|Birth name||Vivian Smallwood|
|Born||June 18, 1933|
|Origin||Castaic, California, U.S.|
In 1989, she released a little-known, self-titled music video called "Rock-n-Soul". The video can be seen here.
Smallwood has been a working Hollywood actress since the mid '90s. She has appeared in numerous television shows with small parts and a few feature films. Some of her credits include, Everybody Hates Chris, Malcolm in the Middle, The Shield, and The Ladykillers. In Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996) she is even credited as Vivian 'Rappin Granny' Smallwood. She also played "Nano" in Big Bad Beetleborgs, a show on the former Fox Kids network.
According to an interview that aired on America's Got Talent, Smallwood began rapping at the insistence of her son, who noticed her dancing across the room while hip-hop music was playing in the background. After a number of private performances in front of family members, Smallwood auditioned for the new talent contest co-created by famous music executive Simon Cowell.
America's Got Talent
In her audition, Rappin' Granny gave a performance that was very popular among the crowd and the judges, all of whom (Brandy, David Hasselhoff, and Piers Morgan) advanced her to the next round by way of a unanimous vote.
Smallwood then returned for the semifinal episode that aired July 26, 2006. After another crowd-pleasing song, the judges again put her through to the next round, by another unanimous vote.
However, the final round was not kind to Smallwood; not only did she not win the million-dollar prize, she finished in the bottom half of the public vote that determined the winner, as announced by host Regis Philbin.
Smallwood has 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
- Vivian Smallwood at the Internet Movie Database
- Fresno Bee article
- San Jose Mercury News article
- Columbus times article