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Lynn Whitfield (born Lynn Butler-Smith on May 6, 1953) is an American actress.

Whitfield began her acting career in television and theatre, before progressing to supporting roles in film. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special and a NAACP Image Award for her performance as Josephine Baker in the television movie The Josephine Baker Story (1991). She also won NAACP Image awards for her work in Touched by an Angel (1998), The Planet of Junior Brown (2000) and Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2004).

Her film work includes performances in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996), Eve's Bayou (1997), The Cheetah Girls (2003) Madea's Family Reunion (2006) and The Cheetah Girls 2 (2006)

Life and career

Early life

Whitfield was born Lynn Butler-Smith in Baton Rouge, Louisianamarker, the daughter of Jean (née Butler), an officer of a finance agency, and Valerian Smith, a dentist. Lynn Whitfield is an Honorary Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Career

Whitfield had a series of television appearances before her film career began, including playing Jill Thomas in the award-winning series Hill Street Blues. After gaining attention on stage in Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Whitfield appeared in supporting roles in such films as Doctor Detroit (1983) and Silverado (1985). She gained wider success by starring in the television films The George McKenna Story, Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI, (both 1986), and the miniseries The Women of Brewster Place (1989).

Whitfield achieved international recognition in the title role of The Josephine Baker Story (1991), the HBO biopic requiring her to age from 18 to 68. She portrayed the American Folies Bergère star who became a Resistance fighter during WWII and civil rights activist. In a highly publicized casting call, Whitfield was chosen over more than 500 women. She won an Emmy Award for her role and said this gave her, "the greatest sense of accomplishment and realization of my vision. It absolutely called upon everything I thought I could do at that point."

Whitfield worked as a regular in two ABC series (Heartbreak and Equal Justice) prior to playing Baker. She returned to a TV series opposite Bill Cosby in The Cosby Mysteries (NBC, 1994-95).

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate and Gone Fishin' (both 1996) increased her exposure. Whitfield then appeared in Eve's Bayou (1997), as the head of a prosperous, socially prominent black family in Louisianamarker. She returned to a similar milieu as snobby Martha's Vineyardmarker matron Corinne Coles in the ABC miniseries The Wedding (1998). In recent years, she starred as Dorthea Garibaldi in both The Cheetah Girls and The Cheetah Girls 2. She recently starred in Mama, I Want To Sing! with Ciara, and in 2006's film drama Madea's Family Reunion.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1982 For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf TV movie
1983 Doctor Detroit Thelma Cleland
1985 Silverado Rae Johnson
The Slugger's Wife Tina Alvarado
1986 Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI Johnnie Mae Gibson TV movie
1987 Dead Aim Sheila Freeman
Jaws: The Revenge Louisa
1988 Heartbeat Dr. Cory Banks TV series
1989 The Women of Brewster Place Ciel TV miniseries
1991 A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story Natala TV movie
The Josephine Baker Story Josephine Baker TV movie
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Miniseries or a Movie
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film


1992 Stompin' at the Savoy Esther TV movie
1993 Taking the Heat Carolyn Hunter TV movie
1994 In the Army Now Sgt. Ladd
State of Emergency Dehlia Johnson TV movie
The Cosby Mysteries Barbara Lorenz TV series
1996 A Thin Line Between Love and Hate Brandi Web
Sophie & the Moonhanger Sophie TV movie
1997 Eve's Bayou Roz Batiste Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Gone Fishin' Angie
The Planet of Junior Brown Mrs. Brown TV (1997–2000)
2000 – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special
Touched by an Angel Dr. Serena Hall In the episode "Amazing Grace, Part 1"
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
1998 Stepmom Dr. P. Sweikert
The Wedding Corinne Coles TV miniseries
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1999 Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story Lori Jackson TV movie
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Deep in My Heart Corrine Burrell TV movie
The Color of Courage Minnie McGhee TV movie
Love Songs Jean Simpson TV movie
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Actress
2000 A Time for Dancing Linda Derricks, the Dance Teacher
2001 A Girl Thing Nia Morgan TV movie
2003 Head of State Debra Lassiter Nominated — BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
The Cheetah Girls Dorothea Garibaldi Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special
2004 Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story Barbara Becnel TV Movie
Black Reel Award for Best Actress
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special

2006 Madea's Family Reunion Victoria Breaux Nominated — Black Movie Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
The Cheetah Girls 2 Dorothea Garibaldi
The Confessions of a Call Girl Dr. Page
2008 The Women Glenda Hill
2009 Mama, I Want to Sing! Lillian Winter


References

  1. http://www.filmreference.com/film/16/Lynn-Whitfield.html

External links




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