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|Also Known As:||Died:|
|Born:||December 30, 1956||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Waterbury, Connecticut, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor singer dancer director screenwriter producer children's clothing designer|
Born in Waterbury, CT, Sheryl Lee Ralph spent her youth in Mandeville, Jamaica and Long Island, New York. In 1982 she began her theatrical career with the Broadway smash "Dreamgirls." Her portrayal of Deena Jones won Ralph's first Tony nomination for the Best Actress in a Musical category. Beginning her recurring roles on television, Ralph played Ginger St. James on the sitcom "It's A Living" (ABC 1986-89) Her first leading role on the big screen was with Denzel Washington in "The Mighty Quinn" (1992). She continued with the big screen working in "The Distinguished Gentleman" (1992) opposite Eddie Murphy, and "Mistress" (1992) opposite Robert DeNiro, before landing her TV breakout role as Dee Mitchell on the popular sitcom "Moesha" (UPN 1996-2001); Ralph played Moesha's (Brandy Norwood) mother for the length of the series. After that series ended, Ralph guest-starred on series and in TV movies including "The Jennie Project" (Disney 2001), "Barbershop" (Showtime 2005), "Hannah Montana" (Disney 2006-2011) and "Smash" (NBC 2012-13), on which she played the mother of Jennifer Hudson's character.
In addition to her acting work, Ralph was a high profile activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Along with her own charity called The DIVA (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed) Foundation, she created "Divas Simply Singing!," an annual musical benefit. Ralph also wrote the one-woman show "Sometimes I Cry," detailing true life stories of women and their lives struggling with HIV/AIDS.
Ralph also created and hosted The International Jamaican Film & Music Festival. Ralph also wrote and directed her own independent short film, "Secrets." A finalist in the HBO Film Short Competition, Showtime's Filmmaker Award Series, and the BET Filmmaker Award Competition, the film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hollywood Film Festival, and the Urban World Film Festival.
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