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Beah Richards

Beah Richards

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Also Known As: Died: September 14, 2000
Born: July 12, 1920 Cause of Death: emphysema
Birth Place: Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA Profession: actor, playwright, poet

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A veteran stage performer and character player, Beah Richards is perhaps best remembered by movie audiences for her Oscar-nominated portrayal as Sidney Poitier's proud, knowing mother in Stanley Kramer's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" (1967). Like Angela Lansbury, Richards was often called on to portray the mother of actors not much younger than herself (e.g., she was a mere seven years older than Poitier and 11 years older than James Earl Jones who portrayed her son in 1970's "The Great White Hope"). TV aficionados will recall her from her many appearances ranging from Bill Cosby's mother on his first sitcom (NBC, 1970-71) to a recurring role as the ailing mother of Dr. Benton (Eriq LaSalle) on "ER" (NBC, 1994-95).

A veteran stage performer and character player, Beah Richards is perhaps best remembered by movie audiences for her Oscar-nominated portrayal as Sidney Poitier's proud, knowing mother in Stanley Kramer's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" (1967). Like Angela Lansbury, Richards was often called on to portray the mother of actors not much younger than herself (e.g., she was a mere seven years older than Poitier and 11 years older than James Earl Jones who portrayed her son in 1970's "The Great White Hope"). TV aficionados will recall her from her many appearances ranging from Bill Cosby's mother on his first sitcom (NBC, 1970-71) to a recurring role as the ailing mother of Dr. Benton (Eriq LaSalle) on "ER" (NBC, 1994-95).

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Beloved (1998) Baby Suggs
2.
 Out of Darkness (1994) Mrs Cooper
3.
 One Special Victory (1991) Cora Simms
4.
 Homer and Eddie (1989) Linda Cervi
5.
 Drugstore Cowboy (1989) Drug Counselor
6.
 Inside Out (1986) Verna
7.
 Acceptable Risks (1986) Sally Framm
8.
 As Summers Die (1986) Elvira Backus
9.
 Generation (1985) Edna
10.
 Christmas Without Snow, A (1980) Wendell'S Grandma
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1947:
Apprenticed at the San Diego Community Theater (dates approximate)
1951:
Moved to NYC
1956:
Off-Broadway debut, "Take a Giant Step"; played a grandmother
1959:
Was understudy to Claudia McNeil in the role of Lena Younger in the Broadway production "A Raisin in the Sun"
1959:
Featured in "The Miracle Worker" on Broadway
1959:
Made feature film debut recreating her stage role of the grandmother in "Take a Giant Step"
1962:
Reprised stage role in the film version of "The Miracle Worker"
1965:
Won acclaim for her leading performance on Broadway in "The Amen Corner"
:
Began making guest appearances on episodes of TV series, including "Dr. Kildare" and "Hawaii Five-O"
1967:
Earned Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?"
1970:
Wrote first stage play "One Is a Crowd" (also acted)
:
TV series debut as Bill Cosby's mother in "The Bill Cosby Show" (NBC); succeeded Lillian Randolph in the part
1972:
First TV-movie, "Footsteps" (CBS)
1972:
Appeared as Aunt Ethel on "Sanford and Son" (NBC)
1975:
Last film for 12 years "Mahogany"
1979:
Featured in the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generations"
1979:
Began appearances in one-woman show "An Evening with Beah Richards"; also wrote the piece
1987:
Returned to features in "Inside Out"
1987:
Won an Emmy Award as Best Guest Actress on an acclaimed episode of the CBS series "Frank's Place"
:
Played recurring role on the CBS drama series "Beauty and the Beast"
:
Joined cast of CBS sitcom "Hearts Afire"
:
Played recurring role as the ailing mother of Dr Benton (Eriq LaSalle) on the NBC drama series "ER"
1998:
Made one-shot return to films in "Beloved" playing Baby Suggs
2000:
Earned second Emmy Award for guest performance as an elderly woman whose daughter is seeking legal recourse to nullify her mother's marriage on "The Practice" (ABC)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Dillard University: New Orleans , Louisiana -

Notes

At the time of her death, some obituaries listed 1926 as the year of Ms. Richards' birth.

Richards was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1974.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Hugh Harrell. Divorced.

Bibliography close complete biography

"One Is a Crowd"
"A Black Woman Speaks"
"A Black Woman Speaks and Other Poems"

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