Leila Danette

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Leila Danette
Born August 23, 1909
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Died September 4, 2012 (aged 103)
Occupation Actor
Years active 1976–2003

Leila Danette (August 23, 1909 – September 4, 2012)[1][2] was an African-American stage, film and television actress, noted for her stage work and for her role as Helen on the short-lived television sitcom, You Take the Kids.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Danette attended both Morgan State University and Howard University. Before becoming an actress, she worked as an elementary school teacher in Baltimore and taught speech to students in Washington, D.C..[3]

Danette began acting professionally on the stage at age 67.[3] One of her first substantial roles was opposite James Earl Jones in The Great White Hope. In 1982, she was noted for her performance in The Brothers.[4] In The New York Times Theatre Reviews 1999-2000, D. J. R. Brickner wrote of her performance in Uncle Jack, noting that she was a "Broadway veteran" who imbued her role of Mary with a "touching authenticity".[5]

In addition to stage roles, Danette appeared in several films including The First Deadly Sin (1980) and Garbo Talks (1984). She has also had guest roles on A Different World, The Cosby Show, Law & Order, and Third Watch.[6]


Year Film Role Notes
1980 The First Deadly Sin Woman on Step #1
1982 Benny's Place Role Unknown
1984 Death Mask Della
Garbo Talks Augusta
1986 Power Poor Woman
1987 The Rosary Murders Mrs. Washington
1988 Running on Empty Maid
1997 White Lies Woman #2 in Window
2003 Pieces of April Woman in Stairwell
Year Title Role Notes
1988 A Different World Mrs. Pruitt Episode: "A Stepping Stone"
1990–1991 You Take the Kids Helen 6 episodes
1992 The Cosby Show Mrs. Whittaker Episode: "The Price is Wrong"
1995 New York Undercover Mae Helen Episode: "Private Enemy No. 1"
1994–2001 Law & Order Various roles 4 episodes
2003 Third Watch Lucinda Episode: "A Ticket Grows in Brooklyn"


  1. ^ http://www.actorsequity.org/docs/news/en_01_2013.pdf
  2. ^ http://www.actorsguild.org/memoriam.html
  3. ^ a b "Leila Danette turns 100". Amityville Record. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Rich, Frank (6 April 1982). "Theater review: Black Anguish in 'Brothers'". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  5. ^ Bruckner, D. J. R. (2001). The New York Times Theatre Reviews 1999-2000 (illustrated ed.). Taylor & Francis. p. 202. ISBN 9780415936972. 
  6. ^ "Leila Danette". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 March 2010. 

External links[edit]