Leslie Uggams


Actor, Singer

Biography

Leslie Marian Uggams was born May 25, 1943 in New York City to a singer father and dancer mother. Uggams followed in her parents' footsteps, performing at the age of six at the Apollo Theater and earning notability on the game show "Name That Tune" (CBS 1953-59) at the age of 12, earning a record deal with Columbia Records as a result. She went on to study at Juilliard School, and in the...

Biography

Leslie Marian Uggams was born May 25, 1943 in New York City to a singer father and dancer mother. Uggams followed in her parents' footsteps, performing at the age of six at the Apollo Theater and earning notability on the game show "Name That Tune" (CBS 1953-59) at the age of 12, earning a record deal with Columbia Records as a result. She went on to study at Juilliard School, and in the meantime earned a recurring position on "Sing Along with Mitch" (NBC 1961-66). The years to come brought Uggams a variety of successes: She made her film debut in "Two Weeks in Another Town" (1962), her Broadway debut "Hallelujah, Baby!" (1967), and landed her very own variety series: "The Leslie Uggams Show" (CBS 1969). Although her eponymous program did not enjoy a lengthy stay on television, it hardly proved much of a hiccup in Uggams' ascent. In fact, her greatest victories would come in the years to follow, when she starred on the critically acclaimed miniseries "Roots" (ABC 1977) as Kizzy, the daughter of LeVar Burton's lead character Kunta Kinte; Uggams was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her performance on the show. In the 1980s, Uggams' principal energies targeted the stage; she starred in plays including "Blues of the Night" (1982), "Jerry's Girls" (1985), and "Anything Goes" (1989). She began acting less frequently from there on out, though did appear in the film "Sugar Hill" (1993), a Broadway production of "King Hedley II" (2001), for which she won a Tony, and on several episodes of the drama series "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime 2009-2015). Uggams returned to the big screen to play Blind Al in the Marvel Comics film "Deadpool" (2016).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Deadpool 2 (2018)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017)
Deadpool (2016)
Toe to Toe (2009)
Sugar Hill (1993)
Sizzle (1981)
Poor Pretty Eddie (1975)
Skyjacked (1972)
Lovejoy Wells
Black Girl (1972)
Netta
Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
Chanteuse

Cast (Special)

Roots -- Celebrating 25 Years: The Saga of an American Classic (2002)
The Trumpet Awards (2001)
Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over (2001)
Interviewee
NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT (1998)
NYTV: By the People Who Made It (1998)
The 50th Annual Tony Awards (1996)
Performer
A CAPITOL FOURTH -- 1995 (1995)
Jerry Herman's Broadway at the Bowl (1994)
THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT (1992)
The 43rd Annual Tony Awards (1989)
Performer
The Ice Capades With Jason Bateman and Alyssa Milano (1989)
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1988)
Performer
That's What Friends Are For: AIDS Concert '88 (1988)
54th Annual King Orange Jamboree Parade (1987)
The 40th Annual Tony Awards (1986)
Performer
Christmas at Radio City Music Hall (1986)
The Night of 100 Stars II (1985)
The 39th Annual Tony Awards (1985)
Performer
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (1985)
The 38th Annual Tony Awards (1984)
Performer
Small World (1982)
Host
Placido Domingo... Stepping Out With the Ladies (1980)
The Kraft 75th Anniversary Special (1978)
General Electric's All-Star Anniversary (1978)
Sinatra and Friends (1977)
Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes (1977)
Female Team Member
Perry Como's Spring in New Orleans (1976)
Swing Out, Sweet Land (1976)
The American Film Institute Salute to John Ford (1973)
Performer
Jack Lemmon in 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Gershwin (1972)
Super Comedy Bowl 1 (1971)
Sing Along With Mitch (1960)
Guest

Music (Special)

The Ice Capades With Jason Bateman and Alyssa Milano (1989)
Song Performer
Happy Birthday, Bob -- 50 Stars Salute Your 50 Years With NBC (1988)
Song Performer
The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1988)
Song Performer
Christmas at Radio City Music Hall (1986)
Song Performer ("Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" "We Need A Little Christmas")

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Backstairs at the White House (1979)
Roots (1977)

Life Events

1950

Began her performing career at age seven, playing Ethel Waters's niece on the sitcom "Beulah"

1969

Starred in the CBS variety series "The Leslie Uggams Show"

1977

Played Kizzy on the landmark ABC miniseries "Roots"

1993

Returned to feature films after a long absence to act in "Sugar Hill"

2001

Had a starring role in "King Hedley II," for which she earned a Tony nomination

2001

Played the angel Jordan in the dramatic stage version of "Heaven Can Wait" performed at Westport Country Playhouse

2016

Co-starred as Blind Al in comedy action hit "Deadpool"

Photo Collections

Poor Pretty Eddie - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Poor Pretty Eddie (1975), starring Michael Christian, Leslie Uggams, and Shelley Winters. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Skyjacked (1972) - That Man Doesn't Fool Around The leading man (Charlton Heston) taking charge, with Ken Swofford on the tarmac, Yvette Mimieux and Mike Henry in the lounge, singer Leslie Uggams among the flight attendants, and a ruling for passengers Roosevelt Grier and James Brolin, opening the early disaster-thriller Skyjacked,1972.
Poor Pretty Eddie - Times Has Changed Sheriff Orville (Slim Pickens) dominates dinner chat with stranded singer Liz (Leslie Uggams) and twisted hosts Eddie (Michael Christian) and Bertha (Shelley Winters), arriving late, in Poor Pretty Eddie, 1975.
Poor Pretty Eddie - Publicity Shots Wanna-be country star Eddie (Michael Christian) is gracious toward captive celebrity Liz (Leslie Uggams) whom he's recently raped, and now takes to visit a local mill, in Poor Pretty Eddie, 1975.
Poor Pretty Eddie - Open, Liz Wetherly Leslie Uggams (as "Liz Wetherly) with a crisp Star-Spangled Banner at a football game, and the opening credits for director Richard Robinson's Poor Pretty Eddie, 1975.
Poor Pretty Eddie - Nikon Unseen by locals Keno (Ted "Lurch" Cassidy) and Eddie (Michael Christian), stranded celebrity Liz (Leslie Uggams) snaps away with her Nikon while they work on her Rolls, in Poor Pretty Eddie, 1975.
Poor Pretty Eddie - Keep Them Dogs Quiet! Eddie (Michael Christian) is minding his own in the vacant lodge when Keno (Ted "Lurch" Cassidy) brings in a celebrity (Leslie Uggams) with car trouble, in Poor Pretty Eddie, 1975.
Poor Pretty Eddie - Bertha Apparently an ex-starlet, Bertha (Shelley Winters) mostly pantomimes in her opening scene in writer-director Richard Robinson's 1975 exploitation piece Poor Pretty Eddie, starring Leslie Uggams.

Bibliography