|Born||Madge Dorita Walters
April 28, 1938
|Died||December 20, 1995
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Complications of leukemia|
|Spouse(s)||Royston Sinclair (1951–1969; two sons)
Dean Compton (1982–95; her death)
|Parent(s)||Herbert Walters (father)
Jemima Walters (mother)
Madge Dorita Walters-Sinclair (April 28, 1938 – December 20, 1995) was a Jamaican American actress, best known for her roles in Cornbread, Earl and Me, Coming to America, Trapper John, M.D., and the ABC TV miniseries Roots. She also voiced the character of Sarabi, Mufasa's wife and Simba's mother, in the animated feature film The Lion King. Sinclair won the 1991 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Drama Series for her role as Empress Josephine in Gabriel's Fire.
Sinclair was born in Kingston, Jamaica to Herbert and Jemima Walters. She was a teacher in Jamaica until 1966 when she left for New York to pursue her career in acting.
Following Roots, she starred in the 1978 film Convoy as the Widow Woman, and she played Leona Hamiltons in Cornbread, Earl and Me. Sinclair received an Emmy Award nomination for her role as Belle in the miniseries Roots. Also in 1978, she co-starred in the short-lived sitcom Grandpa Goes to Washington. Sinclair went on to a long-running stint in the 1980s as nurse Ernestine Shoop on the series Trapper John, M.D. opposite Pernell Roberts. She received three Emmy nominations for her work on the show, and critic Donald Bogle praised her for "maintaining her composure and assurance no matter what the script imposed on her".
In 1988, Sinclair played Queen Aoleon alongside James Earl Jones' King Jaffe Joffer in the Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America, which reunited her on screen with her Roots husband and co-star John Amos. Later, both Sinclair and Jones would reunite as Queen and King for the roles of Sarabi, Simba’s mother, and Mufasa, Simba’s father, in the blockbuster Disney animated film The Lion King (1994), respectively. The film became one of the best-selling titles ever on home video. It would also be her last film role. The two also collaborated on the series Gabriel's Fire, which earned Sinclair an Emmy in 1991 for Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series, famously beating out the expected winner, L.A. Law's Diana Muldaur.
Sinclair played the role of Lally in the 1991 Channel 4 television miniseries The Orchid House (based on Phyllis Shand Allfrey's novel of the same name), directed by Horace Ové, and also received critical praise for her supporting role in the 1992 television movie Jonathan: The Boy Nobody Wanted with JoBeth Williams. In 1993, Sinclair came to London to appear on stage at the Cochrane Theatre in The Lion, by Michael Abbensetts, directed by Horace Ové for the Talawa Theatre Company. In 1994, she played a supporting role in the short-lived ABC-TV sitcom Me and the Boys, which starred Steve Harvey. Sinclair, in her brief role as the captain of the USS Saratoga in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, is commonly cited as the first female Starfleet starship captain to appear in Star Trek. (Joanne Linville had appeared as a Romulan commander 18 years earlier.) Years later, Sinclair played Geordi La Forge's mother, captain of the USS Hera, in Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Interface". Her final acting role was on the sitcom Dream On just one month later before her death.
Personal life and death
Sinclair was married to Royston Sinclair, a police officer, and had two sons with him, Garry and Wayne Sinclair. In 1982, she was married to actor Dean Compton. She died of leukemia in 1995. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered in her hometown in Jamaica.
|1972||Madigan||Episode: "The Midtown Beat"|
|1972||The Witches of Salem: The Horror and the Hope||Tituba|
|1974||I Love You... Good-bye||Salesgirl|
|1974||Medical Center||Arbiter||Episode: "Tainted Lady"|
|1974||The Waltons||Minnie Doze||Episode: "The Visitor"|
|1975||Cornbread, Earl and Me||Leona Hamilton|
|1975||Guess Who's Coming to Dinner||Sarah Prentiss||TV movie|
|1975||Joe Forrester||Sheila Gates||Episode: "Stake Out"|
|1975||Doctors' Hospital||Unknown||Episode: "Come at Last to Love"|
|1976||I Will, I Will... for Now||Dr. Williams|
|1976||Executive Suite||Judge Gillespie||Episode: "Who Shall Hall Bring Mercy"|
|1977||Roots||Belle Reynolds||3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
|1977||Serpico||Michelle||Episode: "One Long Tomorrow"|
|1978||ABC Afterschool Specials||Mrs. Bradsbury||Episode: "The Rag Tag Champs"|
|1978||One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story||Georgia LeFlore||TV movie|
|1978||Uncle Joe Shannon||Margaret|
|1979||The White Shadow||Louelia Judd||Episode: "Sudden Death"|
|1980-1986||Trapper John, M.D.||Ernestine Shoop||129 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (1983-1985)
|1984||ABC Afterschool Specials||Miss Thomas||Episode: "Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia"|
|1986||Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home||Saratoga Captain||Uncredited|
|1987||Mathnet||Amelia Airliver||Episode: "Problem of the Trojan Hamburger"|
|1987||Ohara||Gussie Lemmons||11 episodes|
|1987||Starman||Lorraine Michaels||Episode: "The Test"|
|1987||Look Away||Elizabeth Keckley||TV movie|
|1988||Coming to America||Queen Aoleon|
|1989||Gideon Oliver||Angela Holmes||Episode: "By the Waters of Babylon"|
|1989||Roseanne||Muriel Johnston||Episode: "Guilt by Disassociation"|
|1989||Midnight Caller||Ida May||Episode: "Take Back the Streets"|
|1990||The End of Innocence||Nurse Bowlin|
|1990-1991||Gabriel's Fire||Empress Josephine||22 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
|1991||The Orchid House||Lally||4 episodes|
|1991-1992||Pros and Cons||Josephine Austin||12 episodes|
|1992||L.A. Law||Jessica Rollins||Episode: "Diet, Diet My Darling"|
|1992||Tales from the Crypt||Lucille||Episode: "Curiosity Killed"|
|1993||Star Trek: The Next Generation||Captain Silva La Forge||Episode: "Interface"|
|1994||The Lion King||Sarabi||Animated film, Voice|
|1994-1995||Me and the Boys||Mary Tower||19 episodes|
|1995||Dream On||Mrs. Charles||Episode: "Little Orphan Eddie", (final television appearance)|
- Bogle, Donald (2001). Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television (First ed.). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0-374-23720-4.