Berlinda Tolbert

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Berlinda Tolbert
Berlinda Tolbert 1975.jpg
Tolbert circa 1975.
Born (1949-11-04) November 4, 1949 (age 68)
Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Nationality American
Education North Carolina School of the Arts
Occupation Actress
Years active 1974–2013
Known for Jenny Willis Jefferson – The Jeffersons
Spouse(s) Bob Reid (m. 1979)
Damon Evans and Tolbert on TV's The Jeffersons (1976)

Berlinda Tolbert (born November 4, 1949) is an American film and television actress. Tolbert is best known for her role as Jenny Willis Jefferson, the daughter of Tom and Helen Willis on the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons, which originally aired from 1975 until 1985.

Early life and education[edit]

Tolbert majored in theater at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.[1] She also studied drama in London.[2]


In a 2013 interview, Tolbert stated, "I’ve only had one job in my entire life… professional actress."[3] She got her first film part from Martin Scorsese in the early 1970s, when she was in acting school.[3]

The Jeffersons[edit]

On The Jeffersons, Tolbert played Jenny, the daughter of interracial couple Tom and Helen Willis, friends of George and Louise Jefferson. During the series, Jenny became engaged to Lionel Jefferson, the son of George and Louise; they married and had a daughter. Tolbert played the role of Jenny for the run of the series, from 1975-1985.[4] Tolbert was born just one day after Mike Evans (1949–2006), the original actor who played her boyfriend/husband Lionel. They were also both born in North Carolina. As of December 2016, Tolbert, Marla Gibbs, Jay Hammer and Damon Evans (Lionel #2) are the last surviving members of The Jeffersons main cast.

Later career[edit]

In 1981, Tolbert competed for the CBS team on Battle of the Network Stars.[5] In 1983, Tolbert starred in the Maya Angelou play On A Southern Journey.[6] Following the cancellation of The Jeffersons in 1985, Tolbert appeared in films including Harlem Nights, Goodfellas, and Patriot Games, and television shows including ER, Six Feet Under, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.[7] Tolbert appeared in the 2011 indie film Last Ride on the Midwest Pacific.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Tolbert married journalist Bob Reid in 1979.[8]

Filmography (selected)[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Last Ride on the Midwest Pacific Angeline
2007 Live! Clarissa Boyd
2004 Strange Fruit Emma Ayers
1994 Dangerous Touch Sasha Taylor
1992 Patriot Games Sissy
1990 Goodfellas Stacks' Girlfriend
1989 Harlem Nights Annie


Year Title Role Notes
2007 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Barbara Episode: Leapin' Lizards
2005 Six Feet Under Debra Episode: Time Flies
2004 ER Nancy Natarelli Episode: Blood Relations
2001 Half & Half Denise Episode: The Big Forbidden Fruit Episode
2001 Dead Last Yolanda Episode: The Problem with Corruption
1999 Home Improvement Noreen Episode: The Long and Winding Road: Part 1
1998 The Army Show Phyliss Henchy Two episodes
1998 7th Heaven Ms. Hanover Episode: It Takes Two, Baby
1997 Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Mrs. Hecht Episode: The Crucible
1993 FBI: The Untold Stories Mary Smith Episode: Mary
1990 Jake and the Fatman Episode: Goodbye
1990 Gabriel's Fire Shelly Episode: To Catch a Con: Part 2
1987 Amen Darlene Episode: Thelma's Reunion
1985 Hotel Michelle Todd Episode: Resolutions
1984 Airwolf Lea Logana Episode: And They Are Us
1981-1985 The Love Boat Lynda Miles / Patty Phelps Two episodes
1981-1984 Fantasy Island Sandy Hoffman / Linda Bell / Billie Joe Three episodes
1975-1985 The Jeffersons Jenny Willis Jefferson / Jenny Willis 66 episodes
1975 Police Woman Lily Thomas Episode: The Chasers'
1975 S.W.A.T Joanne Wyatt Episode: Death Score'
1975 Mannix Jobina Rogell Episode: Chance Meeting
1975 All in the Family Jenny Willis Episode: The Jeffersons Move on Up
1974 The Streets of San Francisco Chris Jackson Episode: For Good or Evil
1974 Sanford and Son Delores Episode: Sanford and Niece


  1. ^ "Jeffersons' Jenny Has A 'Guardian Angel' She'd Like To Thank - If Possible". Jet. July 21, 1977. pp. 62–63. Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  2. ^ Louie Robinson (January 1976). "The Jeffersons: A look at life on black America's new 'Striver's Row'". Ebony. p. 115. Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Deanna Martin-Osuagwu (November 5, 2013). "What ever happened to... Berlinda Tolbert?". Jet. Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  4. ^ Kathleen Fearn-Banks (August 4, 2009). The A to Z of African-American Television. Scarecrow Press. pp. 205, 220, 440. ISBN 9780810863484. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Battle of the Netowrk Stars XI". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Berlinda Tolbert Stars In Maya Angelou Play". Jet. December 19, 1983. p. 61. Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Remembering the Cast of The Jeffersons". BET. January 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Berlinda Tolbert, Los Angeles, Bob Reid, New York". Ebony. March 1986. p. 160. Retrieved December 16, 2016. 

External links[edit]