Whether she was overhauling some of America's messiest homes or raising eyebrows with her barely-there red carpet outfits, Niecy Nash always commanded attention. With her trademark flower neatly tucked behind one ear, Nash became a household name as host of the Style Network's hit program "Clean House" (2004-11), where she and her crew of interior designers invaded cluttered homes and literally "cleaned house" by way of a giant garage sale. Viewers also knew her as the no-nonsense Deputy Raineesha Williams on the series "Reno 911!" (Comedy Central, 2003-09), an unscripted documentary-style program that spoofed the television series "Cops" (FOX, 1989- ). While Nash's raunchy comedy attracted a mostly grown-up audience, she also co-starred in the Disney 3D film, "G-Force" (2009), a comedy-adventure about a covert government program that trains guinea pigs to save the world. With her unique brand of comedy, feisty personality, and unmistakable sense of style, Nash was undoubtedly one of television's most colorful, well-rounded personalities.
Carol Denise Ensley was born on Feb. 23, 1970 in Palmdale, CA. She spent most of her childhood in St. Louis, MO; it was there that the budding comedienne first harbored dreams of becoming a TV star. When she was five, she glimpsed the 1970s actress Lola Falana - the "First Lady of Las Vegas" - performing on TV. It was in that moment that Nash decided that she, too, was going to be a famous star with flowers in her hair; even picking up the nickname "Lola" in homage to the woman who inspired her dream. When she moved back to Los Angeles at age eight, Nash had all the makings of an entertainer. But before she started making people laugh, Nash had to overcome tragedies that tested her resilience. In 1985, she witnessed her mother shot in the back by a boyfriend, who later set their house on fire before committing suicide. To help her mother heal, she tapped into her comedic gift and began developing a stand-up routine. But tragedy struck once again. In 1993, Nash's younger brother was shot to death, due to a love triangle gone wrong, while on his high school campus. In his memory, Nash and her mother later launched the organization Mothers Against Violence in Schools, or M.A.V.I.S., where she would remain as spokesperson.
After surviving such great loss, Nash continued to chase her showbiz dreams even more fervidly. She needed to because she would soon have an extra mouth to feed. After majoring in theater at California State University Dominguez Hills, Nash was married and gave birth to her first child. Determined to make a living in showbiz, the gutsy actress called a casting director that she had auditioned for months earlier and boldly proclaimed, "I don't know if you remember me. I'm Niecy Nash, I'm broke, I've got a baby, and I need a job." Impressed with such audacity, the casting director asked her to audition for the feature film, "Boys on the Side" (1995). Nash landed a small role in the drama and even had a memorable scene opposite the incomparable Whoopi Goldberg.
Her cameo in "Boys on the Side" led to more supporting roles; most notably in Robert Altman's comedy "Cookie's Fortune" (1999) starring Glenn Close and Julianne Moore, and the romantic comedy "The Bachelor" (1999) featuring Chris O'Donnell and Renee Zellweger. Like any struggling actress, she also contributed the usual guest appearances in top-rated crime dramas like "NYPD Blue" (ABC, 1993-2005) and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (CBS, 2000-15). However, it was her numerous TV appearances as a guest correspondent on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (NBC, 1992-2009), a recurring role on "The Bernie Mac Show" (FOX, 2001-06) as a hysterical babysitter; and as the voice of Tollie Mae, a loud, binge-eating maid in the short-lived animated series, "Kid Notorious" (Comedy Central, 2003) that thrust Nash into the mainstream consciousness and prepared her for the two off-beat roles that would propel her to stardom.
Nash's popularity really took off when the Style Network cast her as the host of the home makeover program "Clean House," where she became known as the "Queen of Clean." It was not too long before her fans recognized her by the flower she always tucked behind one ear - her signature look. Nash was perfectly cast as host, part decorator, and part-therapist in the Emmy-nominated show that became famous for rescuing families who were drowning in household clutter. She displayed a genuine concern for her guests as they resisted selling off their belongings to raise money for a makeover. Battling grime and grit was no easy task, but Nash made it look so effortless by infusing the show with her cheery personality, bright outfits, and positive outlook.
The talented comedienne also starred in the irreverent hit show "Reno 911!" as the curvaceous and brazen Deputy Raineesha Williams who wore a prosthetic posterior stuffed into a beige police uniform. Nash had said that her "Reno 911!" character was an amalgamation of all the women she had ever known. She often stole the show, a painfully obnoxious cop who often used her police authority, and her gigantic posterior to overpower men. She played another character on the show - the crazy T.T. To make her unrecognizable, her face was always shown blurred on TV. Nash donned the uniform, this time in electric blue, in the series' screen version "Reno 911!: Miami" (2007). In the film, Nash delivered the same bitingly funny performance her fans had come to expect and one that comedy film directors definitely took notice of.
Nash next starred in the short-lived sitcom "Do Not Disturb" (FOX, 2008) as Rhonda Peete, the mother hen to those who worked at a fictional hotel called The Inn. Her character was somewhat of a departure from her role on "Reno," as Rhonda was truthful to a fault, unlike Deputy Williams who could not tell the truth to save her life. The year 2009 was a particularly busy year for the self-made actress. She appeared in the romantic drama "Not Easily Broken" as Taraji Henson's best friend who stays by her side throughout Henson's troubled onscreen marriage. She also appeared in two hit comedies that year; as a woman who convinces Sandra Bullock to continue dating the man she loves in "The Proposal," and as Rosalita, a half-Spanish speaking woman who runs a pet store in the action-adventure "G-Force," a film about a group of specially trained guinea pigs whose mission is to stop an evil billionaire from taking over the world. To top off a productive year, "Clean House" received two Daytime Emmy nominations - for Outstanding Lifestyle Program and Outstanding Class Special for "Clean House: Messiest Home in the Country." Meanwhile, she joined the season 10 cast of "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), appearing alongside a motley crew of celebrities that included Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Pamela Anderson and Shannen Doherty.
Cast (Feature Film)
First film appearance, "Boys on the Side"
Made TV debut in an episode of "Party of Five" (Fox)
Had a small role in Robert Altman's "Cookie's Fortune"
Appeared on the Disney Channel's "That's So Raven" as a TV psychic named Madame Cassandra
Voiced Tollie Mae, a loud, binge-eating maid, in the short-lived animated series, "Kid Notorious" (Comedy Central)
Played Deputy Raineesha Williams on the Comedy Central series, "Reno 911!"
Guest starred on Fox's "The Bernie Mac Show" as a hysterical babysitter
Host of "Clean House" on the Style Network
Worked as a correspondent for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (NBC)
Provides the voice of Mrs. Boots on the ABC Family animated series, "Slacker Cats"
Reprised her role of Deputy Williams for the screen version of "Reno 911!: Miami"
Starred as Rhonda, opposite Jerry O'Connell, in the short-lived Fox sitcom, "Do Not Disturb"
Had a supporting role in the romantic drama "Not Easily Broken" as Taraji Henson¿s best friend
Played a Spanish speaking woman who runs a pet store in the action-adventure, "G-Force"
Joined the CBS's entertainment news program, "The Insider," as a celebrity panelist
Joined the tenth season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" as a celebrity contestant