. Everybody, every copy of the book in the, the universe had been, you know, consumed by actors who were trying to read the story. So this ad, this agent called up and says, "Barbara so and so has an audition for 'The Learning Tree,' for the part of the sister, and she's in Cleveland [Ohio]"--my hometown--, "so would you please do me a favor? Would you go over there and pretend to be her, and let me know what happens?" And I was like, "Oh, sure (laughter), sure." So I got myself together and I, I started to put braids. I said no, everybody else was gonna do braids, so I just wore my hair long, and I put a big bow, bow, kind of old fashioned bow, 'cause it's a period piece, period to us. And I went over. And the other thing that happened before I went was, because I had stopped being a teenage model and I was now trying to be sophisticated and a real adult, I had had new pictures made, the new sophisticated, you know, looking Saundra Sharp [HistoryMaker S. Pearl Sharp], right. And so I got my little pictures, and I go over. And the minute I walked in the door I saw the receptionist. Her antenna kind of went up, and she's lookin' at me like this, you know. So I sign in I'm here for the role of Prissy. I sign in and she takes me in to meet [HistoryMaker] Gordon [Parks], and I see her kind of give Gordon a signal. And I sit down and meet Gordon. We talked a little bit. He asked me to read. At the end of the reading Gordon says, "That was good." He said, "Yeah, I like that, but these are the worse goddamn photographs I have ever seen." And he takes my photos and he tears them up (laughter) into pieces. And I just wanted to, like, become part of the carpet, I was so humiliated (laughter). And then a couple of months went by, and I got a call that I was being flown out to California to screen test. And I did my screen test. And the only other person that I know that was up for her screen test at the same day was [HistoryMaker] Quincy Jones' daughter, who had a totally different look than I did and totally different field. And then I got a call that I had the part. And I was doing 'Hello, Dolly!' at that time. So I was the second actor to leave 'Hello, Dolly!' to go do something else and went out to Kansas. And it was just absolutely one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Working with Gordon I learned so much. The cast was just incredible. Stelle, Estelle Evans, Esther Rolle's sister, played the mother, and Kyle Johnson played Gordon [sic. Newt Winger]. And a number of newcomers, a young man [Stephen Perry] who now owns a restaurant, has owned a restaurant for a number of years, called Stevie's On The Strip [Los Angeles, California], he was one of the little boys, little boy they called Beniger [ph.] that Gordon saw driving down the street and pulled over and said, "What's your name?" He said, "Beniger." He says, "That's your name, "Beniger?" "Yeah." "You ever do any acting?" "No." "Want to?" "Unh-uh." "Come with me," (laughter) so. And just to watch Gordon operate in front of the, I mean behind the camera with the, the sense of family that he created, because everyone who's there wanted this project to succeed because Al--just for the record, Gordon Parks was the first African American to, to direct a major feature film for a major studio, which was Warner Bros. [Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc.], so there was a lot on the line. So he not only broke the unions, but he went back to Kansas where, when he left his little boy, he had experienced where--when he lived there as a little boy, he had experienced a lot of discrimination. Now he's coming back as this internationally known artist and bringing all of these people and his money and this, you know, this project with him. And so there were, there were moments that, that, that reflected back on that period.

Judy Pace-Flood

Actress Judy Pace Flood was born Judy Pace on June 15, 1942, in Los Angeles, California. Attending Marvin Avenue Elementary School, and Louis Pastuer Junior High School, Pace graduated from Dorsey High School in 1960. Trained in modeling by her sister, Betty, Pace auditioned for the Ebony Fashion Fair and became the youngest model for the show’s 1961 to 1962 national tour.

In 1963 Pace auditioned for Columbia Pictures and was cast in William Castle’s horror film The Candyweb. Pace played a regular role in the 1969 season of Peyton Place and went on to appear in many other shows, including Batman, Bewitched, The Flying Nun, I Spy, The Young Lawyers, The Mod Squad, That’s My Mama, Sanford and Son, What’s Happening?, Good Times, and Sucker Free City.. Cast in Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie in 1966, Pace also played roles in the movies Three in the Attic, The Thomas Crown Affair, and the acclaimed TV movie Brian’s Song. In 1970, Pace won acclaim for her role as Iris in the Ossie Davis directed Cotton Comes to Harlem; in 1973, she played Adelaide in a Las Vegas production of Guys and Dolls.

Pace married Ironsides actor Don Mitchell in 1972 and took time out for civic duties and to raise her two children during the 1980s. Divorced from Mitchell in 1986, Pace then married baseball’s Curt Flood. Since Flood’s death in 1997, Pace acted as a major spokesperson for his role in establishing free agency in professional sports. Pace founded the Kwanza Foundation with Nichelle Nichols.

Accession Number

A2005.085

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/29/2005

Last Name

Pace-Flood

Marital Status

Widow

Organizations
Schools

Susan Miller Dorsey High School

Marvin Avenue Elementary School

Louis Pastuer Junior High School

Los Angeles City College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Judy

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

PAC02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/15/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon (Wild)

Short Description

Stage actress and film actress Judy Pace-Flood (1942 - ) has acted in many television and film productions, including: Batman, Bewitched, The Flying Nun, I Spy, The Young Lawyers, The Mod Squad, That’s My Mama, Sanford and Son, What’s Happening!!, Good Times, Three in the Attic, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Brian’s Song.

Employment

Columbia Pictures

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Paramount Pictures

American International Pictures

Favorite Color

Fuchsia, Magenta

Timing Pairs
0,0:4625,60:6585,86:13116,181:13572,188:16560,295:24750,414:38530,608:48685,739:49960,763:59225,943:65610,1009:72436,1167:74096,1194:79657,1293:83807,1359:85135,1378:86048,1399:86463,1405:88040,1431:88538,1438:89949,1463:96955,1487:100092,1502:100540,1511:102204,1545:105596,1614:106044,1624:106364,1630:107068,1657:108604,1690:108924,1696:110140,1724:110588,1733:111228,1748:120090,1841:122458,1901:124954,1980:127002,2032:129882,2165:132058,2211:133594,2252:141396,2348:142276,2375:156740,2637:157630,2666:158342,2677:158698,2682:159499,2695:164928,2810:173311,2940:173716,2946:181735,3129:185218,3195:186838,3249:192722,3273:199080,3347:199525,3353:205588,3408:207580,3439:208904,3455:209890,3466$0,0:1232,28:2310,41:3157,56:3465,61:3927,69:4389,76:5852,109:9163,177:9933,192:11088,210:11473,216:12397,229:12936,238:13244,243:14630,274:15169,282:32946,474:41966,573:42589,581:42945,586:43479,594:43835,599:44280,605:47582,644:48248,665:51134,736:51948,752:57646,887:73984,1104:74655,1123:75204,1133:75631,1147:83012,1320:88480,1414:89040,1423:89920,1435:94240,1499:94560,1504:94880,1509:95520,1518:96560,1532:103822,1620:117162,1843:124995,1962:125867,1972:137320,2130:137880,2140:138520,2149:138840,2154:139880,2175:142840,2241:144200,2278:144520,2283:149510,2314:150706,2329:151902,2343:154290,2370:158930,2456:159330,2462:160130,2498:160530,2504:163650,2592:172580,2693:173210,2705:173700,2719:176080,2783:178530,2838:180210,2885:182100,2972:184690,3024:200482,3174:200952,3180:204148,3263:214602,3388:223370,3510:224195,3542:230570,3644:238540,3752:241700,3787
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Judy Pace-Flood's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Judy Pace-Flood lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Judy Pace-Flood describes her family's migration from Jackson, Mississippi to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her paternal ancestors' experience in slavery

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Judy Pace-Flood lists her parents' occupations and her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Judy Pace-Flood describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Judy Pace-Flood describes her childhood neighborhood in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Judy Pace-Flood remembers her family's move to Los Angeles, California's Westside

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Judy Pace-Flood remembers the demographics of her elementary and junior high schools in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her upbringing and educational experiences in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Judy Pace-Flood describes her favorite activities growing up in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about notable classmates who attended Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Judy Pace-Flood remembers her interest in show business growing up in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about the importance of church in her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Judy Pace-Flood describes her activities at Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her demeanor and interests at Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her family's knowledge of African American history and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about pursuing a modeling career after graduating from Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California in 1960

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Judy Pace-Flood remembers modeling for the Ebony Fashion Fair

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her experiences with the Ebony Fashion Fair and Johnson Publishing Company in the early 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Judy Pace-Flood describes her father's work for Douglas Aircraft Company

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her contract with Columbia Pictures Corporation and her role in 'The Candy Web'

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her television roles with Columbia Pictures Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her roles on 'Batman'

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her role on 'Peyton Place' and the growing presence of African Americans in Hollywood in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Judy Pace-Flood remembers the reception to 'Julia'

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Judy Pace-Flood remembers how appearing on 'The Dating Game' led to Curt Flood contacting her

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her first date with Curt Flood at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about marrying Don Mitchell

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about colorism and how her acting success helped undermine that

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her leading role in 'Three in the Attic'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Judy Pace-Flood talks her starring roles in movies with American International Pictures

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Judy Pace-Flood describes her role in 'Cotton Comes to Harlem'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her role as Adelaide in an all-black version of 'Guys and Dolls' at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about studying theater under Lillian Randolph in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her decision to leave show business to focus on motherhood in the late 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her daughters' careers in show business and law

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her return to acting when cast in Spike Lee's 'Sucker Free City'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Judy Pace-Flood describes Major League Baseball's reserve clause

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about Curt Flood's talents and refusal to be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about Curt Flood's challenge to Major League Baseball's reserve clause

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about the buildup to Flood v. Kuhn, 1972

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Judy Pace-Flood recalls challenges Curt Flood faced when challenging Major League Baseball in Flood v. Kuhn, 1972

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about discrimination Curt Flood faced as an African American baseball player

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Judy Pace-Flood shares Curt Flood's experience with racism during a Minor League Baseball game

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Judy Pace-Flood describes the significance of Oakland, California for Curt Flood and other African American athletes

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Judy Pace-Flood explains how Curt Flood's most valuable player award ceremony was marred by segregation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about the impact of Curt Flood's family on his career

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Judy Pace-Flood recalls the U.S. Supreme Court decision for Flood v. Kuhn, 1972

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Judy Pace-Flood describes a mysterious incident that happened to Curt Flood during his lawsuit against Major League Baseball

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about Curt Flood receiving threatening messages while playing for the Washington Senators

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about Curt Flood's five-year stay in Majorca, Spain and subsequent return to Oakland, California

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her daughters' impression of Curt Flood

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Judy Pace-Flood describes her future plans

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Judy Pace-Flood talks about her favorite African American actors and performers

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Judy Pace-Flood describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Judy Pace-Flood reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Judy Pace-Flood reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Judy Pace-Flood describes the formation of the Kwanza Foundation in the 1970s

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Judy Pace-Flood describes the purpose of the Kwanza Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Judy Pace-Lett shares her hopes for memorializing Curt Flood's baseball career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Judy Pace-Flood describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$10

DATitle
Judy Pace-Flood talks about her experiences with the Ebony Fashion Fair and Johnson Publishing Company in the early 1960s
Judy Pace-Flood talks about her leading role in 'Three in the Attic'
Transcript
And I get a phone call from Mrs. [Eunice] Johnson, the Mrs. Johnson, and she's going, she's telling me how sorry she is that they'll have to send me back home because I look like a little girl dressed up in my mother's clothes. "You're a lovely little model, but you look like a little girl in your mother's clothes, and darling you just, you just look like you got in your mother's closet," and I did. I looked like a kid prancing around in her mom's grown-up clothes, and they put me on a little plane and sent me back home [to Los Angeles, California]. Now you know that was crushing. You go off just being grand and then you're sent home.$$So, so you were only out about how long?$$About maybe a month, about a month and you gotta come back and face your friends and they've given you a going away party, and you're off on your big modeling career, and here you are back and they're in school and you're not in school because you took that break. But, about three weeks after I was home I get a call from [HistoryMaker] Mr. [John H.] Johnson, and he tells me, "Not to worry, next year we're gonna have you back [for the Ebony Fashion Fair]." I'm like, yeah right, uh-huh, right. So, they called me again and sure enough they did. And what they had done they had clothes especially designed for me with a more youthful flare to them, and I was the young model in the young clothes that a young nineteen, twenty-year-old person would wear and I did the whole show for them and then it, that, that was really a fun, fun time with Terri Springer, all these legend models and being with them for you know a good six, seven months, so that, that was, that was fabulous and seeing the whole country, just traveling all over the country it was just, it was great.$$Did you have a favorite place to visit when you--$$I lived everywhere. Some of them had been on, done the tour before, a number of times and so we would get to a city and I'm like, "I need to go, let's go on a tour, let's, let's go, go see this and let's go see that," and they were like, "Oh, [HistoryMaker] Judy [Pace-Flood], just, just go, let us know when you get back." So, I would be out there with maybe one or two other girls who'd never been anywhere before, and we would just be out there having a good old time. We'd take ourselves on tours and go see whatever was going on. I wanted to see everything, and we did. We just, we just would go and we would do it. And it was Johnson's publication [Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois] who recommended me to Columbia Studios [Columbia Pictures], so.$$Okay, now these were the days, too, I might point out, correct me if I'm wrong, but most people, most young black people had never, in fact most black folks in the neighborhoods unless your parents had a whole lot of money hadn't been on planes or gone very far--$$No, no.$$--and so it was a real big deal.$$It was a big deal.$$You're part of the first generation to actually get out there and see the world (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) I got, with the flight I took to go see Mr. Johnson, the editor of Ebony--of Ebony magazine was like a big deal. You're going to go--$$Was that your first plane ride?$$That was my first plane ride was to go see Mr. Johnson to meet him, so that was like a big deal, you know, and then to go to New York [New York] we're talking '60s [1960s], '61 [1961], '62 [1962], so that, that was, that was an exciting time for me; it really was.$And then I think within our community we also had put a very narrow, narrow range of what was supposed to be pretty and what was supposed to be attractive, so if you are taught that you would never even pursue doing something or going in that direction. I wanted to be the leading lady. I wanted to be the, the Lena Horne. I wanted to be the pretty girl, the one the men were chasing after. That's what I wanted to be. I wanted to be the, that's who I wanted to be. I wanted to be the heroine, that's what I wanted, and my mind was set on that and modeling helped me acquire that kind of feel about myself. I was a Pepsi[-Cola; PepsiCo] girl. I did all the Pepsi ads. Face was all on the billboards, all over the, all over the country. I was Johnson [Products Company] hair products girl and dark girls weren't doing those kinds of ads. They weren't being, you know, the hair commercials, I mean the hair ads and the, the big face blown up on the billboards. You didn't see dark girls doing that, so my little chocolate face was on these billboards when somehow or another the agents thought that I was cute or something because they, they would hire me and I would go out, I'd tell my agent [Sy Marsh], "I want to go out for those kinds of things," so I didn't, I didn't hold that back, and I always had to encourage one of sisters and my mom [Kitty Griffin Pace] to, to encourage me to do that. So, when the opportunity came for a film like 'Three in the Attic' I got a three picture deal with American International Films [American International Pictures], and there was a nude scene in that film and it wasn't a black film. I was the only black person in the film. It was, it was with Yvette Mimieux and Christopher Jones and we were on location for about two months shooting this film.$$That was about 1970 or?$$No, it was around '68-ish [1968]--$$Okay.$$--sixty-eight [1968]. It could have been, maybe '67 [1967]. It could have been right around in there. It was, it was after [sic. before] I'd done 'Peyton Place.' I hope I don't have it flipped. It was after I'd done 'Peyton Place,' and I was just so happy, so thrilled that they had me in and I tested for the role and I got the role. I was the happiest child because I knew it would be the first time that it was a dark brown woman being the love interest of a Caucasian man with another Caucasian woman with Yvette Mimieux, and we were playing equal roles, so I was, I was quite thrilled with that.$$I think it was three women that, you know--$$Right--$$Yeah.$$Jennifer [sic. Maggie Thrett], oh God I don't. Jennifer Luxton [ph.], Jennifer--I can't think of her name.$$Okay.$$Pretty brunette girl. So, I was happy to do that and then that, we did another, I did another film ['Frogs'] for American International and then I did another film for American International, and in all three of those films they put me in the prettiest costumes, made sure I was the most gorgeous thing there. They always wanted me to be sassy and, and sexy and that had not happened before.$$You were the most gorgeous person in the movie (laughter), but how, now how did your--$$And, and, and--$$--family feel about these nude scenes? (Unclear).$$Well as my grandmother said when somebody, when her church was telling her that, about my nude scene and my, my butt was, they had by butt was shown. It was my butt. It was a profile of my butt. That was the nude scene. You know like you'd see women walking around now at the beach. It was the profile of my butt on a bed and that was the nude scene with a blanket draped across one leg and all you saw was like okay butt, then that was it. And my grandmother said, "Well, I think it's cute, but I've seen it already," (laughter). So that was my grandmother's comment--

Janet Adderley

Broadway actress and acting coach Janet Williams Adderley was born Janet Williams in Marshall, Texas, on September 17, 1956. Adderley’s mother, Velma Bernice MacAfee Williams, a mathematics professor, and her father Dr. John L. Williams, an optometrist, raised Adderley in Houston, Texas; Walter MacAfee, the pioneering radio astronomer, was her uncle. Attending Turner Elementary, Edgar Allen Poe Elementary and Holy Spirit Catholic School, Adderley graduated from Houston’s Performing Arts High School in 1974. At Yale University, Adderley was a member of the Yale Dramat (the Yale Dramatic Association) before graduating in 1978 with her B.A. degree in American studies.

Moving to New York City, Adderley married Nat Adderley, Jr., whom she met at Yale University, in 1979, and started a family. Involved in various entertainment classes and projects, Adderley landed the role of Belle in the Broadway production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Starlight Express. In 1990, Adderley was featured in the play A...My Name is Alice and appeared in television commercials in America and Britain. In 1991, Adderley relocated to Hollywood where she appeared in regional theatrical productions. In 1994 and 1995, Adderley appeared in the television series Sweet Justice with Cicely Tyson; she also appeared in the 1999 movie Annie, and I Am Sam in 2001.

In 1994, Adderley started a performing arts class for her daughter and fourteen other children; as the word spread, The Adderley School for the Performing Arts in Pacific Palisades was formed. At The Adderley School, students were instructed in all of the elements of musical theatre by performing youth versions of Broadway shows.

Accession Number

A2005.094

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/1/2005

Last Name

Adderley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Yale University

Turner Elementary School

High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

Edgar Allen Poe Elementary School

Holy Spirit Episcopal School

First Name

Janet

Birth City, State, Country

Marshall

HM ID

ADD01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern France, Italy

Favorite Quote

Love You Madly. Just Breathe.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

9/17/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Acting coach and stage actress Janet Adderley (1956 - ) founded The Janet Adderely School for the Performing Arts.

Employment

Adderley School for the Performing Arts

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janet Adderley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley describe her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley talks about her family's academic and occupational history

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janet Adderley tells the story of her parents' meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Janet Adderley describes her immediate family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Janet Adderley describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Janet Adderley describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janet Adderley talks about how Alvin Ailey's 'Revelations' sparked her interest in African American traditions and history

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley recalls an influential teacher at G.B.M. Turner Elementary School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley describes her childhood personality and her time at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Marshall, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley talks about attending The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley describes her childhood neighborhood, the Third Ward, Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley describes her acting style and her influences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley reflects on her understanding of race being impacted by music

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Janet Adderley talks about her black role models

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janet Adderley talks about her three most influential teachers at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley reveals the reasons she chose to attend Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley talks about attending Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley talks about African American studies at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley talks about her husband, Nat Adderley Jr., and his family

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley talks about performing with the Yale Dramat at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley recalls her early involvement in professional theater and 1989 Broadway debut in Andrew Lloyd Weber's 'Starlight Express'

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Janet Adderley talks about working as a black actress in regional theater

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Janet Adderley reflects on the growing opportunities for black actresses

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janet Adderley recalls the end of her marriage and her hiring as the standby for Belle the Sleeping Car in Andrew Lloyd Weber's 'Starlight Express'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley recalls how her persistence earned her the role of Belle the Sleeping Car in Andrew Lloyd Weber's 'Starlight Express'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley talks about transitioning from Broadway to film acting

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley talks about her role on the television show 'Sweet Justice' and teaching her first theater class

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley describes how her performing arts classes grew into The Adderley School for the Performing Arts

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley describes the work she does with her performing arts students

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley describes her teaching philosophy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Janet Adderley describes her technique for preventing divas and emphasizing teamwork in an arts classroom

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Janet Adderley talks about scholarships for students who cannot afford to attend The Adderley School for the Performing Arts

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Janet Adderley talks about the future of The Adderley School for the Performing Arts and her theater career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Janet Adderley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Janet Adderley reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Janet Adderley reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Janet Adderley reflects on her role as a black woman in a predominately white community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Janet Adderley describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Janet Adderley narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Janet Adderley reflects on her understanding of race being impacted by music
Janet Adderley talks about her role on the television show 'Sweet Justice' and teaching her first theater class
Transcript
You have this big personality, big stage presence and--$$(Nodding head).$$Okay. Now when you were growing up probably, I would think funk music was the number one music and all that sort of thing, did you feel kind of odd being in a Broadway--$$Yes--$$--you know?$$--very much so. Very, very, very much so. It's interesting. And I may end up reviving it but I did a show back in New York [New York] called 'A Brief History of White Music in America' and it was three African American performers and the whole prem- it was fabulous. And the whole premise was, you know, it's a well-known fact that all of, of, of or most of, or much of, all of, of contemporary pop white music gets its roots from the blues, you know, The [Rolling] Stones, and, you know, all of that. And so for, you know, we've all sort of paid homage to the fact that, that, that, you know, white popular music is, is rooted in, in, in black musical traditions. So this show that I did was a, a flip on that was, was having black musicians pay homage to all of the amazing music that's been created, you know, by white people or whatever. And so there was a line in there, I sang, 'To Sir, with Love,' which is, one of the most memorable movies for me growing up, that and 'To Kill a Mockingbird' were two of my two favorite movies growing up as a child. And, and so, I sang the, the theme 'To Sir, with Love' in this, in this particular show. And I, I started, I introduced the song by saying most little black girls grew up wanting to be Diana Ross, well I never did, I grew up wanting to be Lulu. And then I, I sang this song, and it wasn't that I wanted to be white, it was that this song, this movie, Sidney Poitier, this whole British thing really spoke to me and this, and I loved, you know, this song. And so then I, and then I would sing the song. And so I did feel like an odd bird because, of course, my parents [Velma McAfee Williams and John Williams] would, the only music that we were allowed to listen to, you know, pop music or R&B was Diana Ross and The Supremes and the Jackson 5. My mom, we would have to sneak out of the house or be with friends to listen to, you know, Archie Bell and the Drells or Marvin Gaye, forget about it, you know what I mean, she just, we couldn't. And so we, we grew up listening to opera. My mom could tell you the libretto of, you know, nine, ten operas. I mean she's a huge opera, we, we were members of the, of the, of the Houston Grand Opera, we'd go and see, you know, season subscribers, we thought, we went to the ballet, we went, you know, all of that and theater and all of that. And so I did feel a, amongst my black friends, I did feel odd and I felt, and I led sort of a dua- you know, a, a double life. I had my life with, with my white friends and then I had my life with my, my black friends because nobody black, nobody black was listening, nobody knew, no one black knew who Judy Garland was when I was growing up, and so I did. And I remember, I remember watching 'Imitation of Life' and, and just losing it at, you know, crying, you know, hysterically, why is mom, why is the world like this, why do we have to, you know, why, why does it make any difference, why aren't we all the same. I mean it was, it was a huge problem for me that that I just wouldn't take, I wouldn't take on. I wouldn't accept that I was different. And I remember even as recently as being ten, eleven years old, so like in the '60s [1960s], in the late '60s [1960s], in Marshall, Texas, you still, when I'd go to the movies with my cousins, they were, it wasn't like it was legalized, but it was inbred that the black people sat upstairs and watched the movie, and, and the white people went into the, you know, down stairs. And I remember going in to the down stairs area and my cousins pulling me back and saying you can't do that, you can't go, you know, we, you know, we have to go, and being furious that that they were, you know, 'cause it was all, it, it had been abolished, segregation had been abolished by now but it was just all of these--$$It was custom.$$--customs, customs. And so I, you know, I did, I early, early on felt incredibly odd because I had interests that that other black kids my age just didn't have.$What year is that?$$That was nine, I wanna say '91 [1991], '90 [1990], '91 [1991]. And, and I continued to do theater from here. And then I got a wonderful opportunity, I was hired for a television series called 'Sweet Justice,' that starred Cicely Tyson and Melissa Gilbert, 'Little House on the Prairie.' And I played this character Ruby [ph.] who owned a supper club, very similar to in 'Ally McBeal.' Are you familiar with that television series? All the lawyers would go to this supper club and hang out and there was this woman, Vonda [Shepard] somebody that sang. So that was basic, that was sort of the premise of, of, of the, we were the precursor to that, that, that the lawyers in Cicely's firm would come to my supper club, Ru-- Ruby's [ph.] and hang out. And so it was a recurring role. And if they, if it had been picked up for a second season, I was going to then become a season regular and actually even get to sing. It, it would be sort of it like, there's a, there's a restaurant in New York [New York] called Chez Josephine's, which is owned by one of her adopted sons, Jean-Paul [sic. Jean-Claude Baker].$$(Simultaneous) And that's Josephine Baker, yeah.$$Yeah. And, and that's a, it was gonna be sort of like that, it was gonna be where they'd come in and I'd, I'd sing and entertain. I was very excited about it. And then they canceled the show. And so it became, again, it, it just, I had these two daughters and either I was working, so I was providing for them but I was away from them or I wasn't working and I was with them and money was tight. And so I had started a, a little class for my younger daughter because she was very, very shy, she was incredibly shy. And I thought that, just like it had helped my brother get over his shyness, a theater class for my daughter would be great. And so the combinat- the impetus for me doing it was to be a good mom and to help my daughter with some of her issues and it then became my livelihood and my second career. So from one class of fifteen kids, you know, (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Now, now what year is this when you started the class?$$I started it, Alana [Adderley] was, I wanna say she was nine or eight, so this was probably '94 [1994] or ninety--yeah, '94 [1994], ninety, ninety, ninety, somewhere around there.

Janet Angel MacLachlan

Stage and film actress Janet Angel MacLachlan was born on August 8, 1933, in Harlem, New York; her mother, Iris South MacLachlan, and father, James MacLachlan, were both Jamaican born and members of the Church of the Illumination. Attending P.S. 170 and Julia Ward Junior High School, MacLachlan graduated from Julia Richmond High School in 1950, and earned her B.S. degree in psychology from Hunter College in 1955. While holding down clerical jobs MacLachlan studied acting at the Harlem YMCA, the Herbert Berghoff Acting Studio, and the Little Theatre of Harlem. Later, MacLachlan received additional training from The Actors Studio, Joanie Gerber Voiceovers, and Theatre East in Los Angeles.

In 1961, MacLachlan took Cicely Tyson’s place in The Blacks: A Clown Show by Jean Genet, and worked alongside James Earl Jones, Louis Gossett, Jr., Maya Angelou, and Roscoe Lee Brown. In 1962, MacLachlan was cast in the parody Raising Hell in the Sun and became active in Actors Equity and The Committee for the Employment of Negro Performers. MacLachlan spent a year at Minneapolis’ Tyrone Guthrie Theater and acted in Washington, D.C.’s Shakespeare Festival before she signed a contract with Universal Studios in 1964. Starting with The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1965, MacLachlan appeared in over seventy-five television shows, including: I Spy (1967), The FBI (1966), Star Trek (1967), The Fugitive (1966), The Name of the Game (1969/70), The Rockford Files (1975), Good Times (1978), Archie Bunker’s Place (1980), Cagney and Lacey (1982/83), Amen (1988), Murder She Wrote (1985), Murder One (1986), Family Law (2000), and Alias (2002). MacLachlan’s television movies included: Louis Armstrong - Chicago Style (1976), Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry (1978), The Sophisticated Gents (1981), For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story (1983), and The Tuskegee Airmen (1995). MacLachlan’s feature films included: Up Tight (1968), ...tick...tick...tick (1970), The Man (1972), Sounder (1972), Tightrope (1984) and Black Listed (2003).

Often cast as a judge, nurse, doctor, psychiatrist, teacher, or social worker, MacLachlan was also featured in the Emmy Award winning KCET-TV PBS production of Voices of Our People: In Celebration of Black Poetry. MacLachlan served as the grant committee chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, while remaining a resident of Los Angeles.

Janet MacLachlan passed away on October 11, 2010.

Accession Number

A2005.087

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/30/2005

Last Name

MacLachlan

Middle Name

Angel

Schools

Julia Richman High School

Julia Ward Howe Junior High School 81

P.S. 170

Hunter College

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Janet

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

MAC01

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Greece

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/27/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Death Date

10/11/2010

Short Description

Stage actress and film actress Janet Angel MacLachlan (1933 - 2010 ) appeared in over seventy-five television shows, including: I Spy, The FBI, Star Trek, The Fugitive, The Name of the Game, The Rockford Files, Good Times, Archie Bunker’s Place, Cagney and Lacey, Amen, Murder She Wrote, Family Law, and Alias. In addition to a prolific television career, MacLachlan also appeared in numerous television and cinema movies.

Employment

New York Life Insurance Company

Universal Studios

St. Mark's Playhouse

Guthrie Theater

Special Markets, Inc.

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janet Angel MacLachlan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her mother's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her parents' disinterest in their Jamaican roots

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her mother's education and employment

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her father's side of the family

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers family stories and an early childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her father's experiences in the British Army during World War I

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers her mother's passing

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her visits with family members

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers attending all-girls schools in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her favorite childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her self-perception growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about attending dances as a teenager in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers being cast in a play at P.S. 170 in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her college ambitions as a high school student in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her interests and activities in junior high and high school in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her jobs after graduating from Julia Richman High School in New York, New York in 1950

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about forming friendships through the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about completing her degree at Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers her early involvement with Little Theater at the Harlem YMCA in New York, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers her social activities as a student at Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her relationship with her mother while attending Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers her early theater involvement in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her employment during and after her final year at Hunter College in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan recalls working on Wall Street in New York, New York in the late 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her mental health throughout her childhood and early adulthood

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her home life growing up

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers traveling to Europe in 1961

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan recalls her involvement with Jean Genet's 'The Blacks: A Clown Show' at St. Mark's Playhouse in New York, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her concurrent understudy roles for 'Moon on a Rainbow Shawl' and 'The Blacks: A Clown Show' in the early 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes the unconventional structure of 'The Blacks: A Clown Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers performing in 'The Blacks: A Clown Show' and 'Raising Hell in the Son' in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about being hired by the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her disappointment in being cast in non-speaking roles at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers signing with Universal Studios Inc. in 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her parents' reaction to her acting career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her acting jobs with Universal Studios Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her career trajectory following her release from Universal Studios Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan explains her motivation for cutting her hair after being let go from Universal Studios Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her role in 'I Spy'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan remembers wardrobe challenges for her role in 'I Spy'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her impression of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about integration in her youth

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her involvement with political and professional organizations in the 1970s

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about traveling to East Germany in 1980

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her work for Communications Bridge Institute

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan recalls her decision to leave Communications Bridge Institute and become sober

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about becoming sober and her organizational involvement in the late 1980s

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her role in '...tick...tick...tick...'

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about the productions of 'Sounder' and 'The Man'

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her roles in 'The Man' and 'Sounder'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon African American actresses' access to roles

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan considers her favorite acting roles

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about theater roles she wanted to play

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan considers projects and roles she would like to do

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her disappointment in the television industry

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about chairing the grants committee for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her television preferences in relation to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' voting procedures

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Janet Angel MacLachlan considers the impact of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' voting system

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Janet Angel MacLachlan reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Janet Angel MacLachlan describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Janet Angel MacLachlan narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Janet Angel MacLachlan narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Janet Angel MacLachlan describes the unconventional structure of 'The Blacks: A Clown Show'
Janet Angel MacLachlan talks about her acting jobs with Universal Studios Inc.
Transcript
Most, if not all, of the black actors who were working in New York [New York], at some point or at some time or another did 'The Blacks[: A Clown Show,' Jean Genet]. They were either an understudy, or they came in and replaced, and they were kicked out, or they came in and they did the show and then they behaved badly and they were thrown out, or they, you know, whatever. It was just the kind of show that there were two, two sets. You know, there was the royal set, and then there were the street people, if you know the play. Do you know the play at all?$$No, I've, you know, I (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) You've never seen it?$$No, I've never seen it.$$Okay. It's very difficult to, to, to explain because it's, it was difficult for me to understand going into the play. There were, there were--it was very stylized, and there were, there were people dressed as, as the queen. I think [HistoryMaker] Maya [Angelou] played the [White] Queen at, at some point. And the--$$Maya Angelou.$$Maya Angelou--and the, the religious leader or the, you know, there, there were all those, those characters that were taken from, from countries that had, that were, that were run by European countries, you know.$$Colonized--$$It was that--they were colonized. Thank you, I knew I could count on you (laughter).$$(Laughter) Okay, I'm sorry. Go ahead.$$At any rate, and then there were other people who were performing this play for the royalty. And then there was another group of people who were backstage, who were off the stage, and they were preparing the revolution. So there were three sets of people going. And if, if one of them was replaced, everybody just adjusted to this new character. It's not like it was a traditional play where--where relationships were, were important to maintain, you know. It's a, it's an incredible play.$So any rate, so I came out here [Los Angeles, California]. I was greeted by everybody at Universal [Studios Inc., Universal City, California]. I realized that there was one black guy under contract, and he and I became sort of friends. And there were maybe two or three other black women, black young women, in town who were under contract to a major studio or a network. Somebody was with NBC; somebody was with Paramount [Pictures, Los Angeles, California]. And I can't remember what else there was, but there I was at Universal. And so I asked, you know, "What should I be doing? Should I come to the studio every day? Should I," you know, you know, "watch directors? Are there classes?" And I was told, "Don't do anything. Don't worry about it. Just go to the beach; enjoy yourself. Don't take any acting classes. We don't want you to change." You know, "Just sort of be," you know, "just enjoy yourself. You're under contract. You'll be paid forty out of fifty-two weeks." Twelve weeks they'll have to put me on a, on, on no salary, and, and everything was gonna be fine. So, one of the directors that I had met when I was--who, who actually had directed me for my, for my scene, my, my test scene, you know, I became pretty friendly with him. And he requested me on a show that he was, he was directing there that I should start getting used to working for camera. I mean I had done three little television shows in New York [New York], like one scene each. And I'd done these little commercials with no dialogue, but I really didn't understand the whole process of filmmaking. So, I worked with him. I think it was a, it was a [Alfred] Hitchcock. Then it as a '[The Alfred] Hitchcock Hour' show. I really did one, two, another Hitchcock, "The Monkey's Paw[: A Retelling," 'The Alfred Hitchcock Hour'], and a--'Bob Hope [Presents the] Chrysler Theatre.'$$Yeah, that was a scary one, "The Monkey's Paw."$$"The Monkey's Paw"? Yeah, that was, that was me. It was a very, but it was a very modern kind of jet set group. And, and a loan-out, they loaned me out to do 'The FBI' and a, a fashion show [Edith Head fashion show] for Universal Studio Tours because the tour center had not been built in '64 [1964], '65 [1965]. And that's all I did for Universal, and so they fired me. They fired me June of '66 [1966], which was like a year and a half. Actually, they brought me in in November. So, the following November they, when, when contract renewal time came, they said to me that because they had, had not used me a great deal, and they had not made their money back on me, they were not gonna give me my raise. And (laughter) I said, "Well, if you're not gonna give me my raise then let me go, you know. I don't want to be here."

Glory Van Scott

Producer, performer, educator, and civic activist, Glory Van Scott, was born in Chicago, Illinois, June 1, 1947. Van Scott's parents, Dr. and Ms. Thomas Van Scott, were raised near Greenwood, Mississippi and shared some Choctaw and Seminole ancestry. The trauma of Van Scott's cousin Emmett Till’s murder in 1955 did not diminish the benefit of the art, dance, and drama classes at The Abraham Lincoln Center, where she met Paul Robeson and Charity Bailey. Van Scott spent summers in Ethical Culture Camp in New York. A student at Oakland Elementary School and Dunbar High School, Van Scott finished high school at Ethical Culture High School in New York City.

That summer at the Society for Ethical Culture’s Encampment for Citizenship, Cicely Tyson referred Van Scott to actress Vinette Carroll, who mentored Van Scott in theatrical arts. Soon Van Scott was moving easily between modeling for the Wilhelmina Agency and performing; a principal dancer with the Katherine Dunham, Agnes DeMille, and Talley Beatty dance companies, she also joined the American Ballet Company. Van Scott appeared on Broadway in House of Flowers, with Pearl Bailey in 1954; Kwamina in 1961; The Great White Hope in 1968; Billy No-Name in 1970; and Rhythms of the Saints in 2003. Van Scott played the Rolls Royce Lady in 1974’s film, The Wiz.

While pursuing her career in the performing arts, Van Scott earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees from Goddard College, and her Ph.D. from Antioch College's Union Graduate School. For ten years Van Scott taught theater at Bucknell University’s Pennsylvania School for the Arts, and, later, Theater As Social Change at Fordham University. Van Scott became a Breadloaf Writers Scholar and the author of eight musicals including Miss Truth. Van Scott founded Dr. Glory’s Youth Theatre. Lipincott published Van Scott’s first children’s book, Baba and the Flea.

Van Scott served as coordinator for WNET’s Dance in America - Katherine Dunham: Devine Drum Beats in 2000, and produced The Katherine Dunham Gala at Carnegie Hall, and the 2003 Tribute to Fred Benjamin at Symphony Space. Van Scott was also project director and artistic coordinator for the Alvin Ailey Company’s The Magic of Katherine Dunham/I> and co-producer of the National Black Touring Circuit, with Woodie King, Jr. of New York Dance Divas. Van Scott, immortalized in bronze by Elizabeth Catlett in 1981, was awarded the first Katherine Dunham Legacy Award in 2002.

Accession Number

A2004.163

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/16/2004 |and| 9/16/2004

Last Name

Van Scott

Maker Category
Schools

Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School

North Kenwood/Oakland Elementary School

Goddard College

Ethical Culture Fieldston School

Union Institute & University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Glory

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

VAN04

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

Let's go get some grub.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/1/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Broccoli

Short Description

Dancer, theater professor, and stage actress Glory Van Scott (1947 - ) has acted in several plays and movies, and has written eight musicals. She has worked on many tributes to Katherine Dunham, and was awarded the first Katherine Dunham Legacy Award in 2002. She is also founded of Dr. Glory's Children's Theater.

Employment

Katherine Dunham Dance Company

Talley Beatty Company

Agnes de Mille American Heritage Dance Theatre

Wilhelmina Models

American Jewish Committee

Fordham University

Bucknell University

Dr. Glory's Youth Theatre

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Glory Van Scott's interview, session one

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Glory Van Scott explains the origin of her name

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Glory Van Scott remembers the origins of her interest in the Dunham Technique of dance

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Glory Van Scott explains what makes the Dunham Technique of dance unique

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Glory Van Scott remembers how the Dunham Technique affected her dance career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Glory Van Scott recalls meeting Katherine Dunham for the first time

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Glory Van Scott remembers the culture of the Katherine Dunham Company in 1959 to 1960

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Glory Van Scott details the Dunham Technique of dance

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Glory Van Scott recalls her favorite memories of travelling with the Katherine Dunham Company

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Glory Van Scott remembers Katherine Dunham as dance pioneer and humanitarian

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Glory Van Scott describes Katherine Dunham's dancers

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Glory Van Scott talks about reuniting the Katherine Dunham Company at a gala in Katherine Dunham's honor at Carnegie Hall in New York, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Glory Van Scott talks about some of HistoryMaker Katherine Dunham's choreographic pieces

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Glory Van Scott describes lessons she learned from HistoryMaker Katherine Dunham

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Glory Van Scott reflects upon the legacy of HistoryMaker Katherine Dunham

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of Glory Van Scott's interview, session two

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Glory Van Scott lists her favorites

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Glory Van Scott describes her mother's family background

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Glory Van Scott remembers being taught social consciousness by her mother

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Glory Van Scott recalls the murder of her cousin, Emmett Till, in 1955

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Glory Van Scott lists her siblings

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Glory Van Scott describes her father's family background

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Glory Van Scott remembers being prevented from learning about her father's Seminole heritage

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Glory Van Scott explains her politics, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Glory Van Scott explains her politics, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Glory Van Scott talks about her father

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Glory Van Scott describes her parents' roles in the community of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Glory Van Scott recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Glory Van Scott remembers visiting the Abraham Lincoln Center while growing up in the Oakwood neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Glory Van Scott describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Glory Van Scott remembers her schooling in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Glory Van Scott recalls the genesis of Arthur Mitchell's Dance Theatre of Harlem on the night of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Glory Van Scott remembers her disposition in elementary and high school

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Glory Van Scott recalls her orientation toward religion as a child

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Glory Van Scott recalls her mother and grandmothers' relationship with Reverend Joseph H. Jackson of Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Glory Van Scott explains her transfer from Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois to Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Glory Van Scott remembers her entree into the performing arts world after attending Encampment for Citizenship in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Glory Van Scott describes her early performance career in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Glory Van Scott recalls how her successful performance career evolved

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Glory Van Scott remembers HistoryMaker Katherine Dunham's influence on her career

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Glory Van Scott recalls being principal dancer for Agnes de Mille American Heritage Dance Theater and Tally Beatty's company during the 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Glory Van Scott talks about learning from senior members of the Katherine Dunham Company

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Glory Van Scott describes her philosophy of art

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Glory Van Scott recalls fighting against racist representations of African Americans in the performance art world, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Glory Van Scott recalls fighting against racist representations of African Americans in the performance art world, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Glory Van Scott remembers appearing as a principal dancer in 'Porgy and Bess' and as the Rolls Royce Lady in 'The Wiz'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Glory Van Scott remembers the dangers of being in the public eye

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Glory Van Scott talks about the musical she wrote, 'Miss Truth'

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Glory Van Scott describes her children's theater company, Dr. Glory's Children's Theatre in New York, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Glory Van Scott explains what drew her to tell Sojourner Truth's story

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Glory Van Scott talks about her tribute to September 11, 2001 rescue workers, 'Final Ladder'

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Glory Van Scott recalls a fire in her childhood home in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Glory Van Scott talks about her achievements in higher education

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Glory Van Scott explains the importance of reading and learning for children

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Glory Van Scott remembers being cast in bronze by HistoryMaker Elizabeth Catlett in 1981

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Glory Van Scott describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Glory Van Scott reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Glory Van Scott reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Glory Van Scott describes her family's opinion of her success

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Glory Van Scott reflects upon her religious beliefs

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Glory Van Scott describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Glory Van Scott narrates her photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

1$6

DAStory

9$8

DATitle
Glory Van Scott recalls her favorite memories of travelling with the Katherine Dunham Company
Glory Van Scott explains what drew her to tell Sojourner Truth's story
Transcript
How large was the troupe when you were in it? You said it was the large (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, it was a big one. I think we probably had maybe forty people who would travel with us sometimes. You had all the dancers, and we had musicians. We had orchestra travelling with us. We had all kinds of--it was incredible.$$Can you give some of your favorite memories of, of traveling with the [Katherine] Dunham [Company]?$$(Laughter) Well, I think really my favorite is something that I did--well, it's a favorite memory. Two that stand out in my mind. One was, we were coming from Middle East and we came into Marseille [France] and we had to get to Paris [France], and there'd been a storm, and we were on one of [Aristotle] Onassis' ships, and there'd been a storm, so the pilot ship couldn't come in and get our ship and bring us into port in time for us to get off the ship and get on the train that was to take us from Marseille to Paris, so we were late and of course the train, the normal train that was going to Paris, one train had left, there was another train there, and it's getting ready to leave, so when we finally got off--and we were all seasick, because we'd been in a great big storm--they told us--our manager had a big discussion with the ticket taker or whatever the station master and insisted, "We have to get on that train," because what are you gonna do with all these people? They've got to get into Paris tonight and so they can sleep because we can't stand up in Marseille. There no hotels rooms here, what are we gonna do? So, they arranged that, and so he said to us, "All right," he said, "run over and go into that train over there." So, of course we all started running that direction to go into the train over there, and someone screamed, "It's not that train; it's the one over to the left." So you have all about forty people suddenly swerving and running to the left, and I remember thinking, my God it's like a herd of cattle, we're just running, running, running. We get on the train; we're hot; we're tired. So we get on this train, we sit down, and someone says, "Okay, don't worry," because we were hungry. When we're about ten minutes out with this train, it stops at a little weigh station, and you can get off and get hot chocolate, get a sandwich, whatever. So everybody is, "Oh yeah great, great, great." So we get out to that point, I pile off the train like everybody else go in there, and we're getting hot chocolate, of course everybody is trying to get it at once, all of a sudden the train started to pull off. People scream, "Oh, the train's leaving!" We turned around; I ran out there and to the right of me was pure darkness, to the left of me was pure darkness; there's nothing. Yura [ph.], which is one of the dancer/singers was on the train said, "Jump, sister, jump!" He sticks his hand out--I flipped a train. I had on slippers and everything else, and I could have gone under the train, could have been clickety, click, click goodnight, goodbye, but I flipped a train. I can't believe it, you know, to me that was movie time, but this was reality, and of course someone pulled the emergency cord, and they stopped the train, and so we had at that point an Australian manager was filling in for one of our other managers, and he was screaming, "Everybody get in those rooms, don't come out!" And he had to pay like a five hundred dollar fine and he was furious with us, but I mean, what, you couldn't leave [HistoryMaker] Ms. [Katherine] Dunham's company out there in the middle of nowhere. So, we piled in and so that's one of the ones. And the other was that, right before that one happened, is we came from the Middle East, is that when we got to Lebanon you had to declare a religion, and there was a big form you had to fill out. I refused to declare a religion. I drew a line through where it said religion. So, of course they looked at everybody's forms, and they see mine and the line drawn through, and they decided, "Well, she must be Jewish because she's not declaring a religion, and she drew a line through." So they gave it back to the manager and said, "She has to declare a religion or the company cannot come into Lebanon." So, we're in a holding pattern, and I'm sitting up there. I am furious, and I'm saying, "No, I don't have to declare a religion; that's none of their business. I don't want to declare a religion; I don't have to declare a religion." So, we're sitting and sitting and sitting, finally they said, "Well if you don't, the company is just going to sit here. There's nothing we can do." So, I thought about it, and I said, "Okay, all right, I'll put down Ethical Culture." Now, I did put down Ethical Culture. Ethical Culture is a humanist religion which was started by Felix Adler, who was a Jew. So there it is, I put Ethical Culture. They had no idea. So, okay, she put a religion down, and I went through, and so the company could go. But, that was my protest that I do not and should not have to tell you what religion I am; that's nobody's business. So, I remember that very well that I had, the company could not move until I decided to declare a religion.$Something I neglected to ask you when we were talking about Sojourner [Truth], the 'Miss Truth' play, is that, what is it about Sojourner Truth or what particular thing about, you know, her drew you to her story?$$Because she has the strength and the fire that my grandmother [Matilda Stackhouse Brown] had, and I think that's what, I mean when she would stand there, that she could stand when they said that she must--she was, you know, about six feet tall, so she must be a man, and so they, the racists said, "Well, go tell her that she's a man, and she won't come out here and talk before people," at one of the speaking engagements that she had. They wanted to get rid of her, so they figured to say, "She's a man," or, "She would dare bare her breasts out here because she doesn't have any; it's a man," and therefore she won't come out and, and preach, as she could, against slavery, and so she pulled herself together and came out there, and that's the famous speech she has, 'Ain't I A Woman,' what's she done, but I wrote, written another speech that I do for that. And she could bare her breasts. She could stand there, and they could not silence her. And then you know just--so it's that power that she knew that she had. It's that spirit that she knew that she had, and, "Yes, you might shoot me while I'm here," but it's like it's that thing that I feel like, you know, my God if I'm doing something in civil rights, I'm doing something I believe in, and if I get killed in the process--and what I came to understand in terms of the '60s [1960s]: I won't be the first person or the last to die for what he or she believes, so therefore removes that fear. It just takes it away, and you're right, you're going, you're right in what you're saying and right in what you believe, and you can stand there and do that. Yes, you may kill my body, you will never ever kill my mind. Somebody will have still left some of those thoughts about how we really can live as brothers in this society. Somebody will continue it; somebody will. You will hear it; it's there.

T'Keyah Crystal Keymah

Actress T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 13, 1962. By the age of three, Keymáh was singing and dancing, and in high school she joined the Mary Wong Comedy Group. After high school, Keymáh attended Florida A & M University’s School of Business and Industry.

While attending Florida A & M, Keymáh began teaching theater, dance, and pantomime. Upon graduation, she returned to her native Chicago, where she worked as a substitute teacher while performing at some of the city’s most renowned theaters, including ETA and the Goodman. Keymáh first broke onto the television scene with a role on Quantum Leap in 1989; the following year, she joined the cast of In Living Color. During Keymáh's five years with In Living Color, she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a Soul Train Comedy Award. Over the next several years, Keymáh was a cast member in a number of other television shows, including On Our Own, Waynehead, The Show, and, most notably, as Bill Cosby’s daughter on Cosby. Keymáh also had roles on Roc, The Commish, and The John Larroquette Show, as well as doing voice-over work on Batman Beyond and Pinky and the Brain. Keymáh also made several movie appearances, including Jackie Brown and The Gilded Six Bit.

Keymáh went on to do a variety show, T’Keyah Live!…Mostly: A True Variety Show, which received rave reviews; she also appeared on the Disney Channel’s highly rated program, That’s So Raven. Keymáh produced the acclaimed short film Circle of Pain and was the executive producer of One Last Time.

In addition to her acting and producing, Keymáh is the author of Natural Woman / Natural Hair: Hairstyles and Hairstories From the Front; she also co-hosted the national ACT-SO awards, and the Orange and Aloha Bowl parades. Keymáh's alma mater, Florida A & M, has given her their second highest honor, the Meritorious Award; she is also listed among their 100 most influential FAMUans of the Century.

Accession Number

A2004.194

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/6/2004 |and| 11/17/2004 |and| 2/23/2005

Last Name

Keymah

Maker Category
Middle Name

Crystal

Organizations
Schools

Saint Sabina Academy

Academy of Our Lady

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

T'Keyah

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

KEY01

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $5,000 - $10,000

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Additional Documentation in Wid-West and West Coast SB, Front Office.

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Gambia

Favorite Quote

Love And Forgive.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/13/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Broccoli

Short Description

Stage actress and television actress T'Keyah Crystal Keymah (1962 - ) has enjoyed a long career in film and television. Keymah's credits include appearances in In Living Color, The Show, Cosby, The Commish, Pinky and the Brain, That's So Raven, and the films Jackie Brown and The Gilded Six Bit.

Favorite Color

Orange, Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:6654,104:7494,115:11946,170:12282,175:20888,267:22232,289:22736,296:23408,310:23912,317:24584,326:25172,334:26684,354:30128,416:31808,446:32144,451:33404,473:33908,480:47546,704:50042,757:50510,764:50822,769:51290,777:69190,954:69940,970:86700,1198:90140,1255:97504,1327:106396,1469:123144,1701:123873,1717:124197,1723:133431,1944:133917,1961:134565,1971:135051,1986:143664,2097:148960,2177$0,0:7058,97:21060,275:28020,401:31860,462:32260,468:34180,506:38980,609:47932,689:49228,712:49660,719:68974,1036:70001,1061:71028,1077:97441,1542:97952,1551:106376,1650:107168,1660:109350,1680
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of T'Keyah Crystal Keymah's interview and the origin of her name

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah explains how she chose her name

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Continued slating of T'Keyah Crystal Keymah's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her maternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her maternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her maternal family history, pt.3

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her maternal grandparents, Mary Louise Zeno and Carneil Carter

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah recalls her paternal family history

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her father, William Walker, Sr.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about Auburn Gresham, her childhood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about segregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her grade school years and her love of theatre

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes influential figures during her childhood years

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her teachers and her first play

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her favorite movies and TV shows as a young girl

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about joining the mime troupe at the Academy of Our Lady in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her family's engagement with the Civil Rights movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Second slating of T'Keyah Crystal Keymah's interview

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her performance outlets like her family, choir, mime troupe, and cheerleading

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her high school experience at Academy of Our Lady in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her teachers at Academy of Our Lady in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about black theatre companies in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about the staff at Academy of Our Lady and her experiences on public transit as a high school student

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her most memorable moment from St. Sabina Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her acting experiences at Academy of Our Lady High School, pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her acting experiences at Academy of Our Lady High School, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her activities at Academy of Our Lady in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about challenging her Catholic faith and discovering her black heritage

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about embracing her black heritage and running for senior class president

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about Cathy Williams, her talented classmate

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes other fellow high school classmates who were performers

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her focus on theater in high school

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her decision to attend Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her decision to attend Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah remembers her decision to attend Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah recalls her first impressions of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her experience in the business school at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about the theater scene at Florida A& M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her decision to switch her major from business to theater

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her experience in the theater department at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her senior year at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her exposure to black plays and her opinion on "black theater"

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah recalls the impact of reading Ntozake Shange's "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide"

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah speaks of her choosing to graduate versus obtaining her master's degree in theatre

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her favorite professor, Dr. Theodore Hemingway

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her path to winning the 1984 National Miss Black and Gold Pageant

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah remembers trying to find an acting job in Chicago and competing in the Miss Black Illinois Pageant

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah reflects upon lessons learned from competing in pageants, pt.1

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah reflects upon lessons learned from competing in pageants, pt.2

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about joining the eta's production, "The Regal Theater"

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes the early years of her acting career in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about getting her SAG card while working as a stunt double in "Big Shots"

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah remembers auditioning for "In Living Color"

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her television career and "Some of My Best Friends"

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about "In Black World," her signature piece on "In Living Color"

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah recalls fighting for writing credit and her name change to appear on "In Living Color"

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah recalls challenges during her tenure on "In Living Color"

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about using "Some of My Best Friends" to highlight society's invisible voices

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about the necessity of writing as a performer

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about producing her first film, "One Last Time"

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about the racism she encountered in the production of "Circle of Pain" and in the entertainment industry

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about "Tales from the Hood" and director Rusty Cundieff

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her television work on "Cosby," "In Living Color," and "The Show"

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her experience on "Cosby"

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about personal development as an actress, dancer, and singer

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah recalls her experiences performing in Senegal and Russia

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Final slating of T'Keyah Crystal Keymah's interview

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah recounts her grandparents' encounters with historic figures

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her experience on "On Our Own," "The Show," and "Roc"

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes performing in Russia

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah shares her memories from "Cosby"

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about Bill Cosby

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about the "Cosby" show's popularity and her experiences there

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about the end of the "Cosby" show and a Chicago production of "A Raisin in the Sun"

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about "A Raisin in the Sun" and her grandmother's battle with dementia

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about "T'Keyah Live! Mostly a True Variety Show" and being cast as a mother on "That's So Raven"

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about juggling caring for her grandmother with shooting "That's So Raven"

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah reflects upon caring for her grandmother

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes directing an episode of "That's So Raven"

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah explains why she left "That's So Raven"

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about Disney's historical racism and being a TV mom

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah laments the dearth of black writers in the entertainment industry

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about selecting roles to play as an actress

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her aspirations

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her book, "Natural Woman/Natural Hair: A Hair Journey"

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah recalls her decision to write "Natural Woman/Natural Hair: A Hair Journey"

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about publication of her book, "Natural Woman/Natural Hair: A Hair Journey"

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes how her book, "Natural Woman/Natural Hair: A Hair Journey" was received

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes what she would do differently

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her family's support

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her new project "In Black World"

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$3

DATape

2$11

DAStory

9$5

DATitle
T'Keyah Crystal Keymah talks about her grade school years and her love of theatre
T'Keyah Crystal Keymah describes directing an episode of "That's So Raven"
Transcript
Okay, well, now, you went to school at St. Sabina [Academy].$$Yeah, I went to St. Sabina--$$And--yeah.$$Elementary School, graduated in 1976, went to Academy of Our Lady High School [Chicago, Illinois], graduated in '80 [1980], and performed, I started performing in school. I was in the church choir and the school choir in grammar school. I, I think that, yeah, I think that was still elementary school. In the transition from elementary to high school they had these summer programs called CEDA [Community and Economic Development Association]. I don't, I don't think they have that anymore, but it was for poor black children (laughter), give them something to do during the summer. And the job that I selected was the, the drama program. And so, during that summer, after my, my eighth grade graduation, I sung in a choir as my summer job. And out of that came--I think one of the other people from that, we formed a little, little duo dance company, and we performed liturgical dances in church. But I had been performing--like I said, I don't remember when I wasn't performing. I used to put on shows in my grandmother's living room. And in fact, the name of my show was "The Cool Crystal and Carneil Comedy Half Hour." (Laughter) And I would rope whatever cousin or sibling, you know, was willing into these shows. And we would do sketches and songs, and, and our, our big closer was the nanny from "Mary Poppins." That was like the big, you know, show closer.$$You, you can do the nanny from "Mary Poppins?"$$Yeah, yeah, it was--there's--[singing] "You must be kind. You must be witty, very smart and fairly pretty." I won't sing the whole thing (laughter).$$Okay, that's--I'm convinced.$$But that, that was the big--and I, and the whole thing, I made tickets, and no, the show started at a certain time, not at dinner time, but just before dinnertime (laughter). And you know, everyone had to be quiet and, and have a ticket. And the tickets I think, I don't know if they actually paid or anything, but I--we printed up tickets. And I, and I printed up pro--wrote up a program, and it was, it was like a real show; it was, it was a real show.$$Okay.$Okay. Well, now, the character you play on this show, "That's So Raven," now you, though you're young, you seem to have the most gravity of anybody on the--I mean you, you--'cause it's a why--it's kind of a wild cast of, of--$$Yeah.$$--of characters.$$Someone was asking me recently, I think since our last interview, must be--directed an episode of "That's So Raven," and I--it was such a wonderful experience, I have been campaigning I think on this show all three years and on "Cosby" I think all four years (unclear)--everybody no, no, no, heck no, you want us to go further (laughter). So they finally said yes, and it was such a great experience, 'cause you know, it, it's, it's a child's set. And, and pretty much I was the voice of reason (laughter) on the show, like unfortunately I am on a lot of shows that--can we just behave for them for five seconds (laughter) so we can get something done? And I thought oh, they're gonna clown me. They are gonna show their behinds, but they, they didn't. They were really, really wonderful. And it was a special episode because it was Kyle [Massey]'s, the, the little boy who plays my son, Corey, it was Corey's first kiss on the show, and Kyle was nervous as all get-out, as was the little adorable girl that played his little girlfriend. And I think it helped him a lot that his TV mom was there to say hey, honey, you--we can get through this. We're just gonna do it like this, and like this, and I got your back. You know I'm not gonna clown you, it's okay. And just the whole cast and crew was great, and now I'm just, I'm itchin' to direct something again. I, it was really, really wonderful experience, finally.

Ruby Dee

Almost a lifelong New Yorker, Ruby Dee was born Ruby Ann Wallace on October 27, 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her family soon moved to New York, and Dee was raised during the golden age of Harlem. After high school, she attended New York’s Hunter College, graduating in 1945. Expressive and literate, Dee was drawn to the theatre while still a college student. Dee acted in small Shakespearian productions and landed a role in the play, South Pacific in 1943. She also began to study with the American Negro Theatre, where she would meet her future husband, Ossie Davis. They would fall in love during a cross-country tour of Anna Lucasta.

Ruby Dee’s career as an actress has been nothing short of phenomenal. A petite, intelligent actress of nuance and sensitivity, she was talented enough and lucky enough to garner some of the best roles for black women in the 1950s and 1960s. On stage, she was the first black woman to play lead roles at the American Shakespeare Festival, and won an Obie Award for her portrayal of "Lena" in Athol Fugard's Boseman and Lena; a Drama Desk Award for her role in Alice Childress’ Wedding Band and an Ace Award for her performance in Eugene O'Neil's Long Days Journey Into Night.

Dee has appeared in over fifty films. In 1950, she played Jackie Robinson’s wife in The Jackie Robinson Story and forty years later, she played his mother in the television production, The Court Martial of Jackie Robinson. Her film credits include: A Raisin In The Sun (1961), Uptight (1968), Buck And The Preacher (1972), Roots (1978), Do The Right Thing (1989) and The Delany Sisters: The First Hundred Years (1999). Dee won an Emmy Award for her performance in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Decoration Day. Throughout her film and television career, Dee has been selective and has brought that selectivity and dignity to every role she plays. She is particularly proud of her one-woman show, Zora Is My Name, about pioneering novelist, folklorist, anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston.

Dee and her husband are authors, storytellers and recording artists as well as actors. Her published works include the humorous, My One Good Nerve and various recordings for young people. In 1998, Dee and Davis co-wrote the autobiographical book, With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together, in which they take turns telling their stories as actors, activists, a married couple and as parents.

Dee’s life has not all been acting, however. She is a survivor of breast cancer for more than thirty years, and has long been active in a variety of movements. She, along with Davis, traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, as goodwill ambassadors, and eulogized Malcolm X in 1965 and later his widow, Betty Shabazz in 1997.

Jointly presented with The Academy of Television Arts and Science’s Silver Circle Award in 1994, Dee and Davis officially became “national treasures” when they received the National Medal of Arts in 1995. In 2000, they were presented the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award. They are inductees in the Theater Hall of Fame as well as the NAACP Hall of Fame. In 2008, Dee was awarded the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film, American Gangster. She also received an Academy Award nomination for this role.

Dee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 7, 2001.

Accession Number

A2001.024

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/18/2002

Last Name

Day

Middle Name

Davis

Organizations
Search Occupation Category
First Name

Nora

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

DEE02

Favorite Season

None

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/27/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

6/11/2014

Short Description

Stage actress and film actress Ruby Dee (1924 - 2014 ) has appeared in over fifty movies, including A Raisin In The Sun (1961), Uptight (1968), Buck And The Preacher (1972), Roots (1978), Do The Right Thing (1989), The Delany Sisters: The First Hundred Years (1999) and American Gangster (2007), which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Employment

Allied Stores Corporation

Favorite Color

None

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Sponsors of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Opening to 'An Evening With Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee'

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Introduction of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee recall the campaign for Angela Davis's freedom

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee talk about their introductions to the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Photos from Ossie Davis's and Ruby Dee's early theater roles and famous African American writers

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee reflect on how they first met acting in a play together

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee talk about the New York theater scene's efforts against racial injustices in the 1940s

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - A series of theater stills, political events of the '50s and '60s, and a film clip of Ruby Dee in 'Raisin in the Sun'

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis talk about the theatrical community's political activism in the 1950s

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee talk about their relationships with Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee recall their children's involvement during the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee talk about their Hollywood experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Series of film clips by Spike Lee featuring Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee detail their relationship with the filmmaker Spike Lee

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee talk about their current political activism and the plight of the nations of Africa

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Closing credits from 'An Evening With Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee'

Jackie Taylor

Jacqueline Elizabeth Taylor was born on August 10, 1951 in Chicago, Illinois and was raised in the Cabrini Green housing project. She rose from modest roots to become a distinguished actress, singer, director, playwright and theater founder. As the founder of the Black Ensemble Theater, she has created a strong institution.

Taylor attended St. Joseph Elementary School, where she started writing plays, poetry and stories from the age of eight. She gained recognition for her talents, and in seventh grade began directing. Continuing her education, she earned a B.A. in 1973 from Loyola University, where she majored in theater with an education minor. That year, she began working with Free Street Theater. Taylor got her first film break in 1975's Cooley High. Producing and starring in television and film - as well as in theatrical productions with such companies as the Goodman Theater, Organic Theater and Victory Gardens Theater - Taylor came to the realization that Hollywood would continue to present African Americans negatively. Taylor decided to try to control some of the images herself and so, in 1976, founded the Black Ensemble Theater. She serves as producer and director with a mission of producing plays that cut across racial and cultural lines, bringing people together. She has written and produced more than 100 plays and musical biographies, including The Other Cinderella and The Hootchie Cootchie Man: Muddy Waters, which Taylor co-wrote with Jimmy Tillman.

Taylor cares about contributing to the lives of youth. She has taught in the Chicago Public Schools through organizations like the Illinois Arts Council and Urban Gateways, where she served as assistant director of special projects. As a teacher, she likes the challenge of working with troubled students. Through a program called "Strengthening the School Through Theater Arts," she has shared her skills by showing teachers how to use theater to focus students' energy and creativity. As a testimonial, the Boys and Girls Club of America awarded her for her work with youth.

Taylor serves as the president of the African American Arts Alliance. She previously served as artistic director for the Regal Theater and vice president of the League of Chicago Theater. She has consulted with major cultural organizations. The City of Chicago honored her by naming a street after her. She has one daughter, Tynea.

Sullivan, Barbara. "Jackie Taylor," City Talk. December 8, 2000, pp. 5-6.

Accession Number

A2002.092

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

5/28/2002

Last Name

Taylor

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

St. Joseph Catothlic School

St. Michael Central High School

Loyola University Chicago

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Jackie

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

TAY03

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $500 - $1,000

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

Smile and be happy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/10/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spinach Salad

Short Description

Stage actress, stage director, and stage producer Jackie Taylor (1951 - ) has produced more than 100 plays and musical biographies, including, "The Other Cinderella," and, "Muddy Waters." Taylor also founded the Black Ensemble Theater in 1976, amd contributes to the community by teaching troubled students, and serving as the president of the African American Arts Alliance.

Employment

Free Street Theater (Chicago, IL)

Victory Gardens Theater (Chicago, IL)

New Regal Theatre (Chicago, IL)

Black Ensemble Theater (Chicago, IL)

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jackie Taylor interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jackie Taylor lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jackie Taylor talks about her parents origins

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jackie Taylor recalls her father's background and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jackie Taylor talks about her mother's background and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jackie Taylor talks about her Aunt Harriet

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jackie Taylor reflects on the sights and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jackie Taylor talks about the struggles she experienced growing up in Cabrini Green housing project

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jackie Taylor recalls her educational experiences in a Catholic high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jackie Taylor recalls the two adults that served as mentors during her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jackie Taylor details how Sister Celestine helped channel her creativity in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jackie Taylor talks about how she selected her high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jackie Taylor reflects on her high school experiences in Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jackie Taylor talks about her decision to attend Loyola University in Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jackie Taylor talks about her early acting career with Free Street Theater

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jackie Taylor talks about juggling motherhood with her acting career

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jackie Taylor discusses her involvement with Chicago theater companies in the 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jackie Taylor talks about her role in the movie 'Cooley High' and the roles for black women in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jackie Taylor talks about the founding of the Chicago Black Ensemble Theater

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jackie Taylor details the controversy around Black Ensemble Theater's debut of 'The Other Cinderella'

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jackie Taylor talks briefly about other motion pictures in which she appeared

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jackie Taylor talks about finding a permanent home for the Black Ensemble Theater

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jackie Taylor details Black Ensemble Theater's outreach programs

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jackie Taylor talks about the activities at their Beacon Street location in Chicago

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jackie Taylor talks about her activities as President of the African American Arts Alliance

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jackie Taylor discusses her experiences with taking the Black Ensemble Theater on tour

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jackie Taylor talks about the subject matter she chooses for the Black Ensemble Theater to perform

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jackie Taylor details how she researches for her productions and her working relationship with her Musical Director

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jackie Taylor talks about her legacy and the career choices she made

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jackie shares her final thoughts about oral histories and what her parents would think of her accomplishments

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Photo - Jackie Taylor's portrait from her teaching assignment at Henry H. Nash Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1980

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Photo - Jackie Taylor on vacation in the Bahamas, ca. 1987

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Photo - Jackie Taylor's sister, Harriet Taylor Day, and an unidentified woman, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Photo - Jackie Taylor's sister, Augusta 'Gussie' Taylor Ross, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1977-1978

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Photo - Jackie Taylor's daughter, Tyne Wright, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1982

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Photo - Jackie Taylor's portrait from her teaching assignment at Leslie Lewis Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1985

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Photo - Jackie Taylor with her ex-husband, Phil Wright, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Photo - Jackie Taylor with her high school friends, Chicago, Illinois, 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Photo - Jackie Taylor's brother, Joseph Taylor, performing at a family Christmas party, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1977

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Photo - Jackie Taylor's mother, Lucille Ward Taylor and her brother, Gus Lewis Taylor, Jr., at his wedding, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1975

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Photo - Jackie Taylor in a newspaper clipping from the 'Chicago Sun-Times', Chicago, Illinois, 1974

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Photo - Local actors visiting Jackie Taylor at Henry H. Nash Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1980

Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Photo - Jackie Taylor and other actors in Organic Theater Company's production of 'ER', Chicago, Illinois, 1983

Tape: 4 Story: 17 - Photo - Jackie Taylor and other actors in the Goodman Theatre's production of 'Death and the King's Horseman', Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1979-1981

Tape: 4 Story: 18 - Photo - Jackie Taylor as Adele in Victory Gardens Theater's production of 'Ceremonies in Dark Old Men', Chicago, Illinois, 1978

Tape: 4 Story: 19 - Photo - Jackie Taylor with her second grade class at St. Joseph Catholic School, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1958

Tape: 4 Story: 20 - Photo - Jackie Taylor playing a guitar in her living room, Chicago, Illinois, ca. 1971-1972

Tape: 4 Story: 21 - Photo - Head shot of Jackie Taylor, ca. 1980-1981

Tape: 4 Story: 22 - Photo - Jackie Taylor and other actors in Victory Gardens Theater's production of 'Eden', Chicago, Illinois, 1978

Tape: 4 Story: 23 - Photo - Jackie Taylor in a publicity photo for Victory Gardens Theater's production of 'Eden', Chicago, Illinois, 1978

Tape: 4 Story: 24 - Photo - Jackie Taylor in a brochure highlighting Victory Garden Theater's past productions, Chicago, Illinois, 1979-1980

Tape: 4 Story: 25 - Photo - Publicity shot of Jackie Taylor by Jennifer Gerard, 1990

Tape: 4 Story: 26 - Photo - Candid photo of Jackie Taylor, ca. 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 27 - Photo - Jackie Taylor's graduation portrait from St. Michael School, Chicago, Illinois, 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 28 - Photo - Jackie Taylor with Esther Rolle in a scene from Victory Gardens Theater's production of 'Dame Lorraine', Chicago, Illinois, 1982

Tape: 4 Story: 29 - Photo - Jackie Taylor and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs in a movie still from 'Cooley High', Chicago, Illinois, 1975

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DATitle
Jackie Taylor talks about her role in the movie 'Cooley High' and the roles for black women in the 1970s
Jackie Taylor details the controversy around Black Ensemble Theater's debut of 'The Other Cinderella'
Transcript
Tell us about 'Cooley High' [motion picture] and what--how did that fit in (unclear)?$$Well, 'Cooley High', I made 'Cooley High' in '74 [1974--sic, 1975]. And 'Cooley High' was one of the first major movies that was made here in Chicago [Illinois]. And it was, right, and today it's a cult movie. I, I would have never known, having made it then, that, you know, twenty-eight, twenty-nine years later, 'Cooley High' is still very popular. And people love that movie. Schultz, Michael Schultz was the director of it and I think his ideas were quite new for the time. And the story was a story Eric Monte wrote about growing up in Cabrini [Green public housing project]. And as an actress, I just felt, here was the perfect role for me. I had grown up in Cabrini, and I, I knew the experience. And here was a movie that was going to be shooting. So I told my agent, and she told me I was too old, that they were seeing high schoolers. So I found out who the, who the--I can't think of the, the term, but the casting director [Lauren Jones] was at that time, on the film. And I just pretended that I was somebody else and told them that I had this fabulous actress that I would like for them to see. And they put me, put down my name and said, "Okay, here's her time." And then I called my agent back and told her, "Okay, I have a time." This is my time cause you had to have an agent to go. And I went down. And I, you know, put my little bangs in my head and looked the, looked the age I was supposed to look and went down and got the role.$$Who was in that movie?$$Glynn Turman was the star. Lawrence Hilton Jacobs was my boyfriend. He played 'Cochise'. Those are the two that, because those are the two guys that I worked with the whole time, that I really remember.$$That was a good experience for you?$$That was a fabulous experience. It--Glynn Turman was a fabulous person and is a fabulous person. And he was so giving and loving and nourishing and it was my first film. So I was little, you know, afraid. And Glen assured me, you know, it was absolutely nothing to be afraid of. "You're a wonderful actress, just do your thing." And that was enough, you know, to just calm me down. After that, the producers were really impressed with what I did in the film. So I did get a lot of different offers from that. The problem was I didn't like the parts. They were very degrading for me as a person, as a black person and as a woman. I, I played one film where I was a prostitute. And I realized then when I did the role that if it's not gonna say anything, I can't do it. And I don't want to do it. So I had some difficulty in being able to work on a continual basis. If I had accepted the roles that they gave me, I wouldn't of had a problem. But because I wasn't just gonna do anything, I started garnering a name of being difficult.$Do I remember correctly a Club Misty?$$Club Misty was where I first produced 'The Other Cinderella' on a professional level. That was before I could find a theater, and they gave me--well, they rented me that space. But that, you're right, Club Misty was the very first theater space that I had. And we made that into a theater, right, wow, good memory, Chuck [Smith].$$Tell us about your experience on Wells [Street, Chicago, Illinois], the theater on Wells--was it a theater?$$It was a theater. It was a theater. It was, it didn't have a name. It was a 150-seat theater. I was there two years. It was a struggle because we were just starting out, but we had had controversy. We had had, I was going to produce 'The Other Cinderella', and this guy came to me with a play called, 'Cinderella Brown', and asked me if I would consider, instead of producing my 'Cinderella', to--that he would hire me and my company and pay my rent for five months if I would produce and direct 'Cinderella Brown'. And, of course, I said, "Sure, why not?" You know, this was a way for me to get the company off the ground and get my rent paid and get my actors paid. So, "Yes." We went into rehearsal. We had a backer's audition where he raised a lot of money. And then after the backer's audition, he told me he was gonna take it out to Summit, Illinois and would I please come with him. And I said, "No, please. I would not. The reason that I did do your play was so that you could pay the rent and my company. And if you're going to use my theater, I'm not doing it." At the time, my actors went with him. They said, "Well, you know, we have to go where the money is. You know, you have to understand that." And they went to Summit, Illinois. In the meantime, I used his date that he said he was gonna open 'Cinderella Brown'. I used his flyers. I just changed the name on all those 10,000 flyers. I used his mailing list that he had left at my theater. And I called Irv Kupcinet and said, "Irv, I've got a problem, can you help me?" And he publicized that I was going to be opening 'The Other Cinderella' and that the guy--I won't say his name, had went to the Summit Theater, but the audience could still see 'Cinderella' at the Black Ensemble Theater. And that is how, that, that's what made us work cause that--the play was an instant--it had all that publicity around it. And it was an instant success. So we ran it for two years. And then I got tired of playing 'Cinderella'. (laughs) At the time, I didn't think about a understudy. I just thought about, "Okay, what's the next play?"