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Jedda Jones

Comedian and actress Jedda Jones was born on August 8, 1952 in New Orleans, Louisiana to Audrey Lieteau and Louis J. White. She graduated from Xavier University Preparatory School in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1970 and received her B.A. degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1974.

After graduation, Jones was recruited to work at Bell South in New Orleans. She was later promoted to manager and remained in that position for ten years. She left Bell South in 1985, and moved to New York to pursue a career in standup comedy. During this period, Jones also worked as a writer and wrote monologues and speeches for actress and comedian Marsha Warfield. She served as the head writer for two seasons of The Martha Warfield Show. Jones later appeared on The Sunday Comics television program on Fox and was a featured performer at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. Jones made her television acting debut on the series New Attitude, in the role of Celina. In 1991, Jones was featured in Whoopi Goldberg’s HBO show Chez Whoopi. That same year, she portrayed Rubie Lin in the film Talkin’ Dirty After Dark and appeared as Sadie in the film Shattered, starring Tom Berenger and Bob Hoskins. In 1993, Jones was cast in Indecent Proposal, starring Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore. She also appeared in the film CB4 with Chris Rock and had a recurring role as Mrs. Lawrence in the series Tall Hopes. The following year, Jones had appearances on the television series Murphy Brown and Coach. From 1994 to 1998, Jones had two recurring roles in the television series Sister, Sister as Charlotte and Marjorie. In 1998, Jones appeared in Warren Beatty’s Bulworth starring Halle Berry. She was later cast in the role of Agnes in the film Catfish in Black Bean Sauce in 2000. In 2004, Jones portrayed Mercedes in Ray, starring Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles. The next year, she was cast in the film Treasure n tha Hood as Ms. Minne and made several recurring appearances as Miss Dupree on The Tom Joyner Show. In 2009, Jones was featured in the films The Final Destination and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Two years later, she was cast in the film Snatched.

Comedian and actress Jedda Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 28, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.032

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/28/2019

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

Tulane University

Xavier University Preparatory School

First Name

Jedda

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

JON45

Favorite Season

The Time Between Mardi Gras and Easter

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Greece, Pompei, Athens

Favorite Quote

Hey Baby, How You Doin' Cher?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

8/8/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

USA

Favorite Food

King Crab Legs

Short Description

Comedian and actress Jedda Jones (1952 - ) portrayed Miss Dupree on The Tom Joyner Morning Show and appeared in the films Talkin’ Dirty After Dark, Shattered, Indecent Proposal, Bulworth, and Ray.

Employment

Sister, Sister

Bell South

Marsha Warfield

The Marsha Warfield Show

The Sunday Comics

Just for Laughs Comedy Festival

New Attitude

Chez Whoopi

Tallkin' Dirty After Dark

Catfish in Blackbean Sauce

Ray

The Tom Joyner Show

Treasure n tha Hood

The Final Destination

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Snatched

Favorite Color

Orange

Anne-Marie Johnson

Actress Anne-Marie Johnson was born on July 18, 1960 in Los Angeles, California to Joseph P. and Ann Clay Johnson. She graduated from John Marshall High School in Los Angeles and enrolled at UCLA in the School of Theatre, Film and Television in 1978. She received her B.A. degree in acting and theatre in 1982 from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Johnson she was a contestant on popular game shows, Card Sharks and Child’s Play. She appeared on the pilot episode of Body Language, a Mark Goodson Productions game show in 1984. Johnson appeared in her first role, as Aileen Lewis on the 1984 NBC comedy series Double Trouble. That year, she made a guest appearance on the NBC sitcom Diff’rent Strokes and episodes of the serial police drama Hill Street Blues. In 1985, following a guest appearance on NBC’s cop series Hunter, Johnson was cast in the principal role of Nadine on the sitcom What’s Happening Now, airing for three seasons. She played the role of Lydia/Willie Mae /Hooker #5 in Robert Townsend’s film, Hollywood Shuffle in 1987 and the role of Cherry in Keenan Ivory Wayans’ “cult classic” film I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. She became known for portraying “Althea Tibbs” on the NBC/CBS television series In the Heat of the Night from 1988 to 1993. During the offseason, Johnson appeared in four films including Robot Jox, The Five Heartbeats, True Identity and Strictly Business. Johnson joined the cast of In Living Color, in its last season, starring in 24 episodes. A noted impressionist, she was credited for her celebrity portrayals of Oprah Winfrey, Mary Tyler Moore and Whitney Houston on the series, from 1993–1994.

Johnson has performed in television series and motion pictures including Homicide, Matlock, Division 4 (Australia), High School USA, Dream Date, Lucky Chances, Singer & Sons, The Larry Sanders Show, Living Single, Babylon 5, Sirens, Murder She Wrote, Melrose Place, SpiderMan-Animated Series, Asteroid, Smart Guy, JAG, Any Day Now, The Pretender, Chicago Hope, It’s Like You Know, Ally McBeal, Hope Island, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, Chicken Soup for the Soul, For Your Love, X-Files, Strong Medicine, The Parkers, The District, Dharma & Greg, Through The Fire, The System, What I Like About You, The Division, Rock Me Baby, Girlfriends, That’s So Raven, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Bones, NCIS, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Boston Legal, Uncorked, I’m in the Band, Fairly Legal, Leverage, Days of Our Lives, Murder in the First, Chasing Life, Pretty Little Liars, Children’s Hospital, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Major Crimes and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later.

Johnson was elected First National Vice President of the Screen Actors Guild representing in 2005.

Anne-Marie Johnson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 1, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.026

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/2/2018

Last Name

Johnson

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Anne-Marie

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

JOH54

Favorite Season

Summer in Los Angeles

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/18/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Pizza and Salad

Short Description

Actress Anne-Marie Johnson (1960- ) was known for portraying “Althea Tibbs” on the NBC/CBS television series In the Heat of the Night. She performed in numerous television series and motion pictures and in 2005, was elected first national vice president of the Screen Actors Guild.

Favorite Color

Maroon

Phylicia Rashad

Actress and stage director Phylicia Rashad was born on June 19, 1948 in Houston, Texas. Rashad graduated from Howard University in 1970, magna cum laude, with a B.F.A. degree.

Best known for her role of Clair Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, Rashad has enjoyed a distinguished acting career on television, stage, and film. Her theater credits include Broadway productions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof , Gem of the Ocean, Into the Woods, Jelly’s Last Jam, Dreamgirls, Ain’t Supposed To Die A Natural Death; also Cymbeline and Bernada at Lincoln Center. Rashad has appeared in films: The Old Settler, For Colored Girls, Creed, and Creed II.

A critically acclaimed stage director, Rashad has led productions at prestigious venues throughout the United States including the Mark Taper Forum, the McCarter, the Goodman, the Long Wharf, the Steppenwolf, Ebony Repertory and the Signature Theatre. Among her growing list of directorial credits are: August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, for which she received the 2014 NAACP Theatre Award for Best Director, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun; Paul Oakley Stovall’s Immediate Family and Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Our Lady of 121st Street.

Respected in the academic world, Rashad was the first recipient of the Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre at Fordham University, and has been bestowed with numerous honorary doctorate degrees from institutions like Providence College, Tuskegee University, Carnegie Mellon University, Fordham University, Howard University, Barber-Scotia College, Bennett College, Brown University, Clark Atlanta University, Morris Brown College, and Spelman College, presented to her by former First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2011 commencement. Together, she and her sister, Debbie Allen Nixon, established the Dr. Andrew A. Allen Scholarship Award for theater students at Howard University. Rashad also conducts Master Classes at colleges and universities across the country, and served as a master teacher for the 2015 Lunt Fontanne Fellows at the Ten Chimneys Foundation.

Throughout her lifetime, Rashad has maintained a commitment to community service exemplified through her participation as a Director of Brainerd Institute Heritage in Chester, South Carolina. An active member of several organizations devoted to arts education and philanthropic endeavors, Rashad is honored to serve as Brand Ambassador of the National Trust for Historic Preservation African American Cultural Heritage Fund.

Inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2016, Rashad counts among her many honors: People’s Choice Awards, NAACP Image Awards, The Will Award from the National Shakespeare Theatre, the Spirit of Shakespeare Award from the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Play for her riveting performance as Lena Younger in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, and the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play for her performance as Shelah in Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes at the Public Theater.

Phylicia Rashad was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2016 and February 2, 2017.

Accession Number

A2016.150

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2016 |and| 02/02/2017

12/13/2016

02/02/2017

Last Name

Rashad

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Phylicia

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

RAS02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hawaii, Oman, Muscat

Favorite Quote

Honey please.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/19/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Palak paneer, yellow daal...

Short Description

Actress Phylicia Rashad (1948 - ) was best known for playing Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show from 1984 to 1992. She made her Broadway debut as a munchkin in the original production of The Wiz in 1975, and would star in the Broadway productions of A Raisin in the Sun, Gem of the Ocean, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Favorite Color

Red

Whoopi Goldberg

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson on November 13, 1955 in Manhattan, New York to Emma Harris Johnson and Robert James Johnson. Goldberg’s mother raised her as a single parent in the Chelsea-Eliot Houses public housing project. Goldberg attended St. Columba Catholic School in Chelsea, New York and Washington Irving High School.

Goldberg studied with theater teacher Uta Hagen at HB Studio in New York City during the 1970s before moving to Berkeley, California, where she performed with the Blake Street Hawkeyes, an experimental theater group. In the early 1980s, Goldberg began developing The Spook Show, a one-woman series of character monologues. She eventually took the show to the Dance Theater Workshop in New York, where director Mike Nichols asked her to perform on Broadway. Renamed Whoopi Goldberg, the show with Goldberg caught the eye of Steven Spielberg during its 1984 to 1985 run, who cast her in the starring role of Celie in the 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, earning her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Goldberg went on to appear in the 1990 film Ghost, for which she won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 1992, Goldberg starred as Sister Mary Clarence in Sister Act, reprising her role in the 1993 film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. The highest paid actress at the time, Goldberg went on to appear in The Long Walk Home (1990), Ghosts of Mississippi (1990), the South African film Sarafina! (1992), Made in America (1993), The Lion King (1994), Eddie (1996), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) and Girl, Interrupted. From 1998 to 2002, Goldberg executive produced and appeared on the popular game show, Hollywood Squares. A lifelong Star Trek fan, Goldberg appeared in the recurring role of Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Goldberg has authored numerous bestselling books for children and adults, including Book and the Sugar Plum Ballerinas series. In 2007, Goldberg became a moderator on the morning talk show The View alongside Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Elizabeth Hasselbeck. She has continued acting throughout the 2000s and 2010s, appearing in films such as For Colored Girls (2010), Big Stone Gap (2014), and Nobody’s Fool (2018). She has produced numerous projects for television and stage.

Goldberg has received Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar awards, making her the first African American to receive all four awards. In 2017, she was named a Disney legend by the Walt Disney Company.

Goldberg has one daughter, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Whoopi Goldberg was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.051

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/5/2016

Last Name

Goldberg

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

St. Columba Catholic School

Washington Irving High School

First Name

Whoopi

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

GOL05

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Fuck It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/12/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Potato Chips

Short Description

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg (1955 - ) was the first African American to receive all four Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar awards.

Employment

HBO Studios

Huson Guild Community Center

Various

Comic Relief, Inc.

One Ho Production

Slimfast

Lyceum Theatre

ABC's The View

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Whoopi Goldberg's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Whoopi Goldberg lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her childhood in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers her mother's nervous breakdown

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls her relationship with her family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Whoopi Goldberg talks about her education in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her relationship with her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers her early influences

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her schools in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers her marriage and the birth of her daughter

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her training as an actor

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers moving to California

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls the Deloux School of Cosmetology in San Diego, California

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls a lesson from her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers the San Diego Repertory Company

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls moving to San Francisco, California

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls performing in East Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls her inspiration for 'The Spook Show'

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls her invitation to Dance Theater Workshop in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers writing to Alice Walker about 'The Color Purple'

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls the early success of 'The Spook Show'

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Whoopi Goldberg remembers performing 'The Spook Show' on Broadway

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls being cast in 'The Color Purple'

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Whoopi Goldberg describes her performance at Steven Spielberg's theater

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Whoopi Goldberg recalls the production of 'The Color Purple'

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Whoopi Goldberg talks about her writing process

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Whoopi Goldberg talks about her daughter and family

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Whoopi Goldberg talks about her upcoming projects

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Whoopi Goldberg reflects upon her career

Tape: 2 Story: 17 - Whoopi Goldberg explains why she agreed to be interviewed

Tape: 2 Story: 18 - Whoopi Goldberg reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 2 Story: 19 - Whoopi Goldberg reflects upon her life

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$1

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Whoopi Goldberg remembers writing to Alice Walker about 'The Color Purple'
Whoopi Goldberg remembers her mother's nervous breakdown
Transcript
In the interim, my daughter and I are driving around in our Volkswagen van, which weighs, you know, like tissue paper. So when the wind blows, you know, you're hold it, sliding around. And she and I were going to buy--I'd gotten some money for my birthday and we were going to buy her shoes. And we had NPR [National Public Radio] on, I think, and we turned it on and heard this woman doing this reading. And it was just amazing. And, you know, I'm driving and I'm listening, and I say to Alex [Alex Martin], "This is kind of amazing story, huh?" She says, "Can we listen to it?" I was like, "Yeah, should we pull over?" She said, "Yeah, yeah, let's pull--." So we pulled over. And it was Alice [Alice Walker] doing a partial reading of 'The Color Purple' [Alice Walker]. And so (laughter), Alex said, "Can we, can we get this book? Can we buy the book?" I said, "Well, we're going to buy shoes." She said, "Can we do both?" I said, "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know if we can." So we didn't get the shoes that she said that she wanted, that I saved for her to get. We got shoes that she wasn't really that interested in, and we got 'The Color Purple.' So we read it, she and I read it together. And when it was done, I, I just, you know, I wrote a letter to the, to the back of the book, the, you know, they tell you where the offices are. So I wrote a, wrote a letter to Alice Walker. I said, my name is [HistoryMaker] Whoopi Goldberg, and I work in Berkeley, California, and this is what I do, and here's some of my work, 'cause I'd been doing Moms Mabley. I--all these different shows that, you know, 'cause you're trying to hone your skills. And, you know, I've never made a movie before, but if they ever make a movie of this, I'd be happy to play the dirt on the floor. Whoopi Goldberg. So now, I get this invitation, you know, weeks later to come and I--oh, and I say, I'm going to New York [New York]. I, I--yes, I think I'm cheeky enough to say I'm, I'm going to New York, and this is where I'm gonna be staying and, 'cause I just assumed she would write me back 'cause that's hubris. You don't, you have no idea. And so I got to 288 - 10th Avenue, and my mother [Emma Harris Johnson] said, "Oh, this came for you," and she, she handed me this purple envelope. And I said, "Who's this from?" And it said, Alice Walker (laughter). I went, "It says Alice Walker, Ma." She says, "Is that the, the lady that wrote the book?" I said, "Yeah." She said, "Well, what does it say?" I opened it up. It says, Dear Whoopi, I know your work. I live up in the Bay Area [San Francisco Bay Area, California]. I've seen your shows. I've already sent your stuff to the powers that be. [HistoryMaker] Quincy Jones is producing it. So and so is producing it, and, you know, maybe they will let you be dirt on the floor. So that's how that happened.$So tell me about growing up, you and your, your brother [Clyde Johnson] and your mother [Emma Harris Johnson]? Can you tell me a little bit about some of the times together?$$Yeah, I'll tell you about some good times and some, about some not-so-good times. I'll tell you about the not-so-good times. My mom got ill when I was eight or nine. I think she had a nervous breakdown, and, you know, in those days, you could not, you--children were not allowed to go to the hospitals to see them. So she virtually disappeared for two or three years. But my dad [Robert Johnson] (laughter) came to take care of us, and my dad was a gay man. And so he did his best, you know. So he put a Lilt pearl--perm in my hair. Now Lilt, 'cause only we remember Lilt, Lilt was a permanent wave solution that was really for white women. And my father felt that my hair should be wavy. So he put a Lilt perm in my hair (laughter). And so, some of my hair broke off. And then they had to sort take care of the rest of it, yeah. And then my cousin who's called Arlene, who grew up with mother--they grew up kind of, you know, literally, side-by-side, but Arlene was a redhead 'cause her mom had a German husband, slash boyfriend--who can say. But they grew up next to each other. So one was called Arlene and the other one is called Monica [ph.]. That was my mom. So I learned about a lot of this after-the-fact. But, so she got sick, and, and she was gone for a while. And when she came back I--the way I described her was like, it sounds like my mother, looks like my mother. It's not my mother. It's like invasion of the body snatchers because what you learn later on is that they used--$$Electric shock therapy.$$Yes, yeah. So when I got much older, and my brother and I would talk to her about it because I think it was a, a pivotal time. I think it's when I came into my own because I realized suddenly that people go--can go away like that. And so that was like, okay, I need to learn how to take care of myself so I can be self-sufficient. So my brother and I said, so what, what was that like? And she said, "Well, I don't remember a lot of it." She said, and that was the hardest thing "'Cause I never, ever wanted to look like I was ill again." I never wanted to seem like I didn't feel good. So my mother never went to another doctor after she got home, ever, because she didn't want anyone to say, "Oh, you look odd or something." So she just never went into a hospital, and never went to a doctor. And I said, but, you know, what happened? She said, "Well, when I came home, I didn't really know you guys. But I had to fake it because (laughter) I didn't wanna go back." So she got to learn about us all over again. And as kids, my brother and I--no, as adults, we shared a lot of information, 'cause I'd say, "Did this really, did this happen? Do you remember this?" And he'd go, "Yeah, yeah, but I don't remember it that way. I remember it like this." So we sort of raised my mom, and then she went on to become an amazing Head Start teacher and just an amazing woman. She worked at the Hudson Guild in Chelsea [New York, New York] as a Head Start teacher. And they liked her so much that they put her through college, and she, you know, graduated NYU [New York University, New York, New York] and, you know, and had a lot of kids come through her class, the Wayans brothers were her kids and all kinds of amazing stuff. And then I, of course, I got famous and said, "You wanna get outta here?" And she's like, "Yes, I'd like to." I said, "Okay, when can you come?" And she said, "Well, when would you like me?" I said, "I'll send you a ticket for next week." So my mother came. She got off the plane. She had a paper bag with her. And we went, and I was gonna take her to the bags. I said, "Where's your bag?" She said, "I didn't bring any." I said, "Are you, you plan to go--?" She said, "No, no. I just locked up the place and left." She locked up, 288 10th Avenue, apartment 6D and never looked back. She took nothing. Fresh start, clean start.$$That's an amazing story.$$She was an amazing woman (laughter). She was amazing woman.$$Do you know what her illness was? Do you know? Did she ever know that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Nervous breakdown, I guess, whatever the--$$She had a nervous--too much, things too much (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I don't know, yeah, thing--I think it, it did become, it became overwhelming because, you know, I guess in those days, you know, you would go and try to fight and try to get things done. And, you know, judges would look at you and say, you know, not really pay attention to the fact that you actually needed help. So she said, "I, you know, I tried as hard as I could and, and then I--." She said, "I just, I don't know what happened."

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Singer and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater was born on May 27, 1950 in Memphis, Tennessee. Raised in Flint, Michigan, Bridgewater was exposed early to jazz music; her father, Matthew Garrett, was a jazz trumpeter and teacher at Manassas High School. After high school, Bridgewater attended Michigan State University before transferring to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1969, she toured the Soviet Union with the University of Illinois Big Band.

In 1970, Bridgewater met and married trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater and moved to New York City. She sang lead vocals for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra in the early 1970s, and appeared in the Broadway musical The Wiz from 1974 to 1976. Bridgewater also released her first album in 1974, entitled Afro Blue. Then, after touring France in 1984 with the musical Sophisticated Ladies, she moved to Paris in 1986 and acted in the show Lady Day. Bridgewater also formed her own backup group around this time and performed at the Sanremo Song Festival in Italy and the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990. Four years later, she collaborated with Horace Silver and released the album Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver. She then released a tribute album, entitled Dear Ella, in 1997, and the record Live at Yoshi’s in 1998. Subsequent albums included This is New (2002); J'ai Deux Amours (2005); Red Earth (2007); and Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee Bridgewater (2010). She has also performed with the Terence Blanchard Quintet at the prestigious John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and opened the Shanghai JZ Jazz Festival in 2009. Bridgewater also appeared regularly at other music festivals and on numerous television shows, radio programs, and in feature films. She owns a production company and record label, and has hosted NPR’s syndicated radio show JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater since 2001. In addition, Bridgewater served as a United Nations Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Bridgewater has received seven Grammy Award nominations and won three. She also won the 1975 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in The Wiz. Bridgewater was the first American to be inducted to the Haut Conseil de la Francophonie and has received the Award of Arts and Letters in France, as well as the country’s 1998 top honor, Victoire de la Musique.

Dee Dee Bridgewater was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 10, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.254

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/10/2014

Last Name

Bridgewater

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Michigan State University

Clark Elementary School

St. Matthew Catholic School

Southwestern Classical Academy

First Name

Dee Dee

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

BRI08

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Any Island

Favorite Quote

Awesome Sauce.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Interview Description
Birth Date

5/27/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

USA

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Singer and actress Dee Dee Bridgewater (1950 - ) was a three-time Grammy Award-winning singer, as well as a Tony Award-winning stage actress, and hosted NPR’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Employment

Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

NPR

DDB Productions, Inc.

DDB Records

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:21538,420:25310,485:31842,700:39188,739:40068,750:43764,817:46140,860:54860,978:55220,983:56750,1005:68116,1152:76856,1285:87580,1368:93052,1510:95180,1603:101612,1649:102707,1674:103948,1703:119066,1932:146110,2141:153690,2222:154600,2259:154860,2264:155120,2269:157468,2279:158238,2285:173812,2437:174220,2442:177688,2478:178300,2485:181530,2490:181845,2496:186695,2577:187085,2585:187540,2594:189640,2621$0,0:1746,58:2994,87:9234,204:18260,348:18900,357:19700,374:51820,779:72445,1005:75802,1092:78429,1150:78713,1155:82810,1193:83272,1200:83657,1209:84966,1226:85274,1231:88066,1256:92038,1318:109496,1552:109832,1557:112520,1596:115460,1636:122679,1719:127327,1841:141948,2005:142160,2010:144550,2023:145488,2038:146761,2064:147096,2071:147766,2090:152389,2195:152791,2202:153260,2210:154466,2237:159334,2296:162876,2360:167788,2422:169350,2428:178313,2476:179039,2487:181964,2510:182299,2516:187800,2593:188110,2599:193790,2704:206820,2857:207310,2865:207870,2875:208290,2882:215729,3029:219014,3125:225599,3214:226942,3234:245028,3503:263810,3784:264320,3792:265510,3832:269505,3914:270865,3937:275337,3976:279155,4069:279653,4079:279985,4084:280483,4091:280815,4096:281147,4105:305948,4372:310256,4398:313120,4425
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dee Dee Bridgewater's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

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

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her mother's education and occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her father's education and musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about how her parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her relationship with her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers the St. Matthews Catholic School in Flint, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her early musical influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her teenage personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater reflects upon the role of religion in her upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her artistic development

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her experiences of sexual abuse in the Catholic church

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her experiences of childhood sexual abuse

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers forming The Irisdescents

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about the prevalence of childhood molestation

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her college aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers the development of her political consciousness

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her college counseling

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her activism with the Black Panther Party

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her early singing performances

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers meeting her first husband, Cecil Bridgewater

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers obtaining an illegal abortion

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls transferring to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls joining the Jazz Big Band at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers touring the Soviet Union with the Jazz Big Band

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about jazz music in the Soviet Union

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers Horace Silver

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her collaboration with Horace Silver

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes the jazz fusion scene in the 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater describes her development as a musician

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her early albums

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her role in 'The Wiz,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her role in 'The Wiz,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about the contention over casting for 'The Wiz' movie

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her relationship with Gilbert Moses

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers the critical acclaim for her album, 'Dee Dee Bridgewater'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dee Dee Bridgewater reflects upon her experiences performing in 'The Wiz'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dee Dee Bridgewater remembers her album, 'Just Family'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dee Dee Bridgewater talks about her television appearances

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her collaboration with Horace Silver
Dee Dee Bridgewater recalls her role in 'The Wiz,' pt. 1
Transcript
So, imagine his surprise when I called him in 1995 and said, "Horace [Horace Silver], I'm gonna do an album of your music ['Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver']." He was stunned, he said, "But Dee [HistoryMaker Dee Dee Bridgewater], I mean after, after I threw you off the stage all those years ago, you wanna do it with me?" I said, "I love your music, I love your music." So, when I picked the songs he, he said, "Well, then I will write all the lyrics." And some of the songs had lyrics that had been (simultaneous)-- (Simultaneous) So, you wrote the lyrics?$$Horace wrote, (unclear)--$$Horace said he'd write all the lyrics.$$--said he would write all the lyrics for the songs that I selected, and he had, had some kind of publishing conflict with Jon Hendricks who had written a lot of lyrics on his songs, and their, their agreement can--had come up so he was getting all his publishing back and so he said he would write all the lyrics for me.$$'Cause he had some songs that had lyrics like the "Song for My Father" and then others that didn't have any.$$Yep.$$As of yet.$$He wrote--$$Yeah.$$--all the lyrics, yep for that album and then he agreed, I asked him if he would perform on the album and Horace never guested on anyone's albums. And he did, I flew him to Paris [France], I recorded the album in Paris and he came.$$That was "Permit Me to Introduce You to Yourself" (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) "You to Yourself."$$Did he write those lyrics--$$Yes.$$--especially for you?$$No, that he had (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Were they already--$$--written for--he did this trilogy called The United States of Mind' and that, that was on one of those albums. It was on the first album. So, he'd written those lyrics already.$$Okay, all right.$$But like "Pretty Eyes" well he rewrote the lyrics, they were famous lyrics that had been written by Jon Hendricks, so rewrote the lyrics on, on "Song for My Father" on "Doodlin'" then he wrote me the lyrics for everything else. "Saint Vitus Dance," "Soulville," "Nica's Dream," "Filthy McNasty," "The Jody Grind;" all those songs, every song on that album.$$Okay.$$Those are all Horace Silver lyrics and as a result of that album project, if you look at Horace's CDs [compact discs] that came after, he wrote lyrics on many of the songs and put them in the, the CD sleeves. So, I'm very proud that I initiated that.$$We are all grateful.$$Well, I wanted to at that time give singers other material to choose from other than the 'American Songbooks' ['Great American Songbook'] and I wanted him to be able to reap the rewards while he was alive.$Now you were married to Cecil Bridgewater for two years?$$Four and a half.$$Four and a half, okay, so, you're still married when you produce 'Afro Blue' and--$$Yes.$$Okay.$$He did that horrible contract, Cecil is a horrible negotiator for a contract.$$So you didn't (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) He gave our rights away.$$Oh.$$For four thousand dollars, we were paid four thousand dollars for that, and that's it.$$So, now at some point here, as we approach 1975, now you appeared on a Norman Connors album 'Love from the Sun'?$$Um-hm.$$On Buddah Records and at some point, you auditioned for--$$'The Wiz.'$$The Broadway production of 'The Wiz,' right.$$I auditioned for 'The Wiz'--let me get this straight 'cause we started the rehearsals in '74 [1974]. So, it was like I did a--I just went to a cattle call audition in '73 [1973], seems like it was in the summer of '73 [1973] and I got a call back and I went back and I just sang. I don't remember what I sang but it was certainly jazz. Then the band, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis [The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra] had a tour, a summer tour and we were going to Europe and I remember we came back in August. So, this is like two months later or something and we come back and I get a call to come and audition again, and I'm like, this is weird, for the director and the director is Gilbert Moses. So, I go and, and I, I audition and then the, he called he said he wants to see me and he wants to spend some time with me. So, I go for my fourth audition and that audition he made me do some improvisational stuff. He made me run around this rehearsal room with my arms dangling and shouting at the top of my voice so I could get relaxed and I could--I don't know, release or whatever that thing was.$$This is Free Southern Theater style (unclear) (laughter).$$Gilbert was a genius, Gilbert was a--he really was a genius but he had demons. He had really, really, really, really major demons but I didn't know that at the time, and he did this thing called transformation where we had to improvise like a scene and I had to like create dialogue and he'd throw dialogue at me and then he'd go, "Transformation," and then I had to become another character, doing something else. That was a fun--that was fun. Gilbert was a great, great actor's director. He really, really was. So, after that audition he gave me the role of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South which was a very big role when I first got it. During the tryouts, I don't know, maybe because I was so slender and I had you know, I was so well endowed upstairs, every straight man involved in that show hit on me and I'm married to Cecil. I'm trying to get a divorce from Cecil, he won't give me a divorce. I've already tried to embarrass him by having an affair with a trumpet player, 'cause I just love my trumpets, and I started having an affair with, with Gilbert while we're doing the tryouts. Then the man who was behind 20th Century Fox [Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation] who was a liaison who had given some of the funding to Ken Harper [Kenneth Harper], the producer, decided that he wanted me to be his mistress and he would send notes. He'd come to see the show periodically and he would send notes to me by the ushers and that he wanted to meet me and so I'd go out and I'd be polite, and you know go out in my robe and my makeup half done you know, for the show and he'd be sitting in the theater and you know and he was like you know, I, I--he was very straightforward. "I want you to be my mistress," but I was like, "I'm sorry, I'm with someone and I don't do that, and you're married. I'm sorry. I'm flattered," you know, I tried everything I could think of. "So flattered, but oh, I, I, oh, no that's too scary." So, he came to Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] and this is just before--I think this is about a month, 'cause were out six weeks, I mean six weeks, we were out six months because then we did tryouts you know where they would fix everything before you got to Broadway, and I think we were about a month out from coming back into New York [New York] and it was in Philadelphia and he came and he sent Nasha [ph.] back and so I come out and he says, "You will be my mistress," and I said, "I'm sorry, if you were the last man on this earth, I would not sleep with you. I'm in a relationship, I am not going to do it." And the next day Gilbert was fired.

Marilyn McCoo

Singer and actress Marilyn McCoo was born on September 30, 1943 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her parents, Mary and Waymon McCoo, were both doctors and moved the family to Los Angeles, California when McCoo was seven years old. She graduated from Dorsey High School and went on to attend the University of California-Los Angeles, where she received her B.S. degree in business administration.

In 1962, McCoo entered the Miss Bronze California beauty pageant where she won the Grand Talent award and met Lamonte McLemore, who asked her to join his singing group, the Hi-Fi’s. She went on to perform with Ray Charles and record the single "Lonesome Mood." The Hi-Fi’s disbanded in 1965, and that same year McCoo, McLemore, Florence LaRue, Ron Townson, and Billy Davis, Jr. formed The Versatiles. The group signed to the Soul City label, changed their name to The 5th Dimension, and recorded their first hit in 1966, "Go Where You Wanna Go." In 1967, they released “Up, Up, and Away,” which won four Grammy Awards and was the title track to the 5th Dimension's first hit album. In 1969, The 5th Dimension released The Age of Aquarius. The album's first single, "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In," became a mega-hit and occupied the number one spot on the charts for six weeks. It earned the group two more Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year.

In 1969, McCoo married bandmate Billy Davis, Jr., and in 1975, they left The 5th Dimension. Together, they released 1976's I Hope We Get To Love In Time, featuring the single, "You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)." The song went straight to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned the duo a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus. McCoo and Davis went on to host The Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. Show on CBS in 1977. In the 1980s McCoo hosted the music countdown show Solid Gold. She also had a recurring spot on the soap opera Days of Our Lives in the 1980s, and acted in a number of movies. She appeared on stage in productions of Anything Goes, A...My Name is Alice, Man of La Mancha, and the Broadway production of Show Boat.

McCoo released a solo album, Solid Gold, in 1983, and then a gospel album in 1991 entitled The Me Nobody Knows; its title single went to number one on the gospel charts. She received another Grammy Award the following year for participating as a guest artist on Quincy Jones’ Handel’s Messiah: A Soulful Celebration, which won Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. In 2004, McCoo and Davis co-authored the book Up, Up and Away…How We Found Love, Faith and Lasting Marriage in the Entertainment World.

McCoo has also earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and The 5th Dimension was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002. She has received two honorary doctorate degrees and served on the boards of the Children's Miracle Network, the Los Angeles Mission, and the Cancer Research Foundation.

Marilyn McCoo was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 29, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.178

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/29/2014

Last Name

McCoo

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

University of California, Los Angeles

Talladega College

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Arlington Heights Elementary School

Los Angeles High School

Susan Miller Dorsey High School

First Name

Marilyn

Birth City, State, Country

Jersey City

HM ID

MCC18

State

New Jersey

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/30/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Short Description

Singer and actress Marilyn McCoo (1943 - ) is an eight-time Grammy Award-winning singer and an original member of The 5th Dimension. She has also hosted television shows, appeared on Broadway, and acted in a number of movies. McCoo is co-author, with her husband Billy Davis, Jr., of Up, Up and Away…How We Found Love, Faith and Lasting Marriage in the Entertainment World.

Employment

Joseph Magnin

Westminster Neighborhood Association

The 5th Dimension

McCoo & Davis, Inc.

Timing Pairs
0,0:3299,53:5483,94:6120,102:10924,123:26553,353:30490,420:32590,428:32940,434:33500,443:34690,466:36090,502:36440,508:36720,517:37630,530:38050,538:41970,627:47430,655:49183,670:49822,686:51810,723:54224,767:54508,772:57658,801:58154,817:58774,837:60572,868:61006,876:66222,911:66666,920:69245,950:69623,959:70883,984:77750,1179:79199,1231:79640,1239:80018,1247:80333,1253:82160,1294:88118,1313:88610,1321:89266,1337:92710,1476:93448,1486:99290,1588:99650,1593:100280,1602:101090,1615:102170,1649:102800,1657:103250,1663:129671,2050:130252,2058:130667,2064:131829,2098:135896,2171:136394,2180:137058,2191:140808,2205:146733,2342:147049,2347:147365,2352:153448,2476:153764,2481:154238,2489:159980,2516:160330,2524:161100,2541:161450,2548:161730,2553:162570,2579:162920,2585:163340,2593:163970,2604:165230,2625:166280,2650:166700,2657:167540,2669:168170,2681:170130,2721:170620,2729:173998,2751:174818,2764:175474,2774:175884,2780:176212,2785:176704,2795:177032,2800:180696,2834:181950,2859:187109,2910:189090,2920:190533,2938:194117,2963:194651,2971:195185,2978:197160,3007$0,0:13100,202:17020,280:17820,296:19260,322:24090,344:24455,350:25915,376:26207,381:26572,387:28251,409:28908,419:29200,425:29565,432:30149,438:33580,496:36427,561:36792,567:37449,577:42508,686:44770,718:49918,801:51244,844:52648,881:57299,910:60352,979:62553,1044:68217,1121:73350,1272:73763,1284:79304,1306:79794,1314:80676,1327:82310,1333:82578,1338:86933,1425:91382,1471:91678,1476:92566,1494:93306,1512:94120,1524:98338,1602:102393,1639:102711,1648:102976,1655:103559,1668:104330,1674
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marilyn McCoo's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marilyn McCoo lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her mother's upbringing and education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marilyn McCoo describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marily McCoo talks about her father's career as a singer

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marily McCoo describes how her parents met and their move to Columbus, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her family's civil rights activism

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marily McCoo describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Marily McCoo talks about her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Marily McCoo describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Marily McCoo describes her early childhood education

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her childhood in Columbus, Georgia and her family's move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marilyn McCoo describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marilyn McCoo describes her early interest in show business

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marilyn McCoo describes the role of religion in her upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marilyn McCoo talks about the importance of music in her family.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her early education and her parents' influence on her career path

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marilyn McCoo describes her early musical education and her mentor Eddie Beal

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marilyn McCoo describes the music she listened to and how it influenced her

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marilyn McCoo shares her experience in high school activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marilyn McCoo describes singing with her sisters as a youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her early career goals and her decision to attend college

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her private vocal lessons with Florence Russell during her college years

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marilyn McCoo talks about competing in Miss Bronze California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marilyn McCoo talks about meeting HistoryMaker Lamonte McLemore and joining the Hi-Fi's.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marilyn McCoo talks about performing with the Hi-Fi's and her mother's reaction.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her centerfold in Jet magazine

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her friend, actress Vonetta McGee

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Marilyn McCoo talks about working with Ray Charles through the Hi-Fi's

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Marilyn McCoo describes her experience as a woman in the entertainment world

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Marilyn McCoo talks about the music she performed with the Hi-Fi's and Ray Charles

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Marilyn McCoo talks about returning to school to study business administration

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Marilyn McCoo talks about earning money on the road with the Hi-Fi's

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her decision to leave the Hi-Fi's

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marilyn McCoo talks about her career goals after leaving the Hi-Fi's

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$2

DAStory

9$3

DATitle
Marilyn McCoo talks about working with Ray Charles through the Hi-Fi's
Marilyn McCoo describes her early interest in show business
Transcript
So anyway, back to--so the Hi-Fi's are--well, you're still a minor with the Hi-Fi's, and at a certain point Hi-Fi's, they, they mu--they, they're still together until what, '65 [1965], '64 [1964] or '65 [1965]?$$Right, yeah, we stayed-- sa Okay.$$--together until the end of sixty-four [1964].$$And what--$$Yeah.$$Now you had Ray Charles--$$How did Ray Charles--$$Yeah, how did--$$--come into the picture?$$Yeah, yeah.$$Well, I don't remember exactly how we met Ray Charles. And [HM] Lamonte McLemore might have had something to with it because Lamonte was always trying to hook up the group with somebody. But Ray heard the group, and he liked what he heard. And he decided that he wanted to record us, and he did. He recorded us on his label, and we recorded a song called 'Lonesome Mood' and a couple of other things. And it was also during that time--so, Ray started managing the group. And now I was still in school, and Fritz Baskett was still in school, but he guys were ready to go out and work. You know, they wanted to go out on the road, so they went to Ray and said hey, why don't you take us out on the road? You know, you're managing us, and, and we're not doing anything, and you're out on the road. So Ray decided that he would take us out, and we ended up opening the show for him.$$Now this is really, this is like your father [Wayman McCoo] singing with Fletch Henderson [Fletcher Henderson].$$Yeah, well, it was, it was amay--$$Your--$$--it was a wonderful opportunity.$$Ray Charles--$$As a matter of fact, I dropped out of school for a semester to go out on tour with Ray Charles. My mother [Mary Ellen McCoo] was not pleased about this at all. So, and I was not twenty-one yet. And I'm, I'm forgetting Joe, Joe--what's Joe's last name?$$(OFF-CAMERA MALE VOICE): (Unclear)--$$Thank you, baby, okay.$$What, what was it?$$I'm just, I'm--now, my mother was not--$$What's his last name? What was Joe's last name?$$I'm gonna give it to.$$Okay, all right.$$I'm gonna give it to you in--$$Okay.$$So now, my mother was not excited about this at all.$$Okay.$$And I wasn't twenty one yet. But Joe Adams, who was managing Ray Charles now at this time, he came to my mother and he talked to her. And, and you know, he said you know your daughter wants to go out, and the group is gonna go out. And, and we'll, we'll take good care of her (laughter). And my mother didn't believe that at all. As a matter of fact, she told Lamonte, she said you all make sure my daughter is okay. And she made me promise her that when I came back home that I would go right back to school and finish and graduate, because I only had about twenty seven units left at the time that I dropped out. And it was an amazing experience for me. I really got a chance to learn what goes out, what goes on out on the road. I got a chance to sit out in the audience and watch Ray Charles perform. He was so amazing. What a brilliant, brilliant artist. And I really, really enjoyed those three months.$$$I read that you always interested in, been interested in show business. So when did this first manifest itself? Well, I guess always. I, I don't know. I mean, do you have any stories about when you first started thinking about yourself as being an entertainer at some point?$$Well, you know, when I was growing up, my father [Wayman McCoo] would come home sometimes with, with vocal arrangements, usually something from, from a book, because daddy at one time taught, taught choir at, at his church. He would come in with a vocal arrangement, and he would start assigning parts. And my mother [Mary Ellen Holloway McCoo] would sing her part; and my sister, Glenda, would sing her part; and then they'd give me a part to sing, and then we'd all four sing in harmony. And I loved it; I loved the sound of harmony. And we'd get around the piano, and daddy would plunk out the parts and, and play the, you know, play the chords. And I just loved that they included me in it because I was thinking I'm just one. And then they would marvel because I could, I could hold my note. And they'd say well, listen to her. She's holding her note. And I would think, well, of course I'm holding my note. That's what you told me to sing (laughter). It never occurred to me that it was unusual.$$Okay.$$So I just, I just enjoyed music from very on. And then my, my, my parents made sure that we studied piano lessons, that we took piano lessons. All four of us did. And they just wanted us to have, you know, a familiarity with, with music. My mother had studied violin when she was in, when she was growing up, and so they wanted us to have, to have a knowledge of music.

Nichelle Nichols

Actress Nichelle Nichols was born on December 28, 1932 in Robbins, Illinois near Chicago. Her father, Samuel Earl Nichols, was a factory worker who also served as the mayor of Robbins and as its chief magistrate. Her mother, Lishia Mae (Parks) Nichols, was a homemaker. As a child, Nichols’ family moved to Chicago where she studied dance at the Chicago Ballet.

During the late 1940s, Nichols was discovered by jazz legend Duke Ellington and toured with both Ellington and Lionel Hampton as a lead singer and dancer. Her acting career began in the film Porgy and Bess (1959); and her first television role was on “The Lieutenant” (1964). Nichols went on to record two albums, including “Down to Earth” (1968), and “Out of This World” (1991).

In 1966, Nichols was cast as Lieutenant Commander Uhura in Star Trek, which marked one of the first times that an African American actress was portrayed a non-stereotypical role on television. Nichols went on to appear as Uhura numerous times in the Star Trek movie and television series, including Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), , Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Paramount (1989), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). She was also cast as Ruana in two Tarzan films: Tarzan’s Jungle Rebellion (1967) and Tarzan’s Deadly Silence (1970).

In 1975, Nichols established Women in Motion, Inc., a company that produced educational materials using music as a teaching tool and was expanded to become an astronaut recruitment tool after Nichols won a grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This resulted in thousands of women and minorities applying to NASA’s space program, such as Sally Ride, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, and Ellison Onizuka. In addition to her autobiography Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories (1994), Nichols is co-author of Saturn’s Child (1995), and a contributor to publications of the National Space Institute.

In October of 1984, Nichols was presented with NASA’s Public Service Award for her many efforts towards integrating the U.S. space program. She was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992, and became the first African American actress to place her handprints in front of Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, along with the rest of the Star Trek cast. Nichols was elected as an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; and, on June 8, 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Los Angeles Mission College.

Nichelle Nichols was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.343

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/17/2013

Last Name

Nichols

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Englewood High School

Betsy Ross Elementary School

First Name

Nichelle

Birth City, State, Country

Robbins

HM ID

NIC04

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Illinois

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/28/1932

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Actress Nichelle Nichols (1932 - ) was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her role as Lieutenant Commander Uhura in the original Star Trek television series and movie franchise.

Employment

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

Paramount Pictures, Inc.

Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Nichelle Nichols' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her home in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Nichelle Nichols lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Nichelle Nichols describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Nichelle Nichols describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Nichelle Nichols talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Nichelle Nichols describes her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Nichelle Nichols lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her sisters' acting skills

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Nichelle Nichols remembers her neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Nichelle Nichols remembers her neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Nichelle Nichols recalls Betsy Ross Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Nichelle Nichols describes her experiences at Betsy Ross Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her early appreciation for the arts

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Nichelle Nichols remembers her scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her early dance training

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Nichelle Nichols recalls developing an interest in tap dance

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Nichelle Nichols remembers combining ballet and tap dance techniques

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her training under Carmencita Romero

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Nichelle Nichols remembers completing high school while dancing professionally

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Nichelle Nichols recalls dancing at the Sherman House Hotel in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Nichelle Nichols remembers segregation in downtown Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her parents' support for her aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Nichelle Nichols recalls dancing at a resort in Hawaii

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Nichelle Nichols remembers her decision to focus on singing

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her singing career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Nichelle Nichols remembers her marriage to Foster Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Nichelle Nichols recalls the birth of her son

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Nichelle Nichols remembers developing her acting talent

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Nichelle Nichols recalls singing in the chorus of 'Porgy and Bess'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Nichelle Nichols recalls her appearance in 'Kicks and Company'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Nichelle Nichols remembers her role on 'The Lieutenant,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Nichelle Nichols remembers her role on 'The Lieutenant,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Nichelle Nichols remembers working with James Baldwin

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her role in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Nichelle Nichols recalls being offered a part on 'Star Trek'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Nichelle Nichols remembers creating the role of Uhura

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Nichelle Nichols recalls working with Leonard Nimoy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Nichelle Nichols talks about Gene Roddenberry's commitment to diverse casting

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Nichelle Nichols recalls the casting of William Shatner and DeForest Kelley on 'Star Trek'

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Nichelle Nichols remembers the pranks on the set of 'Star Trek'

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Nichelle Nichols recalls the challenges during the first season of 'Star Trek'

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Nichelle Nichols describes meeting the network producers of 'Star Trek'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Nichelle Nichols talks about the appeal of 'Star Trek'

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Nichelle Nichols recalls the minority guest appearances on 'Star Trek'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Nichelle Nichols talks about the racial commentary in 'Star Trek'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Nichelle Nichols talks about the representation of women on 'Star Trek'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Nichelle Nichols recalls her experiences of discrimination on the set of 'Star Trek,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Nichelle Nichols recalls her experiences of discrimination on the set of 'Star Trek,' pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Nichelle Nichols remembers filming the first interracial kiss on television

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Nichelle Nichols recalls her decision to continue acting on 'Star Trek'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Nichelle Nichols remembers the cancellation of 'Star Trek'

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Nichelle Nichols recalls the syndication of 'Star Trek'

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Nichelle Nichols talks about the 'Star Trek' animated series

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Nichelle Nichols describes her film work after the original 'Star Trek' series

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Nichelle Nichols talks about the Trekkie phenomenon

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Nichelle Nichols recalls the growth of the 'Star Trek' franchise

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Nichelle Nichols remembers writing her autobiography

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Nichelle Nichols describes her efforts to recruit black women as astronauts

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Nichelle Nichols talks about the Kwanza Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Nichelle Nichols describes the aims of the Kwanza Foundation

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her hopes for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Nichelle Nichols reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Nichelle Nichols reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Nichelle Nichols talks about her family

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Nichelle Nichols describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

5$5

DATitle
Nichelle Nichols recalls dancing at the Sherman House Hotel in Chicago, Illinois
Nichelle Nichols remembers creating the role of Uhura
Transcript
It became--and, and, and Carmencita [Carmencita Romero], oh took us downtown and, and she called my mother, I guess this is so--I was fourteen now and I came and I'm walking home from high school [Englewood High School, Chicago, Illinois] with my books you know, and my mother's knocking on the window, "Come in here." And, "What?" And she said, "You need to get downtown, Carmencita Romero at the, at the, at the hotel [Sherman House, Chicago, Illinois] and, and she wants you down there, and she said, 'Ms. Nichols [Lishia Parks Nichols] have her look grown, not just those'--." Well my oldest sister [Marian Nichols Michaels] had just given me, we wore the same size shoe and she had just given me my first heels but I couldn't wear them. My, my mother said they'll have to be saved 'til you're old enough right? And I'm fourteen and, and mother, and I'm getting ready to leave and I'm looking as old as I can and you know sophisticated as I can, and mother brings out these heels and said, "Try them on," and they worked perfectly with my--and Carmencita had said, "Get her down here to the hotel immediately," because--from school, and I was, you can't imagine my first pair of heels and I got on the, the elevated line ["L"], which went down to subway and went to the hotel and I walked in with this beautiful suit that my sister, older sister, one of my older sisters had given me and these high heels that the other one had given me and the gloves and my hair was long so, but it was always worn in school in braids and you know like that, and my other--combed it down for me and I walked in there and Carmencita and, and the Ernie Byfield and, and everybody was up on the stage and, and I'm going gulp, and I straightened my shoulders and I walked up, and the stage is not like that, it's like that, and I walked up on it and they're sitting in chairs on, talking on the stage and because she doesn't have to audition, she already, he already knows how, how great she is and so I go up there and I don't--it doesn't occur to me that there's steps on, over either side, so I go up (laughter) and I and I, and I put my hand out, Ernie Byfield goes--Carmencita was, everything she could do to keep from a--keep a straight face and I, I was a really accomplished dancer at that time and I just raised up and sat on the stage and, "Thank you, sir," and (laughter) talking to the owner of half of downtown Chicago [Illinois] and, and that was it. He said if she's with the, with the--and Carmencita was the lead and, and, and Carmencita [sic. Ernie Byfield] said, "Now if you could just find me someone to match you," and I had, and she had two big guys, magnificent dancers with magnificent bodies and that was Carmencita Romero and her dancers, and her dancers were, and that was my first professional job, and of course I had to have my mother or father [Samuel Nichols, Sr.] or both come to the--to take me down--so after school, and I had to keep whatever grade that I had in school, I had to maintain it. Well I happened to have an A. I been working so hard towards that A and I've got an A and I've gotta maintain an A and, which is the highest score, you know; and, and I did because I was--anything to work, to be able to work at that wonderful profess- as a professional.$I often wondered how--who named your character, Uhura?$$ Who named what?$$Your character in 'Star Trek,' Uhura, who named--$$ Guess who?$$I would guess you, but I'm not sure.$$ Of course. That was one of those lunches (laughter). That was one of those lunches and, and he says (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Where does the name--$$--but I want her to be different. I don't want her to be ordinary and, and I said, "Well, she can be from, from--her parents can be from South Africa," right? And so he said he liked that. And, and that, that keeps her in two places you know as an American black and as the parents that have that history.$$Yeah, so the African root and--$$ The African roots yes, and everything and yet she's very American, you know. And, and, oh you're bringing up stuff that I'd forgotten; and Gene was very excited about it and he had--oh my god, he's an incredible man, Gene Roddenberry, and he took me to lunch and we talked about, and it was early, too early for lunch. It was about ten o'clock instead of the noon time that, and it was right around the corner from where we're working and, and he would pick my brain, that I found out later, that's what he was doing you know. I mean he was so obvious about it you know. He wanted me to know and, and we were a great team together. We were a great team together.$$So you, what you're saying here is that you know-- not only played the role of Uhura--$$ Um-hm.$$--you developed the role of Uhura.$$ Oh yes and, and I, I told him who her parents came from and how she got that name and, and the whole thing. He let me--when it came to that character he let me, he gave me full, full range. He gave me full range. It was just amazing and of course I was so excited you know. I'm just (makes sounds) and, "Guess what else I am thinking?" And he used just about everything, and I was just so excited and he says, "And guess who's gonna play her?" And I said, "Well it better be me" (laughter), but at first to tell you the truth, I wasn't thinking, I wasn't thinking as I was working then, yeah.

Jasmine Guy

Actress and entertainer Jasmine Guy was born on March 10, 1964, in Boston, Massachusetts to William Guy and Jaye Rudolph. Her mother is a former high school teacher, and her father, the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church of Atlanta. Guy was raised in the Collier Heights neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia where she attended the former Northside Performing Arts School (now North Atlanta High School). After graduating from high school, Guy was awarded a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey Dance Center in New York. She practiced performing arts at Ailey Center for several years, which prepared her for roles in musicals and television shows.

Guy landed a starring role as Whitley Gilbert in the television show A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show, which ran on TV for six years. This is her best-known role. Guy received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Award every year that A Different World was on the air. One year after she began acting in A Different World, Guy was cast in her first film role in Spike Lee’s School Daze. In 1989, Guy co-starred with Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor in the film Harlem Nights and went on to have roles in numerous films, televisions shows, and stage productions. She released a self-titled R&B album in 1990, which reached number thirty-eight on the R&B charts.

Guy has been active in projects that promote and preserve African American history and culture, including the miniseries rendition of Alex Haley’s Queen, the film recording of the 1930s WPA ex-slave narratives, entitled Unchained Memories: Slave Narratives, and the film version of activist-historian Howard Zinn’s, “A People’s History of the United States”, entitled The People Speak. Guy also wrote the autobiography of Afeni Shakur, mother hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur, entitled, “Afeni Shakur: The Evolution of a Revolutionary”. Guy also won several awards for her work. From 1990 to 1995, Guy was nominated for and won six consecutive NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Guy lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jasmine Guy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 10, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.244

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/10/2012 |and| 10/2/2016

12/10/2012

10/2/2016

Last Name

Guy

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

North Atlanta High School

M. Agnes Jones Elementary

Sutton Middle Schol

First Name

Jasmine

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

GUY04

Favorite Season

Fall, Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Come On!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/10/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chowder, Barbecue, Fried Chicken, Sardines, Portuguese Food

Short Description

Actress Jasmine Guy (1964 - ) is best known for her starring role as Whitley Gilbert in the popular television sitcom A Different World.

Employment

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Viacom Productions

Columbia Pictures

Paramount Pictures, Inc.

Warner Brothers

Various

Simon & Schuster

True Colors Theatre Company

Alliance Theatre Company

Favorite Color

Black, Burgundy, Cream

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jasmine Guy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jasmine Guy lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jasmine Guy describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jasmine Guy talks about her mother's upbringing

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jasmine Guy describes her father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jasmine Guy talks about how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jasmine Guy describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jasmine Guy describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jasmine Guy remembers her early interest in mimicking accents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jasmine Guy reflects upon her interest in character acting

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jasmine Guy remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jasmine Guy describes her school in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jasmine Guy talks about the black community in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jasmine Guy recalls her aspiration to become a professional dancer

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jasmine Guy recalls her introduction to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jasmine Guy remembers attending The Ailey School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jasmine Guy describes her training at the Northside School of Performing Arts in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jasmine Guy remembers performing in her first musical

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jasmine Guy talks about her social life during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jasmine Guy talks about her favorite music and graduating from high school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jasmine Guy remembers joining the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jasmine Guy recalls her decision to join the cast of 'Fame'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jasmine Guy remembers leaving the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jasmine Guy talks about her decision to move to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jasmine Guy remembers her role in Spike Lee's 'School Daze'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jasmine Guy talks about her experiences of color discrimination within the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jasmine Guy talks about her roles in 'School Daze' and 'A Different World'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jasmine Guy remembers filming 'School Daze,' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jasmine Guy remembers filming 'School Daze,' pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jasmine Guy recalls auditioning for 'A Different World'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jasmine Guy talks about 'A Different World'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jasmine Guy talks about the character of Whitley Gilbert

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jasmine Guy remembers meeting Denzel Washington on the set of 'A Different World'

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jasmine Guy remembers the controversial episodes of 'A Different World'

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jasmine Guy talks about her role in 'Harlem Nights'

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jasmine Guy remembers Tupac Shakur

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jasmine Guy remembers Afeni Shakur, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jasmine Guy remembers the death of Tupac Shakur

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jasmine Guy remembers Afeni Shakur, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jasmine Guy talks about her book, 'Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary,' pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jasmine Guy talks about her book, 'Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary,' pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jasmine Guy describes Afeni Shakur's family background

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jasmine Guy talks about her writing process

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jasmine Guy remembers balancing her writing and acting careers

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jasmine Guy recalls the attacks of September 11, 2001

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jasmine Guy talk about her favorite acting roles

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jasmine Guy remembers the rehearsals for 'School Daze'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jasmine Guy talks about racial discrimination in the entertainment business

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jasmine Guy talks about her work as a theater director

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jasmine Guy talks about the differences between stage acting and screen acting

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Jasmine Guy remembers directing the opera, 'I Dream'

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Jasmine Guy describes the music in 'I Dream'

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Jasmine Guy talks about her film roles

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Jasmine Guy talks about her role in 'Big Stone Gap'

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Jasmine Guy talks about her recent television appearances

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Jasmine Guy reflects upon her acting style

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Jasmine Guy talks about her singing career

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Jasmine Guy talks about the entertainment industry in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Jasmine Guy describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Jasmine Guy reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Jasmine Guy describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

5$6

DAStory

1$6

DATitle
Jasmine Guy remembers filming 'School Daze,' pt. 1
Jasmine Guy talks about her book, 'Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary,' pt. 2
Transcript
Tell us about the production nu- numbers in 'School Daze.' Those are, those are some of the great, really--$$Yeah. They were, they were, I mean great movie productions. Otis Sallid was our choreographer. And, you know, Otis was from--I knew him from Ailey's [Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater]. He had done Broadway. And, you know, Spike [Spike Lee] really studied those MGM [Metro Goldwyn Mayer Inc.; Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios Inc.] musicals because he had to edit them a certain way, you know, for them to flow. He worked very closely with Otis. And, Otis also choreographed 'Malcolm X.' The--all that jitterbug series. So, when we went into rehearsal for "I Don't Wanna Be Alone Tonight" ["Be Alone Tonight"] really young, Tisha [Tisha Campbell-Martin] is maybe seventeen. She's younger than I am. And, we're supposed to ooze sensuality. So, we got the steps early and we looked good. But, Otis spent so much time on bringing out our sensuality. And, at first it was so embarrassing. Like, how you gonna teach me how to, you know what I mean. And, it was something that, you know, I don't think we knew yet. We just didn't know it yet; what he was talking about, and how to emulate that, which didn't have anything to do with the steps; the music or the choreography. You're talking about an approach. You're talking about a motivation as an actor. Once you, once you access a certain emotional key then you don't worry about making a face or ooh, ooh. You just feel it and those things naturally happened when you have certain thoughts in your head. So, acting wise, "I Don't Wanna Be Alone Tonight" I think was a little challenging. And, as I said before, he let us add our little steps and our choreography in there because, I think by then, we realized that cameras were only gonna get you when the camera was on you. As opposed to being on Broadway where you can see everybody at the same time. So, we tried to get in on Tisha's shots whenever we could. So, that it wouldn't be, you know, Tisha and the three backup singers and they end up splicing a lot of our choreography out of it. So, that's why you see us, you know, traveling and doing things around her and breaking out as a rose, you know. It's like, "Otis I have a good idea, what if we stand behind Tisha and you can't see us and then we, you know." "Yeah, that's good, let's try that," so. I think ultimately it did make it very interesting, but you know, I do give Otis all that credit for letting us have our little input, you know. And, Tisha sharing the stage with us. But, that was my big lesson in that number; accessing your sensuality. And, then for "Good and Bad Hair." I mean, first of all we had musical rehearsal to learn that song for days with Spike Lee's father [Bill Lee]. And, I remember staying on cocka-bugs for about ten minutes 'cause we didn't know what a cocka-bugs was. And, he wanted to say it like a cocka-bugs, cocka-bugs, and we were like, like Coke--cocka-bugs. (Imitates accent), "No, cocka-bugs, cocka-bug." And, now I know what they are. They're those little our spiky seeds, I guess, that fall from pine trees.$$That stick in your--$$Yeah, that stick to you. And, our line was (singing), "Where you got cocka-bugs standing all over your head." I mean, every line that we learned, it's not like learning a pretty song. Every line is so derogatory and, and vice versa, you know, back at 'cha kind of thing. But, when we did it and we were in each other's face all day, I think we had fun on "Good and Bad Hair" 'cause by that time, we had gone through the worst filming day, which was the day of the big fight. And, it was the step show. Gammas [Gamma Rays] come on and the fellas bust in and do their own kind of mocking step of what the fellas believe. And, at the end of it, and we didn't know what they gonna do. They made up their own thing; the real actors. They unzipped their pants and hot dogs came out of it, in our, our faces. But, we didn't know that was gonna happen. It was not scripted. It was so profoundly offensive that one of the actors actually hit another actor, or grabbed him. And, a real fight ensued. And, Spike had it on film. The tension was so high because all day we had been going back and forth with the wannabes and the Gammas against the jigaboos. And, it was improv and people were saying horrible and nasty things. And, they were saying, you know, you're, "You're just an ape in the zoo." And you're just a, "You don't know you're black and you're a white--." I mean, and I couldn't improvise anything. I could say the lines that were scripted but I, you know. And, I felt like maybe I'm not a good actor 'cause I can't do this. I can't go there. I can go there, if you tell me what I'm supposed to say, but you know. And, then at the end we started, when we went to the parking lot to get on the bus, we started crying. 'Cause a lot of my friends were on the other side, and it was just very hard for us to do that with that kind of intensity.$Then my, and then my issue was, you know, how do I organize this so that the reader can, can flow, you know? So, I wrapped it around the times I would see her. Because I, you know, I lived in New York [New York]. I had an apartment in New York and a, and a house in L.A. [Los Angeles, California] But, I didn't always, we weren't always in the same city. So, some times those conversations were in New York. Sometimes they were in Marin County [California] where she lived and had house boat. Sometimes those conversations were in Atlanta [Georgia] where she lived in Stone Mountain. So, I tried to wrap around where we were in our real lives and what was going on. I think the greatest compliment that I have from people about the book ['Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary,' Jasmine Guy] is that it just sounds like me. Like it just, my, my friends that know me say, you know, "I just felt like it was just you talking. Like, it didn't feel like you were writing." And, that to me was the greatest compliment because I wanted it acceptable, you know. But, during the course of writing the book, I would sidetrack. Like she would mention something to me, and I didn't wanna stop her, her flow. But, sometimes I didn't know what she was talking about. Like, what was that, bembe? I think it was bembe. They were the drummers that would be in Central Park [New York, New York].$$Djembe, yeah, djembe.$$Well, the djembe, but it began with a B.$$Oh, okay.$$And, I don't, I, you know, but I didn't wanna stop her.$$Was that the name of the group that--?$$Yeah. And, then, another time she said her husband's father was a Garveyite. And, I didn't know what that was but I didn't wanna stop her. So, I go back and do research about Garveyites, which of course are from--followers of Marcus Garvey which--also, Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam and the Panthers [Black Panther Party]. So, now I'm starting to see this.$$See the lineage of all the groups--$$The lineage, yes, of these three ways of thinking; Du Bois [W.E.B. Du Bois], Garvey, and Wash- and Booker T. Washington. You know, 'cause people think all black people think the same way, but it depends. And, it depends on class and culture and, you know, I just saw a documentary about the Panthers and it feature Stoke- Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture] and how bright he was, and how brilliant he was. And, you know, what, what his friends were saying is that they missed that you don't see his personality in the footage. It's always him, you know, speaking in a public way. But, you didn't get to see how funny he was, how witty he was, how easy he was to be with, you what I mean. And, I wanted to, to make sure I gave Afeni [Afeni Shakur] that flavor that, you know, when I visited her home, and it was her first home, it was the first home that she owned and Tupac [Tupac Shakur] had bought it for her and, and they were in this area in Stone Mountain where the family was all near. And, she had this huge screened in back porch that overlooked woods and she was so happy. And, she talked to me about land and the importance of owning land. So, then when I got home, I started looking up landowners, black landowners and what happened. What happened to shar- why, why did we become sharecroppers? What happened during Reconstruction? So, all of that is just to say that, she would say something to me that I now have to ex- tell other people, so I had to do my research so I knew what I was talking about. I couldn't just throw, you know, he was a Garveyite in there and not know what a Garveyite was, and what that meant for that time of that generation.

Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt was an international star who gave new meaning to the word versatile. She distinguished herself in film, theater, cabaret, music, and on television. Kitt was one of only a handful of performers to be nominated for a Tony (three times), a Grammy (twice), and an Emmy Award (twice). She enthralled New York nightclub audiences during her extended stays at the Café Carlyle. These intimate performances have been captured in, Eartha Kitt, Live at The Carlyle.

Eartha Mae Kitt was born on January 17, 1927. She was ostracized at an early age because of her mixed-race heritage. At eight years old, Kitt was given away by her mother and sent from the South Carolina cotton fields to live with an aunt in Harlem. In New York, her distinct individuality and flair for show business manifested itself, and on a friend's dare, the shy teen auditioned for the famed Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe. She won a spot as a featured dancer and vocalist, and before the age of twenty, toured worldwide with the company. During a performance in Paris, Kitt was spotted by a nightclub owner and booked as a featured singer at his club. Her unique persona earned her fans and fame quickly, including Orson Welles. Welles was so taken with her talent that he cast her as “Helen of Troy” in his fabled production of Dr. Faust.

Back in New York, Kitt was booked at The Village Vanguard, and soon spotted by a Broadway producer who put her in New Faces of 1952, where every night she transfixed audiences with her sultry rendition of “Monotonous.” Her show stopping performance in New Faces of 1952, which ran for a year, led to a national tour and a Twentieth Century Fox film version.

Broadway stardom led to a recording contract and a succession of best-selling records including “Love for Sale,” “I Want to Be Evil,” “Santa Baby,” and “Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa,” which earned her a Grammy nomination. During this period, she published her first autobiography, Thursday’s Child. Kitt then returned to Broadway in the dramatic play Mrs. Patterson, and received her first Tony nomination. Other stage appearances followed, as did films including The Mark of the Hawk with Sidney Poitier, Anna Lucasta with Sammy Davis, Jr. and St. Louis Blues with Nat King Cole.

Singing in ten different languages, Kitt performed in over 100 countries and was honored with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. In 1966, she was nominated for a primetime Emmy Award for her role in the series, I SPY. In 1967, Kitt made an indelible mark on pop culture as the infamous “Catwoman” in the television series, Batman. She immediately became synonymous with the role and her trademark growl became imitated worldwide. In 1968, Kitt's career took a sudden turn when, at a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson, she spoke out against the Vietnam War. For years afterward, Kitt was blacklisted in the U.S. and was forced to work abroad where her status remained undiminished.

In 1974, Kitt returned to the United States with a triumphant Carnegie Hall concert, and in 1978, she received a second Tony nomination for her starring role in the musical, Timbuktu. Kitt's second autobiography, Alone with Me, was published in 1976, and I’m Still Here: Confessions of a Sex Kitten was released in 1989. Her best-selling book on fitness and positive attitude, REJUVENATE! (IT'S NEVER TOO LATE), was released by Scribner in May 2001.

Live theater was Kitt's passion. In 2001, Broadway critics singled her out with a Tony and Drama Desk nomination for her role as “Dolores” in George Wolfe's The Wild Party. Kitt has starred in National Tours of The Wizard of Oz and Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. In December 2003, Kitt dazzled Broadway audiences as “Liliane Le Fleur” in the revival of Nine, The Musical. In December 2004, she appeared as “The Fairy Godmother” in The New York City Opera production (Lincoln Center) of Cinderella. She also starred in the off-Broadway production of Mimi Le Duck (2006) and The Westport County Playhouse production of The Skin of our Teeth (2007).

Kitt's distinctive voice enthralled an entirely new generation of fans. Young fans loved her as “Yzma,” the villain, in Disney's animated feature The Emperor’s New Groove (2001 Annie Award for Best Vocal Performance /Animated Feature). Kitt was also featured in the sequel, The Emperor’s New Groove II, and reprised the role in the popular Saturday morning animated series The Emperor’s New School, for which she received a 2007 and 2008 Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program and a 2007 and 2008 Annie Award for Best Vocal Performance in an Animated Television Production.

On January 17, 2007, Kitt turned eighty years old and marked the occasion at Carnegie Hall with a celebratory concert, JVC Jazz Presents EARTHA KITT AND FRIENDS.

In February 2007, Kitt returned to London after a fifteen year absence for a remarkable series of sold-out performances at The Shaw Theater. She returned to Great Britain in 2008 to headline the prestigious Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

Kitt performed for the last time publicly for The HistoryMakers’ An Evening With Eartha Kitt. She passed away on December 25, 2008 at the age of 81. Kitt is survived by her daughter, Kitt Shapiro, and four grandchildren.

Kitt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 20, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.145

Sex

Female

Interview Date

9/20/2008

Last Name

Kitt

Middle Name

Mae

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Eartha

Birth City, State, Country

North

HM ID

KIT02

State

South Carolina

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/17/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Scarsdale

Country

USA

Death Date

12/25/2008

Short Description

Actress and singer Eartha Kitt (1927 - 2008 ) was an international star for over fifty years, from the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe to Broadway, film and television, where she played the infamous “Catwoman” in the series, 'Batman'. She was one of only a handful of performers to be nominated for a Tony (three times), a Grammy (twice), and an Emmy Award (twice).

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Funding for 'An Evening with Eartha Kitt'

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Introduction to 'An Evening with Eartha Kitt'

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eartha Kitt describes her childhood experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Film clip featuring Eartha Kitt's foray into theater

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eartha Kitt describes working with HistoryMaker Katherine Dunham

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eartha Kitt talks about her friendship with Ethel Waters

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eartha Kitt reflects upon her experiences traveling in Europe in the 1950s

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eartha Kitt recalls playing a prank on Sidney Poitier while they were filming 'The Mark of the Hawk' in Nigeria

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Eartha Kitt describes a racist incident she experienced when returning to the United States from her travels abroad

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Eartha Kitt talks about her work experiences in the United States after returning from her travels abroad

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Film clip of Eartha Kitt's recording and film career in the 1950s

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Eartha Kitt talks about her love life

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Eartha Kitt shares her perspective on race

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Eartha Kitt talks about her controversial visit to the White House in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Film clip of the evolution of Eartha Kitt's career following her exile from the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Eartha Kitt reflects upon her experiences as an African American actress

Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Eartha Kitt recalls an experience from the 'Ed Sullivan Show'

Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Eartha Kitt offers advice for young performers

Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Eartha Kitt performs 'Ain't Misbehavin'

Tape: 1 Story: 20 - Eartha Kitt performs 'La Vie En Rose'

Tape: 1 Story: 21 - Eartha Kitt performs 'Here's to Life'

Tape: 1 Story: 22 - Ending credits to 'An Evening with Eartha Kitt'

Tape: 1 Story: 23 - Funding for 'An Evening with Eartha Kitt'

Armelia McQueen

Actress Armelia McQueen was born on January 6, 1952 in Southern Pines, North Carolina to James and Kathleen McQueen. McQueen's parents divorced, and her mother married Robert Brown in New York. As a child, McQueen was raised in Brooklyn, New York where she performed in church plays. She attended P.S. 44 and P.S. 258 and graduated from New York City’s Central Commercial High School in 1969. Afterwards, McQueen briefly enrolled at the Fashion Industry School, where she majored in fashion design. In 1972, she attended the Herbert Berghoff Drama School.

McQueen’s acting career began when she was hired for a role in the production of, Hot & Cold Heroes. She was then hired in 1976 for the role of Tune Ann in the cult classic film Sparkle. Then, in 1978, she made her Broadway debut in the original production of, Ain’t Misbehavin’ ,appearing alongside Irene Cara, Ken Page and Nell Carter. She went on to win a Theatre World Award for Best Debut Performance and appeared in several Broadway productions, including Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Dance and Harrigan and Hart. She also appeared with the national touring companies of the following shows: South Pacific, Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair. During the 1980s, McQueen made several appearances in various films, made-for-television movies and sitcoms including Mr. Belvedere, Frank’s Place, Action Jackson and No Holds Barred.

Later in 1990, she was featured as Whoopi Goldberg’s on screen sister when she starred in the film Ghost. McQueen continued her work throughout the 1990s by appearing in episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Martin and Living Single. She was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Cable Ace Award for her role as Red Queen on the Disney Channel series, Adventures in Wonderland. Her other credits include Bulworth, All About the Andersons, JAG and That’s So Raven. McQueen currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Armelia McQueen was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 3, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.072

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/3/2008

Last Name

McQueen

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Central Commercial High School

P.S. 44 Marcus Garvey Elementary School

Nathaniel Macon Junior High School 258

Fashion Institute of Technology

Brooklyn Conservatory of Music

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Armelia

Birth City, State, Country

Southern Pines

HM ID

MCQ02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/6/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Macaroni, Cheese

Short Description

Actress Armelia McQueen (1952 - ) performed in Broadway musicals like 'Ain't Misbehavin,' 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' and 'Hair.' Her film and television credits included 'Sparkle,' 'Ghost,' and 'Living Single.'

Employment

Paramount Pictures, Inc.

Walt Disney Television

Nichol Moon Films

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Armelia McQueen's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Armelia McQueen lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Armelia McQueen describes her mother's family background and personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Armelia McQueen describes her stepfather's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Armelia McQueen talks about her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Armelia McQueen remembers her family's move to Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Armelia McQueen lists her siblings and relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Armelia McQueen describes her upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Armelia McQueen describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Armelia McQueen recalls her neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Armelia McQueen remembers her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Armelia McQueen remembers segregation in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Armelia McQueen describes her friends from childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Armelia McQueen remembers her dreams and aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Armelia McQueen describes her early interest in singing

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Armelia McQueen describes her introduction to acting

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Armelia McQueen remembers the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Armelia McQueen recalls the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Armelia McQueen remembers the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Armelia McQueen remembers her mother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Armelia McQueen describes her teacher, Earle Hyman

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Armelia McQueen remembers her early professional acting roles

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Armelia McQueen remembers touring with 'The Who's Tommy,' pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Armelia McQueen remembers touring with 'The Who's Tommy,' pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Armelia McQueen talks about the attitudes toward plus sized actresses

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Armelia McQueen remembers her acting roles in the early 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Armelia McQueen talks about supporting her family

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Armelia McQueen recalls travelling to Africa with the company of 'Hair'

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Armelia McQueen remembers her experiences in Africa

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Armelia McQueen reflects upon her travels in Africa

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Armelia McQueen describes the reviews of 'Hair' in Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Armelia McQueen describes her experiences as an actor in Africa

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Armelia McQueen remembers her return trip to the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Armelia McQueen remembers auditioning for 'Sparkle'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Armelia McQueen recalls her introduction to the Hollywood entertainment industry

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Armelia McQueen remembers filming 'Sparkle'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Armelia McQueen describes her career after 'Sparkle'

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Armelia McQueen remembers the cast of 'Guys and Dolls'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Armelia McQueen remembers auditioning for 'Ain't Misbehavin''

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Armelia McQueen remembers the cast of 'Ain't Misbehavin''

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Armelia McQueen talks about 'Ain't Misbehavin''

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Armelia McQueen describes the stars of 'Ain't Misbehavin',' pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Armelia McQueen remembers the production of 'Ain't Misbehavin''

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Armelia McQueen describes the characters in 'Ain't Misbehavin''

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Armelia McQueen recalls the reunion of the original cast of 'Ain't Misbehavin''

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Armelia McQueen recalls mounting 'Ain't Misbehavin'' in Paris, France

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Armelia McQueen recalls the black community's response to 'Ain't Misbehavin''

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Armelia McQueen describes her hopes for the black theater community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Armelia McQueen recalls moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Armelia McQueen describes the televised version of 'Ain't Misbehavin''

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Armelia McQueen talks about the changes in the entertainment industry

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Armelia McQueen describes her advice to aspiring entertainers, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Armelia McQueen describes her advice to aspiring entertainers, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Armelia McQueen describes her hopes for African American artists

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Armelia McQueen reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Armelia McQueen narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

6$1

DATitle
Armelia McQueen describes her career after 'Sparkle'
Armelia McQueen talks about 'Ain't Misbehavin''
Transcript
So the film, when you, when you were done shooting it wa- did you stay or did you return back to New York [New York]?$$No, I went back home after that. 'Cause we were getting ready for it to open and there was supposed to be a lot of publicity and fanfare and whatnot. And I was a supporting role so it wasn't any evidence if I would be the one going on the road. But then 'All the President's Men' came out and all the--and that they got our publicity money. So the publicity for 'Sparkle' was very small, you know, it got, got pushed, you know.$$You came back home after shooting the movie, now what did you do while you were waiting for this to be released?$$Well, I just tried to settle in and see what else I could get into, you know. That was just such a high, you know, shooting a film. And then I g- I went back to theater and, and then I went to do--is that '74 [1974], '75 [1975] the film came out. Just, you know, doing theater, you know.$$Anything of note that you'd like to mention during that time period after 'Sparkle'?$$No, 'cause I didn't do--I did 'On Toby Time' [Harley Hackett], which was gonna be pre-Broadway. That was '75 [1975], yeah. And I played female lead in that, which was great with Maurice Hines [HistoryMaker Maurice Hines, Jr.], we're still friends, we're, we're good friends. Amii Stewart who--she did 'Knock-' 'Knock on Wood,' she, she did a repeat of that song and she moved to London [England]. Do you remember that song? Obba Babatunde, Hinton Battle. Hinton Battle is a wonderful choreographer, wonderful dancer. He was in 'Dreamgirls.' I don't know if you know him. George Hillman, the Hillman brothers [George Hillman and Christopher Hillman] from way back in the day. And I say way back in the day, they were like the Nicholas brothers [HistoryMaker Fayard Nicholas and Harold Nicholas], the older men, and he was my partner. And we were like Desi Smith [ph.], you know, kind of era. I learned to tap through him you know for this particular role and whatnot. And, and so we were, like I said, pre-Broadway bound, but it never took off because of money, a lot of money situations got into that. And then I went to do 'Guys and Dolls,' and that's when I met Ri- Richard Roundtree.$$Now the movie comes out--$$Um-hm.$$--what is that like for you in New York now?$$Wonderful because in the neighborhoods, all of the neighborhoods, people recognized me. So people would just call my name out, Tune Ann, you know, driving the cars, "Oh aren't you Tune Ann, aren't you that girl in the film?" you know. And I was like, "Yes," you know. You know, and my brothers [Robert Brown, Jr. and David Brown (ph.)] and my brothers were like (gesture), and my dad [Robert Brown, Sr.] was the same way, you know. Very excited about it. And you know, it's different from being in theater, you get recognized more with film. Many thousands of people see it as opposed to theater, you know, and so it was a lot of recognition with that.$Ms. McQueen [HistoryMaker Armelia McQueen], 'Ain't Misbehavin'' [Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr.], what's the storyline behind that particular musical?$$The storyline was about Fats Waller, famous pianist, comedian, singer. And they decided that they wanted to honor him and do a musical about Fats Waller, who was not well known in, in our community during that time, in the '70s [1970s]. Back in the '30s [1930s] and '40s [1940s] he was known. So they wanted to bring some of his music to light. People know the music like, "Sit Down and Write Myself a Letter" ["I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"], "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie." But they didn't know who did it, who wrote it. And so they decided that they wanted to do this musical about him. And Luther Henderson who is a great, who has now passed, great musician was our conductor and arranger. Murray Horwitz, it was his idea. Richard Maltby [Richard Maltby, Jr.] was the director and Arthur Faria was the choreographer.$$And what was your role?$$My role was of Aremlia McQueen is a role that I established. And it was a woman with a chameleon, many characters. I played many characters. And it's a woman that would be in that day and what she'd do and, and--each of the women, the "Squeeze Me" girl was, you know, a, a sweet candy little woman that men would, you know, love to bite and squeeze, you know, so I, I came up with her. You know, because of the song, the song dictated it, you know, what 'cause it's "oh daddy squeeze me and squeeze me again." So you, you, you form your characters from the, the music. And "That Ain't Right" lady was that lady who we'd talked about playing cards and cursing and you know, eating chicken, but yet she was a lady, but she got down low, yeah.$$So you actually formulated these characters outside of the music, the characters been totally written or did you kind of go into the song themselves and decide?$$The characters were never written. All the characters that we formed that we did, we did ourselves, so.$$Oh, could you--could you sing a piece from a, from a, from just a small portion of one of those songs, just anything?$$Oh my god.$$How about the daddy squeeze me?$$Okay, okay, wait a minute. You put me on the spot. (Singing) "Oh daddy squeeze me and squeeze me again. Oh papa don't stop 'til I tell you when. Oh daddy squeeze me and kiss me some more just like we did before. Your papa cupid is standing close by. Oh daddy don't let your sweet baby cry, just pick me up on your knee I just get so, you know, oh when you squeeze me."$$Bravo (claps hands), that's beautiful (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Oh god, I haven't done that for years. And you never forget it though, you know, never forget it.$$It's good. So, so those characters, so everybody developed their own character?$$Yes.$$So they gave you the freedom to do that?$$Yes, yes.$$And what did they say when they saw the character development, wha- what did the writers--'cause you know they have their idea?$$Well, the, the director and the choreographer, they were just happy for you to come up with that, you know. Then they could, they could then mold, you know. The character of Fats Waller was really kind of established because of my dear friend [HistoryMaker] Ken Page who looks like him, you know. And of course who is a wonderful comedian, actor, so he captured him, you know. Because this man was alive, he was real and so he captured him. The other characters, we were like people from that era, you know. And Nell [Nell Carter] was like, oh I don't know the character's name, but Luther Henderson called her name, you know, it reminded him of those women.