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Nell Carter

Nell Carter

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Also Known As: Nell Hardy, Nell-Ruth Carter Died: January 23, 2003
Born: September 13, 1948 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Birmingham, Alabama, USA Profession: singer, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Energetic, roly-poly singing actress best known as the housekeeper/star of the 1980s NBC sitcom "Gimme a Break", Nell Carter had made her mark on stage earning both an Obie and a Tony for her work in the 1977-78 Fats Waller musical "Ain't Misbehavin'". She became a beloved TV performer, but a near-deadly bout with an aneurysm and other woes put her out of commission for much of the early 90s. Carter was a musical performer in New York on and off-Broadway throughout most of the 70s, beginning with the musical "Soon" (1970), better known for launching Richard Gere. She was in the ensemble cast of "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope" in the early 70s at the Edison Theatre, and in 1977 joined the Manhattan Theatre Club presentation of "Ain't Misbehavin'", a collection of the works of Fats Waller, emerging from the show as a hot property. Although she had briefly been in the cast of the ABC daytime drama "Ryan's Hope" in 1975, Carter had not been on a primetime series until NBC slotted her into "Lobo" in 1980, as a sassy police sergeant. The low-brow series faltered and the following season Carter starred in "Gimme a Break" (1981-87), an NBC sitcom in which she was a singer who had become the housekeeper for...

Energetic, roly-poly singing actress best known as the housekeeper/star of the 1980s NBC sitcom "Gimme a Break", Nell Carter had made her mark on stage earning both an Obie and a Tony for her work in the 1977-78 Fats Waller musical "Ain't Misbehavin'". She became a beloved TV performer, but a near-deadly bout with an aneurysm and other woes put her out of commission for much of the early 90s.

Carter was a musical performer in New York on and off-Broadway throughout most of the 70s, beginning with the musical "Soon" (1970), better known for launching Richard Gere. She was in the ensemble cast of "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope" in the early 70s at the Edison Theatre, and in 1977 joined the Manhattan Theatre Club presentation of "Ain't Misbehavin'", a collection of the works of Fats Waller, emerging from the show as a hot property. Although she had briefly been in the cast of the ABC daytime drama "Ryan's Hope" in 1975, Carter had not been on a primetime series until NBC slotted her into "Lobo" in 1980, as a sassy police sergeant. The low-brow series faltered and the following season Carter starred in "Gimme a Break" (1981-87), an NBC sitcom in which she was a singer who had become the housekeeper for the police chief in a small California community. Carter also sang the show's title song. By the time the series ended, her character had moved to New York City. In 1990, she was in the short-lived series "You Take the Kids" and from 1993 to 1995, she appeared in the recurring role of Mark Curry's boss in the ABC sitcom "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper". Carter also appeared in a few TV-movies, including the musical "Cindy" (ABC, 1978), in which billed as Nell-Ruth Carter she played one of the stepsisters in a send-up of the Cinderella story. She also played the mother of ill-fated athlete Hank Gathers in "Final Shot: The Hank Gathers Story" (syndicated 1992) and was a diva who hires Dinah Manoff as a servant and then gets handcuffed to her as they flee for their lives in "Maid for Each Other" (NBC, 1992). Carter's appearances in musical specials have also been numerous, among them a guest appearance on "Baryshnikov on Broadway" (ABC, 1980); recreating her stage role in "Ain't Misbehavin'" (NBC, 1981); and as one of the performers in "Evening at the Pops" (PBS, 1987).

Carter's feature film appearances have been limited. She was a singer in the "Black Boys/White Boys" number in Milos Forman's "Hair" (1979), and played small roles in "Modern Problems" and "Back Roads" (both 1981). In 1992, Carter offered one of the key voices for the animated feature "Bebe's Kids". She has also performed in Las Vegas, headlined a 1991 Los Angeles revival of "Hello, Dolly!" with an African-American cast and played the villainous Miss Hannigan in the 1996-97 revival of the stage musical "Annie".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Swing (2004) Grace
2.
 Doctor Benny (2003)
3.
 Sealed With a Kiss (1999) Mrs Wheatley
4.
5.
6.
 Fakin' Da Funk (1997) Claire
7.
 Proprietor, The (1996) Milly
8.
 Crazysitter, The (1995) (Cameo Appearance)
9.
 Grass Harp, The (1995) Catherine Creek
10.
 Bebe's Kids (1992) Voice Of Vivian
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1964:
While still in junior high school began singing with group The Renaissance Ensemble
1970:
Made her stage debut in "Soon"
1975:
Appeared on soap opera "Ryan's Hope"
1977:
Starred on Broadway in "Ain't Misbehavin'"
1978:
Made TV-movie debut in "Cindy"
1979:
Made film debut in small singing bit "Hair"
1980:
Co-starred in series "Lobo"
1981:
Starred in TV version of "Ain't Misbehavin'"
:
Starred on NBC sitcom "Gimme a Break"
1990:
Returned to series TV with "You Take the Kids"
1991:
Starred in a multi-racial production of "Hello, Dolly!" at the Long Beach Civic Light Opera in California
1992:
Provided voice for animated feature "Bebe's Kids"
:
Had recurring role on "Hanging With Mr. Cooper"
1996:
Co-starred in "The Grass Harp"
:
Toured as Miss Hannigan in revival of stage musical "Annie"
1998:
Became a regular panelist on the syndicated version of "The Match Game"
2001:
Performed her nightclub act at Feinstein's in NYC
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Carter has discussed her weight problems on the 1987 "News News Report on America: Life in the Fast Lane". She has also openly discussed her substance abuse problems on talk shows.

"Let me tell you, rich is not better. Rich means you have to stay there to maintain it. You have to put on more faces to pretend who you are and you have more people in your face. And when the money is not there anymore, they're not either." --Nell Carter in the New York Post, July 28, 1995.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Georg Krynicki. Businessman. Married 1982, separated c. 1984; reconciled; Carter filed for divorce 1989; divorced 1992; Austrian.
husband:
Roger Larocque. Canadian record producer. Married May 1992; divorced.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Horace Hardy. Died in front of Carter when she was two when he stepped on a live power line.
mother:
Edna Mae Humphrey.
daughter:
Tracey Jennieve. Counselor at Center for Disease Control, Miami. Offspring of a rape when Carter was 16.
son:
Joshua Carter. Adopted; born December 1989.
son:
Daniel Carter. Adopted; born February 1990.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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