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EntertainmentMakers are known and celebrated for their work in film and television. Actors, directors, producers, as well as comedians, talent agents, and scriptwriters and screenwriters are categorized as EntertainmentMakers in addition to those who otherwise play a role in the entertainment industry.

Gil Robertson IV

Film critic Gil Robertson IV was born on August 13, 1964 in Los Angeles, California to Gil and Fannye Delmyra Robertson. He received his B.S degree in political science from California State University, Los Angeles.

Robertson began his career as an arts and entertainment journalist interviewing music and Hollywood stars. He wrote for over fifty national magazines, including BillboardFortuneEssence, Vibe, The Source, USA Today, Ebony, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the L.A. Times. Robertson created the nationally-syndicated Arts & Lifestyle column, The Robertson Treatment, in 1997, and later founded the Robertson Treatment’s Media Workshop series, an annual journalism initiative presented first at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and then expanded to the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.

Robertson became a publicist and represented a variety of clients that included music producer Quincy Jones III, Christian rapper Lecrae, music executive Big Jon Platt and sports stars Cedric Ceballos and Tony Gwynn. From 1998 to 2000, Robertson also served as unit publicist on the Showtime series Linc’s, which starred Steven Williams along with co-stars Pam Grier and Golden Brooks as well as Hoop Life, which starred Dorian Harewood, Robert Hooks and Mykelti Williamson.

Robertson published Writing As A Tool of Empowerment, a book for aspiring entertainment journalists, in 2002. His anthologies include: Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community (2006), that received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Nonfiction Book; Family Affair: What It Means to be African-American Today (2009) which was a Publisher’s Weekly pick of the week; and Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships In the African-American Community (2013). In 2017, Robertson authored his first children’s book, Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present. Additionally, Robertson contributed entertainment content to five editions of The African-American Almanac, a reference book of African American culture.

In 2003, Robertson co-founded the African American Critics Association (AAFCA), which produces the AAFCA Awards, highlighting the work of Hollywood stars such as John Singleton, Oprah, Viola Davis, Jamie Foxx, Will Packer, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler and John David Washington.

Robertson, participated on panels for Sundance, Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival, and smaller festivals such as the Bentonville Film Festival in Arkansas and the International Black Film Festival of Nashville. Fostering collaborations with various industry groups such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP). He also served as a spokesperson on diversity and inclusion with HLN, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.

Robertson’s professional memberships include: National Press Club, The National Association of Black Journalists, The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Gil Robertson IV was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 10, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.139

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/10/2018

Last Name

Robertson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

South Park Elementary School

Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

California State University, Los Angeles

First Name

Gil

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

ROB37

Favorite Season

Fall

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands Off The Indian Ocean

Favorite Quote

This Too Shall Pass.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/13/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Sushi

Short Description

Film critic Gil Robertson IV (1964- ) co-founded the African American Film Critics Association in 2003. He created the nationally-syndicated Arts & Lifestyle column, The Robertson Treatment in 1997.

Employment

Poffenburger and Associates

Cash Box

Music Connection

Robertson Treatment

AAFCA

Favorite Color

Blue

Vanessa Williams

Actress and singer Vanessa Williams was born on March 18, 1963 to Milton and Helen Williams in Tarrytown, New York. Williams graduated from Horace Greeley High School in Millwood, New York in 1981, and enrolled at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.

In 1983, Williams won the Miss Greater Syracuse Pageant and Miss New York Pageant. Later that fall, she was crowned Miss America 1984, becoming the first African American contestant to win the pageant. A scandal involving Williams forced her to resign in July of 1984. Williams then pursued a career in music. In 1988, she released her first album, The Right Stuff, which featured the singles The Right Stuff, He's Got the Look and Dreamin'. The album’s popularity garnered Williams the NAACP Outstanding New Artist Award. Her multi-platinum second album, The Comfort Zone, was nominated for three Grammys in 1992, and her third album, The Sweetest Days, achieved platinum status in 1994. Williams earned another Grammy nomination for her popular rendition of Colors of the Wind, featured on the Pocahontas soundtrack. Williams went on to release five more studio albums: Star Bright (1996), Next (1997), Silver & Gold (2004), Everlasting Love (2005), and The Real Thing (2009), which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Jazz Charts.

Williams has also enjoyed a successful acting career. After making her acting debut on an episode of The Love Boat in 1984, Williams went on to appear in such films as Eraser (1996), Soul Food (1997), Light It Up (1999), Shaft (2000), opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Johnson Family Vacation (2004), Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009), and Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013). She also portrayed Suzanne de Passe in the Jackson 5 biopic The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992). Williams executive-produced and starred in Lifetime's The Courage to Love and VH1’s original movie A Diva's Christmas Carol, both released in 2000.

Williams earned three-Emmy nominations for her starring role as Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty from 2006 to 2010 and also starred on the last two seasons of Desperate Housewives on ABC, winning two NAACP Image Awards for her portrayal of Renee Perry. She also starred as Maxine Robinson on the television show Daytime Divas in 2017.

In addition to acting on film and in television, Williams starred on Broadway in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1994), Into the Woods (2002; Tony Award nominee as Best Actress in a Musical), Sondheim on Sondheim (2010) and The Trip to Bountiful (2003).

Williams, and her mother Helen Williams, co-authored the New York Times bestseller You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (and Each Other), published in 2013. Williams returned to the Miss America Pageant in 2015 as the head judge and special performer – receiving an apology from the organization for the events that took place in 1984.

Williams has four adult children: Melanie, Jillian, Devin and Sasha.

Vanessa Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 30, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.076

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/30/2018

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Vanessa

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

WIL83

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

Go For It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/18/1963

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Margherita Pizza

Short Description

Actress and singer Vanessa Williams (1963 - ) was crowned Miss America 1984 but had to step down. She went on to release eight studio albums, and appear in countless films and television shows and sustain a significant entertainment career.

Favorite Color

Green

Kym Longino

Stuntwoman Kym Longino was born on October 19, 1957 in Boston, Massachusetts to Carol Washington and Richard Washington, a Hollywood stuntman and stunt coordinator. Longino graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles in 1975, and attended Santa Monica City College, where she studied business and health science.

In 1979, Longino served as the stunt double for Nichelle Nichols in Star Trek: The Motion Picture; and again, in 1982, for the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In 1985, Longino was a stunt double for both Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple. In 1988, Longino performed stunts in the movie Mississippi Burning alongside her father, Richard Washington. From 1988 to 2012, Longino worked as a stunt performer on the television show America’s Most Wanted. She also performed stunts on the television show Rescue 911 from 1989 to 1996 as well as the film Ghostbusters II in 1989. A long time stunt double for Whoopi Goldberg, Longino performed stunts in several of her films during the 1990s, including Ghost in 1990, Sister Act in 1992, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit in 1993, Made in America in 1993, and Corrina, Corrina in 1994. In 1999, she performed stunts in Girl, Interrupted; and in 2001, she was appeared as a stuntwoman in Hannibal. Longino was a stunt driver on the television show Third Watch from 1999 to 2005. She worked as both a stunt performer and stunt driver in Taxi (2004) and in King’s Ransom (2005). In 2006, Longino was featured in a documentary about top African American stuntwomen called Hollywood At Its Best. Longino has worked as a stunt double for Queen Latifah, Viola Davis, Tamara Tunie, Halle Berry, Denise Richards, and Taraji P. Henson on the television show Person of Interest from 2011 to 2013. She also appeared in over eighty films and television shows, and acted in commercials for Dodge, GMC Trucks, Toyota, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds.

Longino was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and an Arbonne independent representative. In 2011, she received a Diamond in the Raw Lifetime Achievement Award and an Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Guest Award.

Kym Longino was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.051

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/19/2018

Last Name

Longino

Maker Category
Middle Name

Washington

Organizations
First Name

Kym

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

LON06

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Saint Lucia

Favorite Quote

As Long As You Believe In Yourself You Can Achieve What Is Waiting For You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

10/19/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood/Mexican

Short Description

Stuntwoman Kym Longino (1957 - ) worked as a stunt performer for over thirty years, appearing in over eighty films and television shows, and working with actresses like Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Favorite Color

Green

Richard Roundtree

Actor Richard Roundtree was born on July 9, 1942 in New Rochelle, New York to John and Kathryn Roundtree. Roundtree attended New Rochelle High School, where he played on the school’s nationally ranked football team. In 1961, Roundtree earned an athletic scholarship to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, but he left school in 1963 to pursue a career as an actor and a model.

In 1963, Roundtree was hired by Eunice Johnson of Ebony magazine to model in the Ebony Fashion Fair. Roundtree went on to join the Negro Ensemble Company in 1967, where he played the role of boxing legend Jack Johnson in the company’s production of The Great White Hope. In 1971, Roundtree was cast in his most notable role as John Shaft in the 1971 action film, Shaft, directed by Gordon Parks. The popularity of the film turned Roundtree into a star with two subsequent sequels: Shaft’s Big Score (1972) and Shaft in Africa (1973). Following the success of the Shaft trilogy, Roundtree was awarded the Golden Globe Most Promising Newcomer Award in 1972. Roundtree went on to appear in several films throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including Earthquake (1974), Escape to Athena (1979), A Game for Vultures (1979), and Day of The Assassin (1979). In 1977, Roundtree appeared in the ABC television miniseries Roots, based on Alex Haley’s book Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Roundtree reprised the role of John Shaft in the 2000 film Shaft, starring Samuel L. Jackson as his character’s nephew, and directed by John Singleton. Roundtree has also appeared in several television series including Soul Food, Desperate Housewives, Heroes, and Grey’s Anatomy. In 2013, he became a series regular on the television show Being Mary Jane, appearing alongside actresses Gabrielle Union and Margaret Avery. Roundtree also appeared in multiple episodes of FOX’s television series Star in 2017 and 2018.

In 1993, Roundtree was diagnosed with a rare form of male breast cancer, and underwent chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. Since then, Roundtree has served as a breast cancer awareness advocate for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Know Your Score Men’s Health Initiative. Roundtree has received the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as Shaft, as well as an Image Award nomination in 1998, a Peabody Award in 2002 and a Black Theater Alliance Award Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Richard Roundtree was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 1, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.040

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/1/2018

Last Name

Roundtree

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

New Rochelle

HM ID

ROU02

Favorite Season

Late Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

7/9/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Indonesian

Short Description

Actor Richard Roundtree (1942 - ) was best known for his role as John Shaft in the 1971 action film Shaft. His 152 television and film credits also include roles in Being Mary Jane and Roots.

Favorite Color

Blue

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

Chaz Ebert

Lawyer and entertainment manager Chaz Ebert was born on October 15, 1952 in Chicago, Illinois to Johnnie Hobbs Hammel and Wiley Hammel, Sr. She attended John M. Smyth Elementary School and Crane Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois and graduated in 1969. Ebert earned her B.A. degree in political science at the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa in 1972. She then received her M.A. degree in social science at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Platteville, Wisconsin. Ebert went on to receive her J.D. degree from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.

Ebert began her career in 1977 as a litigator for the Region Five office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. After three years, she left the agency to join the litigation department at the Chicago law firm of Bell Boyd and Lloyd LLP, where she focused on mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property. Ebert then began working at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her work there focused primarily on race and age-based workplace discrimination. In 1989, she became the vice president of Ebert Company Ltd., where she oversaw daily operations and provided legal counsel for the company. In 1992, she married film critic Roger Ebert and continued to play an important role in the company over the following two decades, and often traveled with her husband and his business partner, film critic Gene Siskel. When Siskel passed away in 1999, Ebert encouraged the partnership between her husband and Chicago Sun Times columnist Richard Roeper. In 2002, Ebert launched rogerebert.com, an online magazine of film reviews by Roger Ebert and other critics. After her husband’s death in 2013, Ebert revamped the website under the company Ebert Digital. She also worked on the documentary of her late husband’s life called Life Itself.

Ebert hosted the twelfth annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival in 2010. She led a team of critics to cover the Cannes Film Festival for rogerebert.com in 2013. Ebert also continued her husband’s legacy through her published contributions on rogerebert.com.

Ebert has two children, Josibiah Smith and Sonia Evans.

Chaz Ebert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 7, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.121

Sex

Female

Interview Date

08/07/2017

Last Name

Ebert

Marital Status

Widow

Schools

Smyth Magnet School

Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School

University of Dubuque

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

DePaul University College of Law

First Name

Chaz

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

EBE01

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

In a villa with family.

Favorite Quote

Fall Down Seven, Get Up Eight.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/15/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Ice cream

Short Description

Lawyer Chaz Ebert (1952 - ) worked as a litigation attorney and served as vice president of the Ebert Company Ltd.

Employment

Environmental Protection Agency

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Bell Boyd and Lloyd, LLP

Ebert Company

Favorite Color

Rainbow

DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654979">Tape: 1 Slating of Chaz Ebert's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654980">Tape: 1 Chaz Ebert lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654981">Tape: 1 Chaz Ebert describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654982">Tape: 1 Chaz Ebert describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654983">Tape: 1 Chaz Ebert remembers visiting Thomaston, Georgia as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654984">Tape: 1 Chaz Ebert lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654985">Tape: 1 Chaz Ebert describes her relationship with her older sisters</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654986">Tape: 1 Chaz Ebert talks about her early neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654987">Tape: 1 Chaz Ebert describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654988">Tape: 1 Chaz Ebert talks about her early neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654989">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert describes her family's first home in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654990">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert remembers her father's proficiency in food preparation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654991">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert recalls her close relationship with her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654992">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert remembers her family's social activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654993">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert describes her early religious experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654994">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert recalls her childhood responsibilities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654995">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert remembers her mother's community involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654996">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert talks about her fortieth high school reunion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654997">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert remembers influential elementary school teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654998">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert recalls her initial interest in the legal profession</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/654999">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert describes her club memberships in high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655000">Tape: 2 Chaz Ebert remembers marching with her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655001">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert recalls her experiences with discriminatory teachers and professors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655002">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert remembers her decision to attend the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, Iowa</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655003">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert remembers the racial demographics of the University of Dubuque</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655004">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert recalls starting her family while attending college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655005">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert talks about her decision to pursue a master's degree</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655006">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert recalls attending the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655007">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert remembers the start to her legal career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655008">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert describes her pro bono work as a law student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655009">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert talks about balancing her personal life and law school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655010">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert recalls discriminatory practices at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655011">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert remembers the executives at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655012">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert remembers working with John McGuire</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655013">Tape: 3 Chaz Ebert talks about her positions after leaving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655014">Tape: 4 Chaz Ebert recalls leaving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655015">Tape: 4 Chaz Ebert remembers her work at Bell Boyd and Lloyd LLP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655016">Tape: 4 Chaz Ebert talks about her work on discrimination cases</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655017">Tape: 4 Chaz Ebert describes her employment history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655018">Tape: 4 Chaz Ebert remembers meeting Roger Ebert, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655019">Tape: 4 Chaz Ebert remembers meeting Roger Ebert, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655020">Tape: 4 Chaz Ebert describes Roger Ebert's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655021">Tape: 4 Chaz Ebert remembers her initial bond with Roger Ebert</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655022">Tape: 4 Chaz Ebert remembers joining the Ebert Company Ltd.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655023">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert shares her thoughts on remarrying</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655024">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert talks about the importance of philanthropy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655025">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert remembers her relationship with Roger Ebert's family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655026">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert remembers her husband's working relationship with Gene Siskel</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655027">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert talks about Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel's careers as film critics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655028">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert remembers learning about film from Roger Ebert</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655029">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert describes the creation of rogerebert.com</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655030">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert talks about Roger Ebert's television work, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655031">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert talks about Roger Ebert's television work, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655032">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert recalls Roger Ebert's cancer diagnosis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/655033">Tape: 5 Chaz Ebert recalls her connection with Roger Ebert after the loss of his voice</a>

Kathleen McGhee-Anderson

Producer Kathleen McGhee-Anderson was born on June 11, 1950 in San Antonio, Texas to Christine McGhee and Reginald McGhee. McGhee-Anderson earned her B.A. degree in English from Spelman College in 1972. She then received her M.F.A. degree in film directing and criticism from Columbia University in 1974.

From 1974 to 1980, McGhee-Anderson worked as a film editor at WMAL-TV in Washington, D.C. and KABC-TV in Los Angeles, California. While in Washington, D.C., she also spent a year as an assistant professor of film at Howard University. In 1980, McGhee-Anderson joined the Warner Brothers Women and Minority Writers Workshop and her work was brought to the attention of Michael Landon. She then began writing episodes for Little House on the Prairie, Gimme a Break!, 227, Amen, and The Cosby Show. McGhee-Anderson’s television credits also include Touched by an Angel, Any Day Now, and The Fosters. While at Warner Brothers, McGhee-Anderson served as an executive producer as well. She was a producer for the fifth season of Soul Food, for four seasons of Lincoln Heights, and the second season of Greenleaf. McGhee-Anderson was involved in writing for films and theater productions as well. Her films include Sunset Park and The Color of Courage, which dealt with her grandparents’ landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases. McGhee-Anderson’s writings for stage productions were done in collaboration with The Crossroads Theatre Company, The Vineyard Playhouse, and L.A. Theater Works. Her stage productions include Oak and Ivy, Freedom Riders, and Mothers.

In addition to her writings for film, television, and theater, McGhee-Anderson was also the author of two published novels. Zora in Bloom was published in 2013 and A Martha’s Vineyard Love Story was published in 2014.

McGhee-Anderson received an NAACP Image Award, the Ruby Slipper Award for Children’s Programming for her television drama, The Story of Blind Tom and was selected twice as a Eugene O’Neill Playwright by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. McGhee-Anderson was also the recipient of an honorary doctorate of fine arts from her alma mater, Spelman College.

McGhee-Anderson has one son, Khalil McGhee-Anderson.

Kathleen McGhee-Anderson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 18, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.134

Sex

Female

Interview Date

08/18/2017

8/24/2018

Last Name

McGhee-Anderson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Pattengill Elementary School

McMichael Intermediate School

Cass Technical High School

Spelman College

Columbia University

First Name

Kathleen

Birth City, State, Country

San Antonio

HM ID

MCG10

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/11/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Santa Monica

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Greens

Short Description

Producer Kathleen McGhee-Anderson (1950 - ) wrote for television, film and theater. She also served as executive producer for several television shows and the film, <em>The Color of Courage</em>, which she wrote on her grandparents’ landmark U.S. Supreme Court housing battle.

Favorite Color

Blue

Richard Washington

Stuntman and stunt coordinator Richard Washington was born on February 20, 1940 in Everett, Massachusetts to Edna Ford and Edward Washington. He graduated from Christian High School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1957 and attended Los Angeles City College in Los Angeles, California.

Washington worked as a machinist and commercial diver before beginning his career in film in 1968. He earned his first film credit as a stuntman in 1971 for the film, Dirty Harry. By 1973, Washington secured a role as a stunt coordinator, choreographing stunts in films. He worked on a number of Blaxploitation films during the 1970s, including Scream, Blacula Scream, Cleopatra Jones, Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde, and Sheba Baby. Washington’s film credits also include; Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Conquest for the Planet of the Apes, Interspace, The Abyss, The Goonies, U.S. Marshalls and Die Hard with a Vengeance. Washington also played KITT in Knight Rider and worked alongside Richard Pryor and Cecily Tyson as the stunt coordinator for Bustin’ Loose and Some Kind of Hero. In 1974, Washington doubled for Richard Roundtree and later for Billy Dee Williams. Washington’s other major film credits include; Mississippi Burning and Glory. Washington also served as a stunt double multiple times for Lou Gossett, most notably in The Deep, when he demonstrated his talent for underwater stunts. He retired in 1997.

During his career as a Hollywood stunt performer, Washington was active in the Black Stuntmen’s Association, where he and other members fought against the discriminatory practice of “painting down” white stuntmen in black makeup to double for African American actors. He later joined the Stuntmen’s Association of Motion Pictures in 1973, as African American stuntmen began being admitted to the organization. Washington was among the first African American stuntmen to work in Hollywood, and his accomplishments were recognized in an exhibit about the Black Stuntmen’s Association in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Washington, an avid sailor, was the first black commodore of a major Los Angeles yacht club and has participated in numerous races in Antigua, St. Lucia and over twenty-five times in the Bequia Easter Regatta.

Washington and his wife, Carol Washington, have two daughters. Their daughter, Kym Washington-Longino, also pursued a career as a stuntwoman.

Richard Washington was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 15, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.131

Sex

Male

Interview Date

08/16/2017

Last Name

Washington

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Los Angeles City College

First Name

Richard

Birth City, State, Country

Everett

HM ID

WAS07

Favorite Season

Warm

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Somewhere warm - exotic, educational.

Favorite Quote

Fuggedaboutit

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

2/20/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Martha's Vineyard

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seasoned

Short Description

Stuntman and stunt coordinator Richard Washington (1940 - ) was among the first African American stuntmen in Hollywood and was featured in a number of films including, Dirty Harry, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Mississippi Burning, and Glory.

Favorite Color

Blue

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

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526272">Tape: 1 Slating of Whoopi Goldberg's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526273">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526274">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg describes her childhood in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526275">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg describes her maternal grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526276">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg remembers her mother's nervous breakdown</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526277">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg describes her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526278">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg recalls her relationship with her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526279">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg talks about her education in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526280">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg describes her relationship with her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526281">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg remembers her early influences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526282">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg describes her schools in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526283">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg remembers her marriage and the birth of her daughter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526284">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg describes her training as an actor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526285">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg remembers moving to California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526286">Tape: 1 Whoopi Goldberg recalls the Deloux School of Cosmetology in San Diego, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526287">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg recalls a lesson from her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526288">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg remembers the San Diego Repertory Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526289">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg recalls moving to San Francisco, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526290">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg recalls performing in East Germany</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526291">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg recalls her inspiration for 'The Spook Show'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526292">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg recalls her invitation to Dance Theater Workshop in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526293">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg remembers writing to Alice Walker about 'The Color Purple'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526294">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg recalls the early success of 'The Spook Show'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526295">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg remembers performing 'The Spook Show' on Broadway</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526296">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg recalls being cast in 'The Color Purple'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526297">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg describes her performance at Steven Spielberg's theater</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526298">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg recalls the production of 'The Color Purple'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526299">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg talks about her writing process</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526300">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg talks about her daughter and family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526301">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg talks about her upcoming projects</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526302">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg reflects upon her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526303">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg explains why she agreed to be interviewed</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526304">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526305">Tape: 2 Whoopi Goldberg reflects upon her life</a>

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."

Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Actor and writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson was born on November 24, 1956 in Lackawanna, New York to Alean Hudson and Ruben Santiago. He graduated from Lackawanna High School; and earned his B.A. degree in theatre from Binghamton University in 1978, and his M.F.A. degree from Wayne State University in 1982.

Santiago-Hudson first appeared in the 1988 film, Coming to America. He then played Captain Billy Cooper on the daytime drama Another World from 1990 to 1993. Santiago-Hudson made his Broadway debut as Buddy Bolden in Jelly’s Last Jam in 1992, and starred in August Wilson's Seven Guitars in 1995. He wrote the autobiographical play Lackawanna Blues in 2001, and adapted it into the award-winning 2005 HBO film of the same name. He co-starred opposite Phylicia Rashad in Gem of the Ocean on Broadway in 2004; and, in 2007, he starred in a PBS Nova documentary about the life of Percy Lavon Julian. From 2009 to 2011, he played Captain Roy Montgomery in ABC's Castle. Santiago-Hudson returned to Broadway to star in Stick Fly in 2011, and directed August Wilson’s JITNEY! on Broadway in 2017.

Santiago-Hudson’s other film credits include Bleeding Hearts, Blown Away, Domestic Disturbance, Which Way Home, The Devil’s Advocate, American Gangster, Mr. Brooks, Shaft, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Showtime’s Solomon and Sheba. He also made appearance on the television shows The Cosby Mysteries, New York Undercover, NYPD Blue, Touched by an Angel, The West Wing, Third Watch, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Showtime’s Billions, the TNT series Public Morals, and five episodes of Law & Order.

Santiago-Hudson received the 1996 Tony Award for Best Featured Performer in Seven Guitars, and was awarded the 2006 Humanitas Prize in writing for the HBO film adaptation of his play Lackawanna Blues, and the 2009 NAACP Lifetime Achievement Theatre Award. In 2013, Santiago-Hudson won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Director, an Obie Award for Direction, and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play for the Off-Broadway production of The Piano Lesson. In 2016, he won an Obie Award for Special Citations: Collaboration of the play Skeleton Crew. He also received an honorary doctorate of letters from Buffalo State College in 2006, and Wayne State University in 2015. In 2014, The Ruben Santiago-Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center was named in his honor in his hometown of Lackawanna, New York.

Santiago-Hudson and his wife, Jeannie Brittan, have two children: Trey and Lily, in addition to his two older sons: Broderick and Ruben III.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 8, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.005

Sex

Male

Interview Date

08/08/2016

Last Name

Santiago-Hudson

Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Lackawanna High School

State University of New York at Binghamton

Wayne State University

First Name

Ruben

Birth City, State, Country

Lackawanna

HM ID

SAN06

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Puerto Rico

Favorite Quote

Love Is Love.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/24/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Beans and Rice

Short Description

Actor and writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson (1956- ) appeared in dozens of feature films, television dramas and Broadway plays. He wrote 2001’s Lackawanna Blues, an autobiographical play that he adapted to film in 2005, premiering on HBO.

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629906">Tape: 1 Slating of Ruben Santiago-Hudson's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629907">Tape: 1 Ruben Santiago-Hudson lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629908">Tape: 1 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629909">Tape: 1 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about his mother's drug addiction</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629910">Tape: 1 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers his time with his mother and siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629911">Tape: 1 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers his surrogate mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629912">Tape: 1 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629913">Tape: 1 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629914">Tape: 1 Ruben Sanitago-Hudson describes his father's migration to the United States</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629915">Tape: 1 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his father's career on the railroad</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629916">Tape: 1 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes the demographics of Lackawanna, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629917">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629918">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls growing up in a rooming house</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629919">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls a visit from social services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629920">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes Lackawanna, New York and Buffalo, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629921">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls the influence of his surrogate parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629922">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers the tenants of his surrogate mother's rooming house</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629923">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his surrogate mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629924">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers his godmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629925">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers the integration of Lackawanna High School in Lackawanna, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629926">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers the mentorship of Robert Ambrogi</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629927">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about the impact of integration on the black community in Lackawanna, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629928">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his godfather's political career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629929">Tape: 2 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers the race riots at Lackawanna High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629930">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his struggles at the majority-white Lackawanna High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629931">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about interracial dating at Lackawanna High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629932">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his two eldest sons</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629933">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers the State University of New York at Binghamton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629934">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his college mentors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629935">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls his suspension from the State University of New York at Binghamton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629936">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls his return to the State University of New York at Binghamton</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629937">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his early acting experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629938">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls his acting experiences in Detroit, Michigan</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629939">Tape: 3 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls performing in 'Native Son'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629940">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago recalls his academic experiences at Wayne State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629941">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls receiving his master's degree</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629942">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls moving to New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629943">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers his early acting career in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629944">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls auditioning for the Negro Ensemble Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629945">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls his roles with the Negro Ensemble Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629946">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers providing for his children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629947">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his experiences as a soap opera actor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629948">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers auditioning for August Wilson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629949">Tape: 4 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls marrying his wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629950">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson explains the origin of his twins' names</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629951">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his wife's career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629952">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about the black theater community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629953">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls his role in 'Jelly's Last Jam'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629954">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers lessons from Gregory Hines</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629955">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson explains his choice of roles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629956">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his approach to film roles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629957">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls acting in August Wilson's 'Seven Guitars'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629958">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls starring on the television show 'Castle'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629959">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers his early directorial career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629960">Tape: 5 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about his film roles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629961">Tape: 6 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls creating the stage play 'Lackawanna Blues'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629962">Tape: 6 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers the first production of 'Lackawanna Blues'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629963">Tape: 6 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls performing 'Lackawanna Blues' in Hollywood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629964">Tape: 6 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about the film adaptation of 'Lackawanna Blues'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629965">Tape: 6 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls the national response to 'Lackawanna Blues'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629966">Tape: 6 Ruben Hudson-Santiago remembers a lesson from August Wilson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629967">Tape: 6 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes the legacy of his surrogate mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629968">Tape: 6 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about the influence of everyday life on his writing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629969">Tape: 6 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers directing 'Gem of the Ocean'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629970">Tape: 7 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers directing August Wilson's plays, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629971">Tape: 7 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls the obstacles to his production of 'Jitney'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629972">Tape: 7 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about the preservation of August Wilson's plays</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629973">Tape: 7 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about the interpretations of August Wilson's plays</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629974">Tape: 7 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes the cost of a Broadway production</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629975">Tape: 7 Ruben Santiago-Hudson remembers directing August Wilson's plays, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629976">Tape: 7 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his directorial style</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629977">Tape: 7 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls a lesson from his surrogate mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629978">Tape: 7 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about his commitment to acting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629979">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls directing 'The Piano Lesson,' pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629980">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls directing 'The Piano Lesson,' pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629981">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his play, 'Your Blues Ain't Sweet Like Mine'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629982">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his creative inspiration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629983">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his TED talk</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629984">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson shares his advice to young actors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629985">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629986">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629987">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about the importance of black theater</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629988">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about modern racism, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629989">Tape: 8 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about modern racism, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629990">Tape: 9 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his advice to a group of black construction workers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629991">Tape: 9 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about standing up for yourself, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629992">Tape: 9 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about standing up for yourself, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629993">Tape: 9 Ruben Santiago-Hudson shares his advice to African American actors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629994">Tape: 9 Ruben Santiago-Hudson talks about the current black television networks</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/629995">Tape: 9 Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his family</a>

DASession

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DATape

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DATitle
Ruben Santiago-Hudson describes his father's career on the railroad
Ruben Santiago-Hudson recalls creating the stage play 'Lackawanna Blues'
Transcript
So, he went to Florida, Chicago [Illinois], then Buffalo [New York] with Pedro [ph.], got that job. He had like three jobs he said before the week was over and he had to choose, so he chose the railroad. He liked the sound of the train, you know, and he--and that's where he spent his--he--and they never promoted him. He kept the same job. They gave him a raise, a little raise, but he said every year, they would bring a new young white guy in to be his boss and he would have to teach the guy how to be his boss. The guy would ask him to do something with a certain tool and he'd say, you know, "No, no, no--you don't--you don't--you don't do this like that. You, you take the--you hit with this? No, you don't move it. You, you don't (unclear), but if I move this, you--show you how to do it." And he--my father [Ruben Santiago] would show him and the guy would say, "Oh, okay, now I know," every other year. And I think what broke his heart more than anything 'cause he gave his life to the railroad and, you know, he wasn't one of them sit in the house kind of guys on the railroad, he was a track man. That means, anything going wrong with the track, you take care of it. So, in Buffalo in the winter when the track is supposed to switch so the train can go to the destination, when it get icy, it won't switch, so he had to make it switch. He had to go on there and thaw it, beat the track over, get it lined up, lock it in, and watch the train make that move, and then he can go back to--so, and that's what he did his whole, whole career. And he said the thing, the biggest thing that hurt him there, 'cause in the summer they would hire--if your kid was a college kid, the railroad would give you a job for the summer. You could work with your father, make five dollars, four dollars an hour, which was a lot of money in 1974, and they wouldn't--they never hired me. And he took me to his boss, to the big Penn Station--Penn, Penn Central--New York Central Railroad offices in Buffalo. It's, it's now abandoned, gorgeous building, took me up to the biggest boss up in an elevator and--, "This my son, you know, he, he go to college, he, he going to--he very smart, you know. He can working, too." They never hired me. He did it twice and they didn't hire me and that hurt him. And he never said anything until he was almost gone, you know, when he was like in his sixties, he admitted it to me. He said it hurt that they didn't hire me and they hired everybody else's son. Every white guy that brought his son got hired, but not me. And even--he even had me come to his job and meet him while he was working on the tracks, "Meet me at so and so," and I would meet him and took him--meet his foreman and say, "Put a word in for my son. He's good. He's in college." Never hired me, and that hurt him, you know.$I wanna talk about 'Lackawanna Blues' [Ruben Santiago-Hudson]. When did you start writing it?$$I started writing it--I tried--I tried to start writing it in, in college, but I wasn't sincere. I was afraid to expose a lot, so I, I put it away pretty fast. One of the teachers said I was the worst writer he had ever seen and I should forget about that, you know. It's like I should forget about Shakespeare [William Shakespeare]. I mean, the whole way is forget about it, forget about it, forget about it. You know, you never tell a kid that. So, I didn't write again, but I kept telling Nanny's [Rachel Crosby] stories, anybody that would listen, subway down the street. I just--even today, you know, I still tell Nanny's stories as you can tell in this interview. And I was telling it to Rosemarie Tichler and John Dias at The Public Theater [New York, New York] and George [HistoryMaker George C. Wolfe] was in charge of The Public, "You gotta go tell George." I said, "George has heard these stories." "You gotta go tell--just tell him the one you just told me." So, we go into George's office and I tell the story, George says, "Yeah." He says, you know, I'm tir- he said, "I'm tired of hearing these stories, you know. You need to go write them down." I said--you know, "They, they would probably be a great story and everybody need to hear and quit telling me and quit telling him." And I said, "Yeah, somebody gotta write it." He said, "Yeah, you," and walked out of the room. "I gotta go to this other meeting." And I'm like, we gotta get somebody to write this story. So, I think a week later, I got a commission from The Public Theater, a couple thousand dollars or something to write this play. So, I said, wow, I got accountability and responsibility, I gotta--I gotta do this thing. I just gotta find a writer. I'm not a writer. So, we hired a grad student from Columbia University [New York, New York] to transcribe what I was putting on the tape. They said, "What do you need?" I said, "A tape recorder, my harmonica, and a light in the room," and I just start telling stories into the mic- microphone and she typed them out and typed them out all wrong. If I say something, she would correct it. Like if I say something like I heard somebody say at the rooming house like heard them fool got drunk, cut each other throat. She would write I heard those fools had gotten drunk last night and cut each other's throats. No, heard them fool got drunk, cut each other throat last night. So, I had to start writing it to correct her, and that's how I started writing it.$$And this was about what time?$$This was--this was '90-something, '98 [1998], '90-something. And then my boy, Bill Sims, Jr., who did all the music, I called Bill Sims, I said, "Man, bring your guitar in here, man. I want you to play woodshed a little bit while I--while I do this monologue. I want you to hear this monologue." And Bill would come sit in that corner with his guitar and start playing. "Do that again, do that again, do that again." I would do it again and he would do a different thing to it. Or he would be playing and I say--and then I would pick up my harmonica and start playing, and we just start gluing it together, gluing it together. And I had a director who I brought in from Binghamton [State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, New York], and George came to hear our first--my first pass at it, some of my stories with this director and he was a musical theater guy and he needed a break. He wanted a break. He had just moved to New York [New York] and he was a guy that I really liked at school, but we had fallen out and come back together. He was a director and they brought in from U--UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California], and he was teaching at Wagner College [Staten Island, New York]. Anyway, I brought him. He said, "Please, man, I want to get to The Public Theater. Please, I'll do anything. I'll direct the workshop, I'll do," George watched my first presentation. He said, "I need to see you in my office." I went to his office, he said, "What is that? This is not a musical comedy. This is the story of your life. What, what are you doing?" And I was like, "What do you mean?" He said, "Who, who is the director?" I said, "He's a guy I know." Well, he said, "Get him out of here. Get him out of here. Do your story. Quit playing at it. If you're gonna do your story, do your story." And I said, "All right," you know. So, he made me get real serious about it. So, I quit making everything comedy and let you laugh at the realities. If you laugh, you laughed at my characterizations or something, somebody might say--like, Ol' Po' Carl might say, "Your mama was a fine woman. Her lips was--she had the big pooty lips, look--lips was kind of like blue like she had been drinking black berry brandy," and you will laugh. Or Old Paul or, or, or, or Ol' Po' Carl would say, "Yeah, I went to New York, went up to the entire state building." You know, he was a (unclear) guy, so that would make you laugh instead of me joking everything. Just tell a story, the way it is. So, George kind of turned that around in me and Bill just got tighter and tighter. And then we brought in--George gave us a wonderful director, Loretta Greco to guide it. This is my story, but she--I needed a guiding eye, and she was a good guide for it.