May 30, 1962 |
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Alma mater||Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
Columbia College Chicago
California Western School of Law
|Spouse(s)||Ron Brawer (m. 1987–1993)
Hubert Kelley (m. 1984–1987)
Tonya Pinkins (born May 30, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American television, film and theater actress and author known for her portrayal of Livia Frye on the soap opera All My Children and for her roles on Broadway, She has been nominated for three Tony Awards and has won the Obie, 2 Lortel Awards, the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Audelco, Garland, LA Drama Critic's, Clarence Derwent and NAACP Theater Awards. She has been nominated for the Olivier, Helen Hayes, Noel, Joseph Jefferson, NACCP Image, Soap Opera Digest and Ovation awards. She won the Tony for Jelly's Last Jam.
Pinkins was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her father was a police officer and insurance salesman and her mother is a former postal worker and current CTA driver. She has two brothers, Eric Swoope and Thomas Swoope and a sister Tamera Swoope. Pinkins also has three nephews Angelo Swoope 23, Jeremy Swoope 24 and Varnell Turner 27 and one niece, Marquita Swoope 26. She was interested in the arts from a young age. In high school, she studied acting at the Goodman Theatre Young People's Program. Aged 18, she briefly attended college but decided to drop out in order to pursue her acting career. She later returned to college, earning an undergraduate degree from Columbia College in Chicago, followed by graduate work at Carnegie Mellon's music theater program, and a year at California Western School of Law in San Diego.
Pinkins is probably most admired for her stage work. She won a Tony Award for her performance as Sweet Anita in Jelly's Last Jam and was nominated for her role in Play On!. Her additional Broadway credits include Merrily We Roll Along, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The Wild Party, House of Flowers, Radio Golf and A Time To Kill. She played the title role in Caroline, or Change, for which she was again nominated for a Best Leading Actress in a Musical Tony.
She has performed in several Off Broadway productions, including the comic role of Mopsa, the Shepherdess, in The Winter's Tale produced by the Riverside Shakespeare Company at The Shakespeare Center in 1983. She has also had a prolific television career making guest appearances on such television shows as Army Wives, 24, Law & Order, The Cosby Show, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, and The Guardian among others. During the mid-1980s Pinkins created the role of Heather Dalton on the CBS soap, As the World Turns. In 1991 she was cast as Livia Frye in All My Children. Pinkins left All My Children in 1995 but returned to her role in 2003. She was later put on contract with the show from March 2004 until June 2006, when she was downgraded to recurring status. She has played Amala Motobo on the popular television show 24. She has appeared in several films in supporting roles, including, Newlyweeds, Home, Fading Gigolo opposite Woody Allen, Enchanted, Premium, Romance & Cigarettes, Noah's Arc: Jumping The Broom and Above the Rim among others. Pinkins performs several cabaret shows including Bring On The Men with Brad Simmons, Tonya Pinkins UnPlugged at The National Black Theater Festival and Hurricane Ethel
Awards and Honors
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- 2012 LUCILLE LORTEL NOMINATION- Best featured Actress in a Play- MILK LIKE SUGAR
- 2012 NOEL NOMINATION - Best featured Actress in a Play- MILK LIKE SUGAR
- 2010 HELEN HAYES Nomination- Best actress in a play- BLACK PEARL SINGS
- 2008 OVATION Nomination- Best Actress in a Play- AND HER HAIR WENT WITH HER
- 2007 WHATS ON STAGE Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical in London- CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2007 AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD for favorite Featured Actress in a Play- RADIO GOLF
- 2007 OLIVIER NOMINATION for Best Actress in a Musical for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2005 NACCP THEATER AWARD Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2004-2005 LOS ANGELES DRAMA CRITICS AWARD- Lead Actress for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2004 BACKSTAGE “GARLAND AWARD”- Outstanding Performance for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2004 AUDELCO AWARD for Best Actress in a Musical for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2004 LUCILLE LORTEL AWARD for Best Actress in a Musical for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2004 TONY NOMINATION for Best Actress in a Musical for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2004 OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE NOMINATION for Best Actress in a Musical for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2004 DRAMA DESK NOMINATION for Best Actress in a Musical for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2004 DRAMA LEAGUE NOMINATION for Best Actress in a Musical for CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 2003-2004 OBIE AWARD - Best Actress in a Musical- CAROLINE OR CHANGE
- 1998 BLACK THEATER ALLIANCE AWARD, Best Featured Actress for "Play On," Goodman Theater, Chicago
- 1998 JOSEPH JEFFERSON NOMINATION, Best Actress in a Musical for "Play On," Goodman Theater, Chicago
- 1997 TONY NOMINATION, Best Actress in a Musical for "Play On," Broadway
- 1992 OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD, Best Featured Actress in a Musical for "Jelly's Last Jam," Broadway
- 1992 N.A.A.C.P. IMAGE NOMINATION, Best Actress in a Daytime Drama for "All My Children"
- 1992 TONY AWARD, Best Featured Actress in a Musical for "Jelly's Last Jam," Broadway
- 1992 DRAMA DESK AWARD, Best Featured Actress in a Musical" for "Jelly's Last Jam," Broadway
- 1992 CLARENCE DERWENT AWARD, Most Promising Actress of the Season for "Jelly's Last Jam," Broadway
- 1992 MONARCH AWARD, Best Actress in a Musical for "Jelly's Last Jam," Broadway
- 1992 SOAP OPERA DIGEST NOMINATION, Best Featured Actress in a Daytime Drama for "All My Children"
- 1980 NATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT SCHOLAR
Pinkins, who is divorced, is the mother of four children. Two, Max and Miles, of which she lost custody of in the 1980s. The third, Miaja, she lost custody of in 2011.Tonya has been married and divorced three times. The first was to Hubert Kelly, whom she married in July 1984 and divorced on January, 5 1987. The second was to Ron Brawer, whom she married on February 12 1987 and had 2 children; they divorced in 1993.
Midtown Murder Conspiracy Theory
On December 10, 2012, law student Brandon Lincoln Woodard was murdered on West 58th Street, in New York City; no one has been charged with the killing, and law enforcement officials said no arrest are imminent. Tonya Pinkins advanced the beginnings of a conspiracy theory involving Woodard, his parents, and Pinkins' ex-boyfriend. "We've been waiting for something like this," she told Showbiz411 columnist Roger Friedman. "Their enemies list is huge." Pinkins says murdered Brandon Woodard’s name is on documents created by his mother, Sandra Mcbeth Reynolds, on various loans and mortgages. “She would sell properties to Brandon and then he would default on them.” Pinkins says she has a mound of paperwork with McBeth and Woodard’s names, a complicated paper trail. In 2009, to bolster her accusations against Brandon's mother, Pinkins created a website, Legally Proven Facts About Sandra McBeth, with links to court cases in which Reynolds had been involved. Ultimately the case was thrown out because the information on the website was all derived from public records, Pinkins said.  Sandra McBeth has countered with her own website: www.sandrakaymcbeth.wordpress.com.
- Broadway World: Tonya Pinkins
- Playbill News: Her Shining Hour: Tonya Pinkins Sings Arlen
- For a photo of Tonya Pinkins in the role of Mopsa in The Winter's Tale, see Riverside Shakespeare Company
- Tonya Pinkins at the Internet Movie Database
- Tonya Pinkins at the Internet Broadway Database
- Tonya Pinkins at the Internet Movie Database
- Tonya Pinkins at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Tonya Pinkins' Official website