Marla Gibbs

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Marla Gibbs
Marla Gibbs.jpg
Gibbs in 2012.
Born Margaret Theresa Bradley
(1931-06-14) June 14, 1931 (age 83)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Actress, comedienne, singer
Years active 1973–present
Spouse(s) Jordan Gibbs (m. 1955–73)
Children 3
Relatives Susie Garrett (sister)

Marla Gibbs (born Margaret Theresa Bradley; June 14, 1931) is an American actress, singer, writer and producer.Gibbs is best known for her role as Louise and George Jefferson's feisty maid, Florence Johnston, in the long-running CBS sitcom, The Jeffersons (1975-1985), for which she received five Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series nominations. She also starred in the show's spin-off Checking In (1981).

From 1985 to 1990, Gibbs had the leading role as Mary Jenkins in the NBC sitcom, 227, which she also co-produced.[1] In later years, Gibbs played supporting roles in films The Meteor Man (1993), Lost & Found (1999), The Visit (2000), The Brothers (2001), and Madea's Witness Protection (2012). Gibbs has won seven NAACP Image Awards.[2]

Early life[edit]

Gibbs was born Margaret Theresa Bradley on June 14, 1931, in Chicago, Illinois to Ophelia Birdie (née Kemp) and Douglas Bradley.[3] She attended Wendell Phillips Academy High School in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago's south side graduating in 1949.[4] Shortly after high school, Gibbs moved to Detroit, Michigan where she attended Peters Business School. She worked as a reservations agent for United Airlines before relocating with her children from Detroit to Los Angeles.

Career[edit]

Gibbs in 2014

Gibbs got her first acting job in early 1970s, in the blaxploitation films Sweet Jesus, Preacher Man and Black Belt Jones. In 1975 she was cast as Florence Johnston, the family sassy, backtalking, wisecracking maid, in the CBS comedy series, The Jeffersons. The show is one of the longest-running sitcoms in the history of American television. For her performance in series, Gibbs was nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series five times, and once for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film. In 1981 she starred in the short-lived spin-off of The Jeffersons, called Checking In.[2]

In 1985, when The Jeffersons was cancelled after 11 seasons, Gibbs began starring as lead actress in the NBC sitcom, 227. The series aired to 1990, producing more that 100 episodes. In later years, Gibbs had number of supporting film roles, and guest starred on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Touched by an Angel, Judging Amy, ER, and Southland.[5] From 1998 to 2002 she had the recurring role on The Hughleys. In 2012, Gibbs appeared in the Tyler Perry film Madea's Witness Protection,[6] and in 2014 starred in the independent film, Grantham & Rose.[7][8]

Gibbs owned a jazz club in South Central L.A. called "Marla's Memory Lane Jazz and Supper Club" from 1981 to 1999. As singer, she released number of music albums.

Personal life[edit]

She was married to her high school sweetheart Jordan Gibbs from 1955 to 1973; the couple had three children:[2] Angela Gibbs, Dorian Gibbs and Joseph Gibbs. Her older sister is the late actress Susie Garrett. Her daughter Angela Gibbs is also an actress who appeared in movies such as Together Brothers, Drumline and Think Like A Man Too.

On June 14, 2011, she celebrated her 80th birthday.[9]

On July 31, 2014, Gibbs attended the Leimert Park Village Book Fair in Los Angeles, California, to pay tribute to both of her longtime friends, Maya Angelou, who passed away on May 28, and Ruby Dee, 2 weeks later, on June 11, and 3 days, before Marla's 83rd Birthday.[10]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1973 Sweet Jesus, Preacherman Beverly Solomon
1974 Black Belt Jones Bartender Uncredited
1975 The Missing Are Deadly Nurse Television film
1977 Passing Through Secretary
1979 You Can't Take It with You Rheba Television film
1990 Menu for Murder Marty Hallard Television film
1991 Up Against the Wall Louise Bradley
1991 Last Breeze of Summer Short film
1993 The Meteor Man Maxine Reed
1994 Lily in Winter Maize Covington
1998 Border to Border Dela
1999 Foolish Odetta
1999 Lost & Found Enid
2000 The Visit Lois Waters Method Fest Independent Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
2000 Stanley's Gig Eleanor Whitney
2001 The Brothers Mary West
2005 Love on Layaway Narrator
2006 The Ties That Bind Delores Short film
2006 The Heart Specialist Ms. Overwood
2009 The What Goes Around Ms. Lacey Short film
2009 Afro Ninja Aunt Mary
2009 Just Like Family Mabel Jenkins
2009 Devil's Land Judge Martha M. Levine
2010 Sunnyview Mrs. Harris Short film
2012 Who Killed Soul Glow?
2012 C'mon Man Mrs. Crabtree
2012 Madea's Witness Protection Hattie
2013 Forbidden Woman Mrs. Simmons
2014 Grantham & Rose Rose Price
2015 The Man in 3B Ms. Mamie

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1975 Barney Miller Mrs. McBee Episode: "Vigilante"
1976 Arthur Hailey's The Moneychangers Beth Euphrates Miniseries
1981 Checking In Florence Johnston Series regular, 4 episodes
1981 The Love Boat Janet Dalton Episode: "The Incredible Hunk/Isaac, the Marriage Counselor/Jewels & Jim"
1984 Pryor's Place Miss Stern 3 episodes
1975-1985 The Jeffersons Florence Johnston Series regular, 207 episodes
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1981-1985)
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1985)
Nominated — TV Land Award for Favorite Made-for-TV Maid
1985-1990 227 Mary Jenkins Series regular, 115 episodes
1993 A Different World Principal Shaw Episode: "To Whit, with Love"
1993 In the Heat of the Night Lilly Baker Episode: "A Baby Called Rocket"
1993 Empty Nest Josephine Douglas Episode: "Mother Dearest"
1995 Dream On Mrs. Perry Episode: "Little Orphan Eddie"
1995 Martin Miss Minnie Episode: "Housekeeper from Hell"
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
1996 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Florence Johnston Episode: "I, Done: Part 2"
1997-1998 101 Dalmatians: The Series Duchess (voice) 8 episodes
1999 Martial Law Dolores Parker 2 episodes
1999 Dawson's Creek Mrs. Fran Boyd Episode: "First Encounters of the Close Kind"
2000 Touched by an Angel Millie Episode: "The Invitation"
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
2001 Judging Amy Zella Van Exel Episode: "Between the Wanting and the Getting"
2002 The King of Queens Nana Louise Episode: "Patrons Ain't"
1998-2002 The Hughleys Hattie Mae Hughley 16 episodes
2002 The Rerun Show Dr. Beamish Episode: "The Facts of Life: Shoplifting/The Jeffersons: A Bedtime Story"
2004 Passions Aunt Irma Recurring role
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series
2004 Listen Up Jackie Widmer Episode: "Thanksgiving"
2005 ER Cherise Barnes Episode: "Only Connect"
2005 Cold Case Georgie Episode: "Best Friends"
2008 Lincoln Heights Hazel Roberson Episode: "The Day Before Tomorrow"
2011 House of Payne Florence Johnston Episode: "Curtis Jefferson"
2012 Southland Ms. Miller Episode: "Underwater"
2013 Mr. Box Office Florence Johnston Episode: "The Golden Apple"
2012-2013 The First Family Grandma Eddy 11 episodes
2014 Old Soul Agnes Pilot

References[edit]

  1. ^ Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Marla Gibbs". Yahoo Movies. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Marla Gibbs Biography (1931?-)". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Maudlyne Ihejirika. "HistoryMakers-bringing-actress-Marla-Gibbs-to-Phillips-High - Chicago Sun-Times". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Marla Gibbs to Guest-Star on Southland". TV Guide. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Latest Church & Entertainment News". The Church Lady Blogs. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Marla Gibbs set for ‘Grantham and Rose’". Variety. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  8. ^ Tambay A. Obenson (20 November 2013). "Watch Marla Gibbs, Tessa Thompson, Jake T. Austin In Trai - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Happy Birthday, Marla!". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  10. ^ http://flcourier.com/2014/07/31/l-a-book-fair-to-honor-maya-angelou-ruby-dee/

External links[edit]