||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
May 6, 1953
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
Vantile Whitfield (m. 1974; div. 1978)Brian Gibson (m. 1990; div. 1992)
|Children||Grace Gibson |
Lynn Whitfield (née Butler-Smith; born May 6, 1953) is an American actress.
Whitfield began her acting career in television and theatre, before progressing to supporting roles in film. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special and a NAACP Image Award for her performance as Josephine Baker in the HBO movie The Josephine Baker Story (1991). She also won NAACP Image awards for her work in Touched by an Angel (1998), The Planet of Junior Brown (2000) and Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story (2004).
Her film work includes performances in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996), Eve's Bayou (1997), The Cheetah Girls (2003), Madea's Family Reunion (2006), and The Cheetah Girls 2 (2006). Kings Faith (2013)
Whitfield was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the daughter of Jean (née Butler), an officer of a finance agency, and Valerian Smith, a dentist. The eldest of four children and a third-generation BFA graduate from Howard University. Her dentist father was instrumental in developing Lynn's initial interest in acting as he was a prime figure in forming community theater in her native Baton Rouge. First garnering attention on the stage by studying and performing with the Black Repertory Company in Washington, D.C, she married one of the company's co-founders and pioneers of black theatre, playwright/director/actor Vantile Whitfield in 1974. She eventually moved to New York and appeared off-Broadway in such shows as "The Great Macdaddy" and "Showdown" before earning acclaim in the 1977 Los Angeles production of the landmark play 'for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf' co-starring Alfre Woodard.
Lynn Whitfield is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Whitfield had a series of television appearances before her film career began, including playing Jill Thomas in the award-winning series Hill Street Blues. After gaining attention on stage in Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Whitfield appeared in supporting roles in such films as Doctor Detroit (1983) and Silverado (1985). She gained wider success by starring in the television films The George McKenna Story, Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI, (both 1986), and the miniseries The Women of Brewster Place (1989).
Whitfield achieved international recognition in the title role of The Josephine Baker Story (1991), the HBO biopic requiring her to age from 18 to 68. She portrayed the American Folies Bergère star who became a Resistance fighter during WWII and civil rights activist. In a highly publicized casting call, Whitfield was chosen over more than 500 women. She won an Emmy Award for her role and said this gave her, "the greatest sense of accomplishment and realization of my vision. It absolutely called upon everything I thought I could do at that point." Around this time she also married the film's director, Brian Gibson. They had a daughter named Grace Gibson and divorced in 1992.
A Thin Line Between Love and Hate and Gone Fishin' (both 1996) increased her exposure. Whitfield then appeared in Eve's Bayou (1997), as the head of a prosperous, socially prominent black family in Louisiana. She returned to a similar milieu as snobby Martha's Vineyard matron Corinne Coles in the ABC miniseries The Wedding (1998). In recent years, she starred as Dorthea Garibaldi in both The Cheetah Girls and The Cheetah Girls 2. She also starred in Mama, I Want To Sing! with Ciara, and in 2006's film drama Madea's Family Reunion.
|1981||Hill Street Blues||Jill Thomas||Television program
Episodes: "Chipped Beef"
"Fecund Hand Rose"
"Can World War III Be an Attitude?"
|1982||For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf||Woman in the bath||American Playhouse
|1983||Doctor Detroit||Thelma Cleland|
|1983||Matt Houston||Val||Television program
Episode: "The Centerfold Murders"
|1983–1985||This Is the Life||Norma||Television program
Episodes: "Certain Arrangements"
"How Shall We Then Live?"
|1985||Cagney & Lacey||Eleanor Taggart||Television program
Episodes: "Who Says It's Fair: Part 1"
"Who Says It's Fair: Part 2"
|1985||Slugger's Wife, TheThe Slugger's Wife||Tina Alvarado|
|1985||Miami Vice||Odette Ribaud||Television program
Episode: "Bought and Paid For"
|1985||Fall Guy, TheThe Fall Guy||Jeanne||Television program
Episode: "Escape Claus"
|1986||Johnnie Mae Gibson: FBI||Johnnie Mae Gibson||Television film|
|1986||George McKenna Story, TheThe George McKenna Story||Bobbie Maxwell||Television film|
|1986||New Mike Hammer, TheThe New Mike Hammer||Della Marvel||Television program
Episode: "Harlem Nocturne"
|1986||Tall Tales & Legends||Pollie Ann||Television program
Episode: "John Henry"
|1987||Dead Aim||Sheila Freeman|
|1987||Jaws: The Revenge||Louisa|
|1988||St. Elsewhere||Annie Callan||Television program
|1988||Heartbeat||Dr. Cory Banks||Television program
|1989||Women of Brewster Place, TheThe Women of Brewster Place||Luciela||Miniseries|
|1990||Zora Is My Name||American Playhouse
|1990||Matlock||Angela Page||Television program
Episodes: "The Informer: Part 1"
"The Informer: Part 2"
|1991||Trials of Rosie O'Neill, TheThe Trials of Rosie O'Neill||Television program
Episode: "Domestic Silence"
|1991||Equal Justice||Maggie Mayfield||Television program
|1991||Josephine Baker Story, TheThe Josephine Baker Story||Josephine Baker||Television film|
|1991||Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story, AA Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story||Natala||Television film|
|1992||Stompin' at the Savoy||Esther||Television film|
|1993||Taking the Heat||Carolyn Hunter||Television film|
|1994||In the Army Now||Sgt. Ladd|
|1994||State of Emergency||Dehlia Johnson||Television film|
|1994||Thicker Than Blood: The Larry McLinden Story||Bobbie Mallory||Television film|
|1994–1995||Cosby Mysteries, TheThe Cosby Mysteries||Barbara Lorenz||Television program
"One Day at a Time"
"Home, Street Home"
|1996||Sophie & the Moonhanger||Sophie||Television film|
|1996||Thin Line Between Love and Hate, AA Thin Line Between Love and Hate||Brandi|
Episodes: "Goin' Overboard: Part 1"
"Goin' Overboard: Part 2"
|1997||Touched by an Angel||Dr. Serena Hall||Television program
Episodes: "Amazing Grace: Part 1"
"Amazing Grace: Part 2"
|1997||Planet of Junior Brown, TheThe Planet of Junior Brown||Mrs. Brown|
|1997||Eve's Bayou||Roz Batiste|
|1998||Stepmom||Dr. P. Sweikert|
|1998||Wedding, TheThe Wedding||Corinne Coles||Television film|
|1999||Color of Courage, TheThe Color of Courage||Minnie McGhee||Television film|
|1999||Deep in My Heart||Corinne Burrell||Television film|
|1999||Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story||Lori Jackson||Television film|
|1999||Love Songs||Jean Simpson||Television film|
|2000||Time for Dancing, AA Time for Dancing||Linda Derricks|
|2001||Girl Thing, AA Girl Thing||Nia Morgan||Television film|
|2001||Boston Public||Louanna Harper||Television program
|2002–2006||Without a Trace||Paula Van Doren||Television program
"Are You now or Have You Ever Been"
"Fallout: Part 1"
"Fallout: Part 2"
"Lost and Found"
|2003||Head of State||Debra Lassiter|
|2003||Cheetah Girls, TheThe Cheetah Girls||Dorothea||Television film|
|2004||Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story||Barbara Becnel||Television film|
|2004||Strong Medicine||Dr. Marshall||Television program
Episode: "Race for a Cure"
|2006||Madea's Family Reunion||Victoria|
|2006||Cheetah Girls 2, TheThe Cheetah Girls 2||Dorothea||Television film|
|2006||Shark||Anita Astin||Television program
|2008||Kings of the Evening||Gracie|
|2008||Women, TheThe Women||Glenda Hill|
|2011||Mama, I Want to Sing!||Lillian Winter|
|2011||Rebound, TheThe Rebound||Laura|
|2011||FlashForward||Anastasia Markham||Television program
Episode: "White to Play"
|2011||All Things Fall Apart||Bee|
|2012||Somebody's Child||Constance||Television film|
|2012||Battlefield America||Ms. Parker|
|2012||Prodigy Bully||Angela Washington||Television film|
|2012||Redemption of a Dog||Francine|
|2014||Hit the Floor||Vanessa Howard|
|2014||How to Get Away With Murder||Mrs. Walker|
Awards and nominations
|1991||Emmy Awards||"Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special"||Josephine Baker Story, TheThe Josephine Baker Story||Won|
|1992||Golden Globe Awards||"Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV"||Josephine Baker Story, TheThe Josephine Baker Story||Nominated|
|1993||NAACP Image Awards||"Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Mini-Series or Television Movie"||Josephine Baker Story, TheThe Josephine Baker Story||Won|
|1998||NAACP Image Awards||"Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture"||Eve's Bayou||Nominated|
|1998||NAACP Image Awards||"Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series"||Touched by an Angel||Won|
|1999||NAACP Image Awards||"Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie or Mini-Series"||Wedding, TheThe Wedding||Nominated|
|2000||NAACP Image Awards||"Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie/Miniseries/Dramatic Special"||Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story||Nominated|
|2000||NAACP Image Awards||"Outstanding Performance in a Youth or Children's Series/Special"||Planet of Junior Brown, TheThe Planet of Junior Brown||Won|
|2000||Black Reel Awards||"Network/Cable - Best Actress"||Love Songs||Nominated|
|2004||Black Reel Awards||"Television: Best Supporting Actress"||Cheetah Girls, TheThe Cheetah Girls||Nominated|
|2004||BET Comedy Awards||"Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Box Office Movie"||Head of State||Nominated|
|2004||NAACP Image Awards||"Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Program"||Cheetah Girls, TheThe Cheetah Girls||Nominated|
|2004||NAMIC Vision Awards||"Best Dramatic Performance"||Cheetah Girls, TheThe Cheetah Girls||Nominated|
|2005||Black Reel Awards||"Best Actress, Network/Cable Television"||Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story||Won|
|2005||NAACP Image Awards||"Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special"||Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story||Won|
|2006||Black Movie Awards||"Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role"||Madea's Family Reunion||Nominated|
- Shinhoster Lamb, Yvonne (2005-01-23). "Arts Administrator, Playwright Vantile Whitfield Dies". Washington Post (Washington, DC).
His marriages to Barbara Cobb, Barbara Grant Thomas and Lynn Whitfield, the actress and a former student, ended in divorce.
- "Lynn Whitfield Shimmies into the Skin of Sultry Josephine Baker".
- "Lynn Whitfield’s Daughter, Grace Gibson, Covers Adeles’ "Rumor Has It/Set Fire To The Rain"".
- "Lynn Whitfield Biography (1953?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2013-11-30.