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Beah Richards (1920–2000)

Beah Richards left her native Vicksburg, Mississippi, for New York City in 1950. She would not acquire a significant role on stage until 1955, when she appeared in the off-Broadway show "Take A Giant Step" convincingly portraying an 84-year-old grandmother without using theatrical makeup. In 1962 she appeared in writer James Baldwin's "The Amen ... See full bio »

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IMDbTV Pick: Showtime's "Penny Dreadful"

The subtle trick Showtime's "Penny Dreadful is that it is far less about the blood, gore and the specter of gruesome death than the sharp pain and exhilarating pleasure of living, and the terror of feeling alone even in close company. Read our review in the May Picks section.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Known For


Hide Hide Show Show Actress (74 credits)
 2000 The Practice (TV Series)
Gertrude Turner
- Till Death Do Us Part (2000) ... Gertrude Turner
 1998 Beloved
Baby Suggs
 1994 Out of Darkness (TV Movie)
Mrs. Cooper
 1993 The John Larroquette Show (TV Series)
Gene's Momma
- Amends (1993) ... Gene's Momma
 1993 Matlock (TV Series)
Martha Jordan
- The Diner (1993) ... Martha Jordan
 1990-1993 Designing Women (TV Series)
Minnie / Mrs. Bouvier
- Wedding Redux (1993) ... Mrs. Bouvier
 1992-1993 Hearts Afire (TV Series)
Miss Lula
- Trivial Pursuit (1993) ... Miss Lula
- While the Thomasons Slept (1992) ... Miss Lula (credit only)
- Everyday's a Holiday (1992) ... Miss Lula (credit only)
- Smithersgate (1992) ... Miss Lula (credit only)
- The Fundamental Things Apply (1992) ... Miss Lula (credit only)
 1991 One Special Victory (TV Movie)
Cora Simms
 1988-1991 Murder, She Wrote (TV Series)
Emma Coop / Ola Mae
- Judge Not (1991) ... Emma Coop
- Mourning Among the Wisterias (1988) ... Ola Mae
 1991 Family Matters (TV Series)
- I Should Have Done Something (1991) ... Helen
 1990 Brewster Place (TV Series)
Bernice Sands
- Bernice Sands Comes Home (1990) ... Bernice Sands
- One Small Step at a Time (1990) ... Bernice Sands
 1986-1990 227 (TV Series)
Carolyn Hurley
 1990 Capital News (TV Movie)
 1990 Equal Justice (TV Series)
Mrs. Davis
- Balancing Act (1990) ... Mrs. Davis
 1989-1990 L.A. Law (TV Series)
Alberta Williams
- Blood, Sweat and Fears (1990) ... Alberta Williams (uncredited)
- Placenta Claus Is Coming to Town (1989) ... Alberta Williams
 1990 American Playhouse (TV Series)
- Zora Is My Name! (1990)
 1989 Drugstore Cowboy
Drug Counselor
 1988 The Facts of Life (TV Series)
- Present Imperfect (1988) ... Grandmother
 1987 Frank's Place (TV Series)
Olive Varden
- The Bridge (1987) ... Olive Varden
 1986-1987 Hunter (TV Series)
Pockets / Ella Mae Fuller
- Not Just Another John Doe (1987) ... Pockets / Ella Mae Fuller
- Saturday Night Special (1986) ... Pockets / Ella Mae Fuller
 1987 Big Shots
Miss Hanks
 1987 CBS Summer Playhouse (TV Series)
- Barrington (1987) ... Katherine
 1987 Time Out for Dad (TV Movie)
Miss Aldrich
 1986 Inside Out
 1986 As Summers Die (TV Movie)
Elvira Backus
 1986 Acceptable Risks (TV Movie)
Sally Framm
 1986 Deadly Nightmares (TV Series)
- The Curse (1986) ... Serita
 1986 Hill Street Blues (TV Series)
Aunt Feeney
- Scales of Justice (1986) ... Aunt Feeney
- Das Blues (1986) ... Aunt Feeney
 1985 Generation (TV Movie)
 1985 Punky Brewster (TV Series)
Mrs. Carney
- I Love You, Brandon (1985) ... Mrs. Carney
 1985 And the Children Shall Lead (TV Movie)
Miss Annie
 1981-1984 Benson (TV Series)
Mrs. DuBois / Benson's Mother
- Home for Christmas (1984) ... Mrs. DuBois
- No Sad Songs (1981) ... Benson's Mother
 1984 St. Elsewhere (TV Series)
- Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1984) ... Regina
 1984 The New Mike Hammer (TV Series)
Maddy Higgins
- Dead Card Down (1984) ... Maddy Higgins
 1983 Bay City Blues (TV Series)
 1982 Capitol (TV Series)
Therese (1986)
 1981 The Sophisticated Gents (TV Movie)
Mae Porter
 1980 A Christmas Without Snow (TV Movie)
Wendell's Grandma
 1980 Palmerstown, U.S.A. (TV Series)
Grandma Jenny
- The Old Sister (1980) ... Grandma Jenny
 1980 Vega$ (TV Series)
- The Hunter Hunted (1980) ... Mom
 1979 Banjo the Woodpile Cat (TV Short)
Zazu (voice)
 1978 Ring of Passion (TV Movie)
Lilly Brooks
 1976 Just an Old Sweet Song (TV Movie)
 1976 Petrocelli (TV Series)
Bessie Jones
- Jubilee Jones (1976) ... Bessie Jones
 1975 Mahogany
 1974 Apple's Way (TV Series)
Mrs. Thaxter
- The Witness (1974) ... Mrs. Thaxter
 1973 A Dream for Christmas (TV Movie)
Grandma Bessie
 1973 Outrage (TV Movie)
 1973 The Magician (TV Series)
Mrs. Thatcher
- Lightning on a Dry Day (1973) ... Mrs. Thatcher
 1972 Footsteps (TV Movie)
Jessie Blake
 1970-1971 The Bill Cosby Show (TV Series)
Rose Kincaid / Chet's Mom
- The Generation Gap (1971) ... Rose Kincaid
- The Lincoln Letter (1970) ... Chet's Mom
- There Must Be a Party (1970) ... Rose Kincaid
 1970 To Confuse the Angel (TV Movie)
 1970 The Great White Hope
Mama Tiny
 1970 It Takes a Thief (TV Series)
Sister Martha Gowen
- To Sing a Song of Murder (1970) ... Sister Martha Gowen
 1969 Room 222 (TV Series)
Mrs. Moore
- Arizona State Loves You (1969) ... Mrs. Moore
 1969 Ironside (TV Series)
Aunt Ruby
- Alias Mr. Braithwaite (1969) ... Aunt Ruby
 1969 Hawaii Five-O (TV Series)
Mama Grant
- Once Upon a Time: Part II (1969) ... Mama Grant
 1967 In the Heat of the Night
Mama Caleba
 1967 I Spy (TV Series)
- Cops and Robbers (1967) ... Mother (as Bea Richards)
 1967 Hurry Sundown
Rose Scott
 1965-1966 The Big Valley (TV Series)
Hannah James
- The Lost Treasure (1966) ... Hannah James
- Boots with My Father's Name (1965) ... Hannah James
 1966 Dr. Kildare (TV Series)
- Adrift in a Sea of Confusion (1966) ... Alice
- Gratitude Won't Pay the Bills (1966) ... Alice
 1963 Gone Are the Days!
Idella Landy
 1959 Take a Giant Step
May Scott
 1958 The Mugger
Grecco Maid
Show Show Self (2 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (3 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Stage: Appeared (as "Idella Landy") in "Purlie Victorious" on Broadway. Comedy. Written by Ossie Davis. Directed by Howard Da Silva. Cort Theatre (moved to The Longacre Theatre from 20 Nov 1961-13 May 1962): 28 Sep 1961-13 May 1962 (261 performances). Cast: Ossie Davis (as "Purlie Victorious Judson"), Ruby Dee (as "Lutiebell Gussie ... See more »

Publicity Listings:

1 Biographical Movie | 2 Articles | See more »

Alternate Names:

Bea Richards

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

in "I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America"] There are a lot of movies out there that I would hate to be paid to do, some real demeaning, real woman-denigrating stuff. It is up to women to change their roles. They are going to have to write the stuff and do it. And they will.


For her work on the legitimate stage, she was honored with the Paul Robeson Pioneer Award and was inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame. See more »

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Beah: A Black Woman Speaks? alucard1-1
Only 7 years older than Sidney Poitier.. jtissothatch
Great new Site Dedicated to Beah Richards triseven
Beah Richards....A beautiful actress mspolk2006
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