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Lonette Mckee

Lonette Mckee

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: July 22, 1954 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Detroit, Michigan, USA Profession: actor, singer, nightclub chanteuse, pianist, songwriter, recording artist, secretary

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Dusky-voiced, elegantly beautiful leading lady of stage, screen and TV who frequently played doomed chanteuses or tragic mulattos. McKee made a highly praised film debut as the drug-addicted lead singer of a Supremes-like pop group in "Sparkle" (1976). She first appeared on Broadway as Rachel (Mrs. Jackie) Robinson in the short-lived musical "The First" (1981) and won a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Julie in the 1983 Houston Grand Opera revival of "Show Boat" (she was reportedly the first black actress to play that role in a major American production).McKee also appeared opposite Richard Pryor in the comedies, "Which Way Is Up?" (1977) and "Brewster's Millions" (1985) and was featured in the Francis Ford Coppola films "The Cotton Club" (1984), as a torch singer and "Gardens of Stone" (1987). In one of her richest roles to date, she co-starred as Wesley Snipes' put-upon wife in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" (1991).After a rough personal period, McKee recorded the pop album "Natural Love" (1992) which did respectable sales, and was once again cast as Julie in yet another revival of "Show Boat" (1994).

Dusky-voiced, elegantly beautiful leading lady of stage, screen and TV who frequently played doomed chanteuses or tragic mulattos. McKee made a highly praised film debut as the drug-addicted lead singer of a Supremes-like pop group in "Sparkle" (1976). She first appeared on Broadway as Rachel (Mrs. Jackie) Robinson in the short-lived musical "The First" (1981) and won a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Julie in the 1983 Houston Grand Opera revival of "Show Boat" (she was reportedly the first black actress to play that role in a major American production).

McKee also appeared opposite Richard Pryor in the comedies, "Which Way Is Up?" (1977) and "Brewster's Millions" (1985) and was featured in the Francis Ford Coppola films "The Cotton Club" (1984), as a torch singer and "Gardens of Stone" (1987). In one of her richest roles to date, she co-starred as Wesley Snipes' put-upon wife in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever" (1991).

After a rough personal period, McKee recorded the pop album "Natural Love" (1992) which did respectable sales, and was once again cast as Julie in yet another revival of "Show Boat" (1994).

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Whiskey School (2007)
2.
 ATL (2006)
3.
 She Hate Me (2004) Lottie Armstrong
4.
 Honey (2003) Mrs Daniels
5.
 Lift (2002) Elaine
6.
 For Love of Olivia (2001) Olivia Stewart
7.
 Men of Honor (2000) Ella--Carl'S Mother
8.
 Fast Food, Fast Women (2000) Sherry-Lynn
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Played piano and wrote songs at age seven; performed in local Detroit clubs where she sang her own songs at age ten
1969:
Recorded first regional song, "Stop, Don't Worry About It" and album at age 14; quit school and moved to Los Angeles to live with sister, Kathy
:
Began professional career at age 14 on the dance show, "Swingin' Time" (date approximate)
1972:
Became a cast regular as a singer-dancer on the TV variety show, "The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters" at age 17 (date approximate)
:
Worked as a secretary for Bill Cosby
1974:
Recorded a gospel-flavored pop album
1976:
Film debut, "Sparkle"
1981:
Broadway debut as Mrs. Jackie Robinson in the musical, "The First"
:
Wrote and produced first album, "Words and Music" for Warner Bros.
1983:
Played Julie in the Broadway revival of the landmark Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical, "Show Boat" (reportedly the first black actress to perform the role in a major American production)
:
Portrayed Billie Holliday in the off-Broadway musical, "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill"
1987:
Performed at the Ballroom cabaret in NYC
1988:
Made TV pilot, "Home Free"
1988:
Toured in "Sophisticated Ladies"
1990:
Played Lorraine in "The Women of Brewster Place"
:
Again played Julie in a major revival of "Show Boat" (first in Toronto and later on Broadway)
:
Played recurring role of Sara Ruth Bennett on the CBS daytime drama "As the World Turns"
2003:
Appeared in the film "Honey"
2004:
Cast in the Spike Lee comedy "She Hate Me"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"In the Detroit ghetto where I grew up, I wasn't accepted by white kids or black. I just didn't fit in. Now I consider myself black, because I've never been given the same treatment, respect or opportunities that blond, blue-eyed, white girls have gotten."--Lonette McKee on being the light-skinned offspring of an interracial marriage (PEOPLE Magazine, 1985)

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Leo Compton. Youth counselor. Married February 1, 1983; born c. 1955; raised in Detroit; met in San Francisco during a pre-Broadway run of "Show Boat" where he was moonlighing as the backstage doorman; proposed after a one-week courtship; program developer for NYC Youth Bureau; divorced 1990.
companion:
Bryant McNeil. Musician. Met in 1990 while working on the album "Natural Love".

Family close complete family listing

father:
Lonnie McKee. Retired bricklayer. Born c. 1910; black; worked at Ford Motor Company.
mother:
Dorothy McKee. White, of Swedish descent.
sister:
Kathy McKee. Born c. 1950; wrote a book claiming to have been Sammy Davis Jr.'s mistress for seven years (1991).
sister:
Carol McKee. Born c. 1959; has cerebral palsy; Lonette McKee has expressed interest in building a facility for handicapped and retarded children to be named "Carol Park" for her sister.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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