A powerful and commanding singer and actress, Lynne Thigpen first gained attention on stage in the pop musical "Godspell" and repeated her role in the 1973 film version. She continued to carve out a niche on stage in productions varied as "The Magic Show" (1976) and a Tony-nominated turn in multiple roles in "Tintypes" (1981). Thigpen again played several roles (including an ex-slave and entertainer Moms Mabley) in Off-Broadway's "And I Ain't Finished Yet" before making the most of a small role as a camera operator in the hit comedy film "Tootsie" (1982). Segueing to the small screen, she joined the cast of the NBC sitcom "Love, Sidney" in 1982, playing a secretary and was among the cast of regulars in the summer variety series "The News Is the News" (NBC, 1983). One of her best screen roles came as a black activist determined to oust hard-nosed principal Joe Clark (portrayed by Morgan Freeman) in the biopic "Lean on Me" (1989). That same year, Thigpen portrayed the straight-laced radio station manager in the NBC sitcom "FM." While she continued to act in features ("Bob Roberts" 1992; "Just Cause" 1995) and on stage (notably in "Fences" opposite Billy Dee Williams and a Tony-winning turn as a feminist doctor in "An American Daughter"), she is perhaps best known to children of a certain age as 'The Chief' of the game shows "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?" (PBS, 1991-96) and "Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?" (PBS, 1996-98). Fans of daytime television would also remember her for her compelling turn as the grief-stricken Grace Keefer (who kidnapped a baby) in ABC's "All My Children," a role she essayed from 1993 to 1997 while primetime viewers may recognize her from her series parts or recurring roles on "L.A. Law" (as a district attorney) and "thirtysomething." More recently, Thigpen landed the pivotal role of the new employer of tobacco industry whistle-blower Jeffery Wigand in Michael Mann's Oscar-nominated "The Insider" (1999). The following year, she made regular appearances in support of Craig T Nelson in the CBS drama "The District."
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Reprised stage role for film debut in "Godspell"
Broadway debut in the short-lived "The Night That Made America Famous"
Appeared in "The Magic Show", with score by Schwartz
Received Tony nomination for playing several roles in the musical "Tintypes"
Acted small role of cameraperson in the hit film "Tootsie"
Was a regular in the summer variety series "The News Is the News" (NBC)
Appeared in John Malkovich's acclaimed stage revival of "Balm in Gilead"
Had recurring role in "thirtysomething"
Co-starred in the film "Lean on Me"
Joined cast of the ABC daytime drama "All My Children", playing Grace Keefer
Had supporting role in the feature thriller "Just Cause"
Played recurring role of the ex-wife of a college professor on the short-lived Fox sitcom "The Preston Episodes", starring David Alan Grier
Gave award-winning supporting performance in Wendy Wasserstein's Broadway comedy-drama "An American Daughter"
Had supporting role in "The Insider" as the new employer of whistleblower Jeffery Wigand
Co-starred in the CBS fall drama "The District"
Recreated award-winning stage role in Lifetime movie version of "An American Daughter"
Played the officious office manager in "Novocaine"