||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
July 22, 1954 |
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Alma mater||The New School|
|Occupation||Actress, Singer, Songwriter, Screenwriter, Producer, Director|
|Spouse(s)||Leo Compton (m. February 1, 1983–1990)|
Lonette McKee Twitter
Lonette McKee (born July 22, 1954 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American film, television and theater actress, music composer/producer/songwriter, screenwriter and director. She is most known for her role as Sister Williams in the original 1976 film Sparkle. She is also known for roles in such movies as The Cotton Club, ATL and Honey. She also appeared on the CW sitcom The Game as Mrs. Pitts, the mother of Jason (played by Coby Bell).
Early life and career
McKee was born in Detroit, Michigan, the second of three daughters of Dorothy, a Scandinavian, and Lonnie McKee, an African American bricklayer and auto manufacturer employee. McKee's career began in the music business in Detroit as a child prodigy, where she started writing music/lyrics, singing, playing keyboards and performing at the age of seven. At fourteen, she recorded her first record, which became an instant regional pop/R&B hit. McKee wrote the title song for the film Quadroon when she was fifteen. Several years later, McKee was launched to stardom with her critically acclaimed performance in the hit 1976 musical drama Sparkle.
She has written and produced three solo LPs, the most recent, Natural Love, for Spike Lee's Columbia 40 Acres and A Mule label. McKee scored the music for the well-received cable documentary on the Lower Manhattan African Burial Ground, as well as numerous infomercials. McKee has toured extensively throughout the world singing concert performances, including the JVC Jazz Festival at Carnegie Hall. McKee studied film directing at The New School in New York and apprenticed directing with filmmaker Spike Lee. She also studied singing with Dini Clark and ballet with Sarah Tayir, both in Los Angeles.
McKee won critical acclaim for her Broadway debut performance in the musical The First in the early 1980s, co-starring in the role of Jackie Robinson's wife Rachel. She became the first African American to play the coveted role of Julie in the Houston Grand Opera's production of Show Boat on Broadway, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. Her tragic portrayal of jazz legend Billie Holiday in the one-woman drama with music, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill won critical acclaim, standing ovations and a Drama Desk Award nomination. She reprised the role of 'Julie' on Broadway in the most recent revival of the musical Show Boat directed by Hal Prince. McKee is currently developing plans to establish a performance arts center in the New York tri-state area. McKee performs her one-woman memoir with music on stages throughout the country. She is producing her first feature film Dream Street, which she wrote and will direct.
|This Narrow Place||Mrs. Shaw|
|2010||Dream Street||as Herself|
|2004||She Hate Me||Lottie Armstrong|
|The Paper Mache Chase||Lisa||short film|
|2001||A Day in Black and White||as Herself|
|2000||Men of Honor||Ella Brashear|
|Fast Food Fast Women||Sherry-Lynn|
|1999||Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years||Mama Delany||Tv movie|
|1998||He Got Game||Martha Shuttlesworth|
|Blind Faith||Carol Williams|
|1997||To Dance with Olivia||Olivia 'Libby' Stewart||TV movie|
|1992||Malcolm X||Louise Little|
|1990||Dangerous Passion||Meg||TV movie|
|1989||The Women of Brewster Place||Lorraine||TV mini-series|
|1987||Gardens of Stone||Betty Rae|
|1986||'Round Midnight||Darcey Leigh|
|1985||Brewster's Millions||Angela Drake|
|1984||The Cotton Club||Lila Rose Oliver|
|1982||Illusions||Mignon Dupree||Short film|
|1977||Which Way Is Up?||Vanetta|
|2007||The Game||Maria Pitts||Episode: It's Hard Being Kelly Pitts|
|2006||1-800-Missing||Miss Chambers||Episode: Exposure|
|2006||Half & Half||Tanya||Episode: The Big Thanks for Nothing Episode|
|1999-2003||Third Watch||Maggie Davis|
|2002||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Maggie's Attorney||Episode: Chameleon|
|1993||Tribeca||as Herself||Episode: The Loft|
|1991||L.A. Law||Episode: There Goes the Judge|
|1989||Amen||Tanya DuBois||Episode: The Psychic (Part 1)
The Psychic (Part 2)
|1986||Miami Vice||Alicia Mena||Episode: Stone's War|
|1985||The Equalizer||Dr. Elly Walton||Episode: Reign of Terror|
|Spenser: For Hire||Hillary||Episode: Blood Money|
McKee was married to youth counselor Leo Compton from 1983 to 1990. In the mid-'90s, she was living in an Upper East Side brownstone with her companion, musician Bryant McNeil. The two had met while they were working together on McKee's Natural Love album. McKee teaches a master acting workshop at Centenary College of New Jersey, where she serves as an adjunct professor in the Theater Arts department.
- After Singing Her Own Blues, Lonette Mckee Finds a Perch as Off Broadway's Billie Holiday
- Jones, Charisse (29 December 1994). "AT HOME WITH: Lonette McKee; A Life Between, On Stage and Off". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- Lonette McKee Biography (1954?-)