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).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Began her performing career at age seven, playing Ethel Waters's niece on the sitcom "Beulah"
Starred in the CBS variety series "The Leslie Uggams Show"
Played Kizzy on the landmark ABC miniseries "Roots"
Returned to feature films after a long absence to act in "Sugar Hill"
Had a starring role in "King Hedley II," for which she earned a Tony nomination
Played the angel Jordan in the dramatic stage version of "Heaven Can Wait" performed at Westport Country Playhouse
Co-starred as Blind Al in comedy action hit "Deadpool"