Black Ladies of the Screen!

by willi-beckenlehner | created - 14 Aug 2011 | updated - 14 Mar 2012 | Public

1. Halle Berry

Actress | Catwoman

Halle Berry was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was African-American, and worked as a hospital attendant. Her mother, Judith Ann (Hawkins), who is Caucasian, has English and German ancestry, and is a retired psychiatric nurse. Halle has an older sister, Heidi Berry. Halle ...

2. Pam Grier

Actress | Jackie Brown

Pam Grier was born in Winston-Salem, NC, one of four children of Gwendolyn Sylvia (Samuels), a nurse, and Clarence Ransom Grier Jr., an Air Force mechanic. Pam has been a major African-American star from the early 1970s. Her career started in 1971, when Roger Corman of New World Pictures launched ...

3. Vivica A. Fox

Actress | Independence Day

Vivica A. Fox was born in South Bend, Indiana, on July 30, 1964, and is the daughter of Everlyena, a pharmaceutical technician, and William Fox, a private school administrator. She is of Native American and African-American descent and is proud of her heritage. She is a graduate of Arlington High ...

4. Nichelle Nichols

Actress | Star Trek

Nichelle Nichols was born Grace Nichols on December 28, 1932 in Robbins, Illinois. She began her show business career at age 16 as a singer with Duke Ellington in a ballet she created for one of his compositions and later sang with his band. After switching to acting, she was twice nominated for ...

5. Leslie Uggams

Actress | Deadpool

Leslie Uggams was born on May 25, 1943 in New York City, New York, USA. She is an actress, known for Deadpool (2016), Roots (1977) and Black Girl (1972). She has been married to Grahame Pratt since October 16, 1965. They have two children.

6. Hattie McDaniel

Actress | Gone with the Wind

After working as early as the 1910s as a band vocalist, Hattie McDaniel debuted as a maid in The Golden West (1932). Her maid-mammy characters became steadily more assertive, showing up first in Judge Priest (1934) and becoming pronounced in Alice Adams (1935). In this one, directed by George ...

7. Josephine Baker

Actress | Zouzou

Josephine Baker was born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, MO, in 1906 to Carrie McDonald, a laundress, and Eddie Carson, a musician. Her early life hinted at her future career. She first danced for the public on the streets of St. Louis for nickels and dimes. Later she became a chorus girl on...

8. Vanessa Williams

Actress | Ugly Betty

Vanessa Lynn Williams was born in Millwood, New York, to Helen L. (Tinch) and Milton Augustine Williams, Jr., both music teachers. Vanessa and her brother grew up in suburban New York in comfortable surroundings. Vanessa sang and danced in school productions and signed her high school yearbook with...

9. Lisa Bonet

Actress | Angel Heart

Lisa Bonet was born in San Francisco, California, to Arlene Joyce (Litman), a teacher, and Allen Bonet, an opera singer. She has lived most of her life in New York and Los Angeles, where she attended Reseda High School and Celluloid Actor's Studio. Her father was African-American and her mother was...

10. Keshia Knight Pulliam

Actress | The Cosby Show

Keshia Knight Pulliam was born on April 9, 1979 in Newark, New Jersey, USA. She is an actress, known for The Cosby Show (1984), Madea Goes to Jail (2009) and House of Payne (2006). She has been married to Ed Hartwell since January 1, 2016. They have one child.

11. Raven-Symoné

Actress | That's So Raven

Raven-Symoné Pearman was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Lydia (Gaulden) and Christopher Pearman. At a young age, she moved to New York. While there Raven signed with the Ford Modeling Agency. They sent her out on a audition for a movie called Ghost Dad (1990), which also starred the legendary Bill ...

12. Tempestt Bledsoe

Actress | The Cosby Show

Tempestt Bledsoe was born on August 1, 1973 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Tempestt K. Bledsoe. She is an actress, known for The Cosby Show (1984), ParaNorman (2012) and N-Secure (2010).

13. Aaliyah

Soundtrack | Romeo Must Die

Talented. Beautiful. Modest. These three words described R&B singer-turned-actress Aaliyah perfectly.

Aaliyah Dana Haughton was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Diane (Hankerson) and Michael Haughton. Her uncle was music manager Barry Hankerson and her brother is director Rashad Haughton. Aaliyah was ...

14. Sabrina Le Beauf

Actress | The Cosby Show

Sabrina LeBeauf was born in New Orleans, grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives on Maui, HI. She was a cast member in "Love, Loss and What I Wore" by Nora and Delia Ephron at the Westside Theatre in New York, the Delaware Theatre Center and the Scottsdale Centre for the Arts. She has done ...

16. Queen Latifah

Actress | Chicago

Often considered hip-hop's first lady (though some would attribute that to Roxanne Shanté), the woman behind the moniker Queen Latifah was born Dana Elaine Owens on March 18, 1970, in East Orange, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Rita (Bray), a teacher, and Lancelot Owens, Sr. She came from a ...

17. Phylicia Rashad

Actress | The Cosby Show

Phylicia Rashad was born in Houston, Texas, to African-American parents, Vivian Elizabeth (Ayers), a poet and art director, and Andrew Arthur Allen, an orthodontist. As a child, Phylicia, her older brother Andrew (called Tex), and younger sister, dancer and actress Debbie Allen, lived in Mexico. ...

18. Whoopi Goldberg

Actress | Ghost

Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on November 13, 1955. Her mother, Emma (Harris), was a teacher and a nurse, and her father, Robert James Johnson, Jr., was a clergyman. Whoopi's recent ancestors were from Georgia, Florida, and Virginia. She worked in...

19. Janet Jackson

Soundtrack | Poetic Justice

Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 in Gary, Indiana, to Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse) and Joe Jackson, a musician. She is the youngest of ten children. After her birth, her brothers formed a band later called The Jackson 5. She lived at home with her sisters, while ...

20. Grace Jones

Actress | A View to a Kill

Miss Grace Jones was born May 19, 1948 in Spanish Town, St Catherine - Jamaica, to Marjorie Jones (née Williams) and Reverend Robert W. Jones. Though she was born in Jamaica, Grace was raised in Syracuse, New York, where she later studied Spanish at Syracuse University. Halfway through college, she ...

21. Rachel Luttrell

Actress | Stargate: Atlantis

Rachel Luttrell is an accomplished actress and singer who has worked in film, television and on stage. Rachel Zawadi Luttrell was born in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and is the second-born of four daughters to Veronica Makihiyo Shenkunde Luttrell, the daughter of a powerful medicine man of the ...

22. Zoe Saldana

Actress | Guardians of the Galaxy

Zoe Saldana was born on June 19, 1978 in Passaic, New Jersey, to Asalia Nazario and Aridio Saldaña. Her father was Dominican and her mother is Puerto Rican. She was raised in Queens, New York. When she was 10 years old, she and her family moved to the Dominican Republic, where they would live for ...

23. Samantha Mumba

Actress | The Time Machine

Samantha Mumba was born on January 18, 1983 in Dublin, Ireland as Samantha Tamanya Anne Cecelia Mumba. She has been married to Torray Scales since February 24, 2012. They have one child.

24. Khandi Alexander

Actress | CSI: Miami

Khandi Alexander was born on September 4, 1957 in New York City, New York, USA. She is an actress, known for CSI: Miami (2002), Treme (2010) and Scandal (2012).

25. Jada Pinkett Smith

Actress | The Matrix Revolutions

Jada Koren Pinkett Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Robsol Grant Pinkett, Jr., a contractor, and Adrienne Banfield-Jones, a nurse. They divorced after only a few months of marriage. Her father is of African-American descent and her mother is of Afro-Caribbean ancestry (from Barbados and ...

26. Lela Rochon

Actress | Waiting to Exhale

Lela Rochon was born on April 17, 1964 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Lela Rochon Staples. She is an actress and producer, known for Waiting to Exhale (1995), Gang Related (1997) and Any Given Sunday (1999). She has been married to Antoine Fuqua since April 9, 1999. They have two children. She ...