Esther Rolle (1920–1998)


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Best known for the role of Florida Evans on the 1970s sitcoms Maude (1972) and Good Times (1974), African-American actress Esther Rolle proved to be as spirited and iron-willed off-camera as well. The gap-toothed actress with the gravelly voice was born in Pompano Beach, Florida, the 10th child of 18 born to Caribbean farming immigrants. Her first... See full bio »

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Known For

(1989)
Good Times Florida Evans
(1974-1979)
Maude Florida Evans
(1972-1974)
Rosewood Aunt Sarah
(1997)

Filmography

Hide Hide Show Show Actress (47 credits)
 2000 Train Ride
Dean of Students
 1998 Down in the Delta
Annie
 1998 Poltergeist: The Legacy (TV Series)
Grandma Rose
- La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1998) ... Grandma Rose
 1997 Promised Land (TV Series)
Mary Harding
- Amazing Grace: Part 2 (1997) ... Mary Harding
 1997 Touched by an Angel (TV Series)
Mary Harding
- Amazing Grace: Part 1 (1997) ... Mary Harding
 1997 Rosewood
Aunt Sarah
 1996 My Fellow Americans
Rita
 1995 How to Make an American Quilt
Aunt Pauline
 1994 Scarlett (TV Mini Series)
Mammy
- Episode #1.1 (1994) ... Mammy
 1993 To Dance with the White Dog (TV Movie)
Neelie
 1993 Message from Nam (TV Movie)
Queenie / Elizabeth McQueen
 1993 House of Cards
Adelle
 1991 Blackbird Fly (Short)
 1991 Cape Fear
Woman Watching Cady Get Out from Under the Car (uncredited)
 1990 The Kid Who Loved Christmas (TV Movie)
Esther Clayton
 1990 Singer & Sons (TV Series)
Sarah Patterson
- Our's Not to Reason Why Shmy (1990) ... Sarah Patterson
- Once Bitten (1990) ... Sarah Patterson
- The Boxer Rebellion (1990) ... Sarah Patterson
- Two Sons for Singer (1990) ... Sarah Patterson
 1989 Age-Old Friends (TV Movie)
Mrs. Baker
 1989 Driving Miss Daisy
Idella
 1989 The Mighty Quinn
Ubu Pearl
 1989 American Playhouse (TV Series)
Lena 'Mama' Younger
- A Raisin in the Sun (1989) ... Lena 'Mama' Younger
 1987 P.K. and the Kid
Mim
 1985 The Grand Baby (TV Movie)
Momma
 1985 Murder, She Wrote (TV Series)
Margaret
- Reflections of the Mind (1985) ... Margaret
 1983-1985 The Love Boat (TV Series)
Lillian Randolph / Judge Kramer
 1985 The New Mike Hammer (TV Series)
Viola Green
- Deadly Reunion (1985) ... Viola Green
 1984 Finder of Lost Loves (TV Series)
Nellie
- Goodbye, Sara (1984) ... Nellie
 1983 Fantasy Island (TV Series)
Mama
 1982 The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (TV Movie)
Nurse
 1982 The New Odd Couple (TV Series)
Ms. Gibbs
- The Ides of April (1982) ... Ms. Gibbs
 1982 Flamingo Road (TV Series)
Julia
- The Harder They Fall (1982) ... Julia
- The Bad and the Beautiful (1982) ... Julia
- The High and the Mighty (1982) ... Julia
 1981 Darkroom (TV Series)
Grandmother / Old Woman
- Needlepoint (1981) ... Grandmother / Old Woman
 1981 See China and Die (TV Movie)
Momma Sykes
 1974-1979 Good Times (TV Series)
Florida Evans
- The Evans' Dilemma (1979) ... Florida Evans (credit only)
- Cousin Raymond (1979) ... Florida Evans
- The End of the Rainbow (1979) ... Florida Evans
- A Matter of Mothers (1979) ... Florida Evans
- The Physical (1979) ... Florida Evans
 1979 The Incredible Hulk (TV Series)
Colleen Jensen
- Behind the Wheel (1979) ... Colleen Jensen
 1979 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (TV Movie)
Momma
 1978 Summer of My German Soldier (TV Movie)
Ruth
 1978 Winners (TV Series)
Shenendoah Griffin
- Journey Together (1978) ... Shenendoah Griffin
 1972-1974 Maude (TV Series)
Florida Evans
- Walter's Heart Attack (1974) ... Florida Evans (credit only)
- The Kiss (1974) ... Florida Evans (credit only)
- Maude Meets the Duke (1974) ... Florida Evans (credit only)
- Florida's Goodbye (1974) ... Florida Evans
- The Commuter Station (1974) ... Florida Evans (credit only)
 1973 Cleopatra Jones
Mrs. Johnson
 1972 Don't Play Us Cheap
Miss Maybell
 1971 Day of Absence (TV Movie)
Clubwoman
 1971 The Bold Ones: The Senator (TV Series)
Black Woman
- A Single Blow of a Sword (1971) ... Black Woman
 1968 N.Y.P.D. (TV Series)
the Nurse
- Encounter on a Rooftop (1968) ... the Nurse
 1968 One Life to Live (TV Series)
Sadie Gray #2 (1971)
 1967 Up the Down Staircase
Teacher (uncredited)
 1964 Nothing But a Man
Church Woman
Show Show Soundtrack (2 credits)
Show Show Thanks (1 credit)
Show Show Self (27 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (13 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Album: "The Garden of My Mind" (Savoy-16002). See more »

Spouse:

Oscar Robinson  (divorced)

Parents:

Jonathan Rolle | Elizabeth Rolle

Relatives:

Estelle Evans (sibling) | See more »
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Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

[on her insisting to the producers of Good Times (1974) that the show have a husband and father figure] I told them I couldn't compound the lie that black fathers don't care about their children. I was proud of the family life I was able to introduce to television. See more »

Trivia:

Originated the role of Dorcas Moulineaux in Steve Carter's play, "Dame Lorraine", at the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, Illinois on March 27, 1981. See more »

Trademark:

Gap between her two front teeth See more »

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