Helen Martin was an African-American actress with a strong reputation. She first made a name for herself as a founding member of Harlem's American Negro Theater in the early 1940s and debuted on Broadway in Orson Welles's 1941 production of "Native Son." Many of her finest roles continued to be for the stage, but later in her career she also appeared regularly on television and in feature films. She made her screen debut in director Phil Karlson's explosively angry '55 crime film "The Phenix City Story," based on a true story of major corruption, murder, and racial intolerance in the Alabama town. It was another 14 years before she returned to making films or television, but she would quickly make up for lost time throughout the '70s and beyond. On television, she is best known for her roles on sitcoms that focused mostly on the lives of black characters, such as "That's My Momma," "Good Times" (playing neighbour Wanda), and the long-running "227" (as Pearl). Martin played similar offbeat characters in the movies "Doc Hollywood," "I Got the Hook Up," "I'm Bout It," and "Bulworth." She died in 2000 of a heart attack.