Victoria Rowell

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Victoria Rowell
De'Von Brown with Actress Victoria Rowell.jpg
Born Victoria Lynn Rowell
(1959-05-10) May 10, 1959 (age 55)
Portland, Maine, U.S.
Occupation Actress, presenter, writer
Years active 1987–present
Spouse(s) Tom Fahey (1989-1990)
Radcliffe Bailey (2009-present)

Victoria Lynn Rowell (born May 10, 1959)[1] is an American actress and dancer. She is best known for her portrayal of Drucilla Winters on the CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless, and medical examiner/pathologist Dr. Amanda Bentley on the CBS drama Diagnosis: Murder. From 1993 to 2000, she appeared on both series simultaneously.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Rowell was born in Portland, Maine, on May 10, 1959. Her biological mother, Dorothy Rowell, was of English descent and a Mayflower descendant, and her birth father, whose surname was Wilson, was of African-American descent.[2][3] Rowell knew very little about her father. Dorothy, who suffered from schizophrenia, took a taxi to a hospital to give birth to Rowell, leaving a son and two small daughters unsupervised. When she was 16 days old, Rowell, along with her two sisters, Sheree and Lori, was surrendered to child services.[4]

While living in Maine with foster parents Agatha C. and Robert Armstead,[3] Rowell, then eight, began ballet lessons. She became a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, an African-American Greek-Lettered Sorority. After dancing with the American Ballet Theater II and the Juilliard School of Music Dance Extension program with Antony Tudor, Rowell accepted guest artist teaching posts in New England.[5]

Acting career[edit]

In the 1980s, Rowell became an in-demand runway and catalog model. She began to take acting lessons and earned featured roles on television shows such as The Cosby Show. In 1990, she was cast as street urchin-turned-fashion model Drucilla Barber on the long-running soap opera The Young and the Restless. Rowell became a fan favorite and was nominated for three Daytime Emmy awards in 1996, 1997 and 1998. She won 11 NAACP Image Awards for her portrayal of Drucilla. Rowell's first run as Drucilla was from 1990 to 1998. She briefly returned in 2000, then returned on a regular basis from 2002 until early 2007.

Rowell also played Dr. Amanda Bentley on the CBS series Diagnosis: Murder, opposite Dick Van Dyke, replacing Cynthia Gibb. For much of Rowell's stint on Diagnosis: Murder, she was working on that show and on The Young and the Restless simultaneously. One episode of Diagnosis Murder centered around murder on the set of The Young and the Restless; Rowell was featured as both Amanda and Drucilla in that episode. During her time on Diagnosis, Rowell enjoyed a wonderful on- and off-screen friendship with Van Dyke, learning every case and medical terms in almost every episode. She was on the show until the series ended in 2001.

Rowell's departure from Y&R in April 2007 generated some media coverage and controversy. Rowell expressed her anger about routine backstage politics at the show, and in particular, how she perceived those events impacted her and prevented her from being nominated for a Daytime Emmy. Sony Pictures Television, which produces Y&R, ordered then-Head Writer Lynn Marie Latham to kill off Drucilla Barber Winters. Rowell herself said a few months prior to her exit (and before it was revealed that her character would be killed) that she quit Y&R because she had asked to be allowed to write for the show and was turned down.

Rowell was hired as a guest star to appear on Noah's Arc, a TV series about four gay black men living in Los Angeles. She appeared in Season Two as "Vonda," who is having an affair with a woman while married to her husband.

Rowell has also made appearances in several feature films, including The Distinguished Gentleman, Dumb & Dumber, Barb Wire, Eve's Bayou and Home of the Brave (in 2007).

In spring 2009, Rowell signed a six-figure deal with Atria Books for a book about the world of daytime TV. Rowell is currently on a national tour for her newest book, "Secrets Of A Soap Opera Diva", which some say is a thinly veiled look into her own life on Y&R.

She has been cast in a leading role on the CBS television pilot Peachtree Lines, a dramatic examination of political, social, and cultural issues in Atlanta. Also starring Treat Williams, Ving Rhames, James Van Der Beek, Jason Dohring, and Jena Malone.

Personal life[edit]

Rowell's first marriage was to Tom Fahey in 1989. They had a daughter, Maya, and divorced the following year. Rowell had a long-term relationship with musician Wynton Marsalis; and they had a son, Jasper (Jasper played Rowell's son CJ on Diagnosis: Murder starting with season 3).[6] In May 2008, Rowell announced her engagement to Radcliffe Bailey, an Atlanta artist, at her annual High Tea at Noon fundraiser. Victoria and Radcliffe married on June 27, 2009, in Dublin, New Hampshire.

Rowell was raised Protestant and later converted to the Catholic Church.[7]

In 1990, Rowell founded the "Rowell Foster Children Positive Plan",[8] which gives emotional support and financial aid to foster children, especially to those who aspire to become actors and dancers - the road Rowell took. In 2004, she was a special guest on the talk show Dr. Phil, in which she gave an emancipated foster child a chance at a job with Sony, dental care, and a scholarship from her foundation.

Work with foster children[edit]

In May 2006, Rowell was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Southern Maine in recognition of her work for the benefit of foster children. In 2007, Rowell published a memoir of her life that focused on her time in foster care. Entitled The Women Who Raised Me, Rowell discusses all of the foster mothers who cared for her and for her sisters. She also pays tribute to the women in a documentary film, The Mentor, that she participated in.[4] Rowell says that she began writing the book when Y&R turned down her offer to write for the show. She began a national book tour in April 2007.[9]

In March 2008, Victoria was the first recipient of the Gift of Adoption Celebration of Adoption Award, an award given to individuals or groups who are helping to unite children with forever families.

In March 2012, Storey Publishing released a book titled Tag, Toss & Run: 40 Classic Lawn Games, which Rowell co-authored with well-known environmental activist Paul Tukey.

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1987 Leonard Part 6 Joan Parker
1988 As the World Turns Nella Franklin (created by Douglas Marland; hired by Laurence Caso)
1989–1990 The Cosby Show Paula 2 Episodes
1990 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Mimi Mumford 1 Episode
1992 The Distinguished Gentleman Celia Kirby
1991–1993 Hermans Head Susan Bracken 2 Episodes
1994 Dumb and Dumber Beth Jordan
1995 Deadly Games Courtney Lake 1 Episode
1996 Barb Wire Cora D
1997 Eve's Bayou Stevie Hobbs
1999 A Wake in Providence Alissa
1993–2001 Diagnosis: Murder Amanda Bentley-Livingston 176 Episodes
2001 Family Law Ms. Wilkes 1 Episode
2001 Feast of All Saints Josette Metoyer
2002 A Town Without Pity Dr. Amanda Bentley TV movie based on the series Diagnosis: Murder
2003 Without Warning Dr. Amanda Bentley TV movie based on the series Diagnosis: Murder
2003 Black Listed Patricia Chambers
2004 Motives Detective Pierce
2005 A Perfect Fit Sheila
2006 Noah's Arc Vonda 2 Episodes
2006 Home of the Brave Penelope Marsh
2007 Polly and Marie Rebecca McCaw
2007 All of Us Deborah Cooper 1 Episode
1990–2007 The Young and the Restless Drucilla Winters 488 episodes
2008 Of Boys and Men Aunt Janay
2010 Ghost Whisperer Adrienne 1 Episode
2013 & 2014 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Delilah Hawkins 2 Episodes

Appearances[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1992 8th Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Female Newcomer: Daytime The Young and the Restless Nominated
1994 10th Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Scene Stealer The Young and the Restless Won
1994 26th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won
1995 11th Soap Opera Digest Awards Hottest Female Star The Young and the Restless Nominated
1996 27th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won
1996 23rd Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1997 24th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1997 28th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won
1998 25th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1998 29th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won
1999 30th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series Diagnosis Murder Nominated
1999 30th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won
2001 31st NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won
2003 34th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won
2003 18th Soap Opera Digest Awards Favorite Return The Young and the Restless Nominated
2004 35th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won
2005 19th Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role The Young and the Restless Nominated
2005 36th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won
2006 37th NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won

References[edit]

External links[edit]