Gibbs in 2012.
|Born||Margaret Theresa Bradley
June 14, 1931
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||Wendell Phillips High School|
|Occupation||Actress, singer, comedienne, writer, television producer|
|Spouse(s)||Jordan Gibbs (m. 1955–73)|
|Relatives||Susie Garrett (sister)|
Marla Gibbs (born Margaret Theresa Bradley; June 14, 1931) is an American actress, singer, writer and producer. Gibbs is best known for her role as Louise and George Jefferson's feisty maid, Florence Johnston, in the long-running CBS sitcom, The Jeffersons (1975–85), for which she received nominations for five Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She also starred in the show's spin-off Checking In (1981). From 1985 to 1990, Gibbs had the leading role as Mary Jenkins in the NBC sitcom, 227, which she also co-produced and sang on the theme song. Gibbs has won a total of seven NAACP Image Awards.
Gibbs was born Margaret Theresa Bradley on June 14, 1931, in Chicago, Illinois to Ophelia Birdie (née Kemp) and Douglas Bradley. She attended Wendell Phillips Academy High School in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago's south side graduating in 1949. Shortly after high school, Gibbs moved to Detroit, Michigan where she attended Peters Business School. She worked as a reservations agent for United Airlines before relocating with her children from Detroit to Los Angeles.
Gibbs got her first acting job in the early 1970s, in the blaxploitation films Sweet Jesus, Preacher Man and Black Belt Jones. In 1975 she was cast as Florence Johnston, the family's sassy, backtalking, wisecracking maid, in the CBS comedy series, The Jeffersons. The show is one of the longest-running sitcoms in the history of American television. For her performance on the series, Gibbs was nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series five times, and once for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film. In 1981 she starred in the short-lived spin-off of The Jeffersons, called Checking In.
Gibbs responded in a 2015 interview on Broadway Showbiz, when asked if she'd portrayed any of the characters that she played in real-life; "Yes, Florence was like my aunt and grandmother so I lived it. She came easy to me so I'm like Florence in giving smart answers, but I was also shy so I wouldn't have dared to say some of the things Florence said. I prefer to do whatever I can do at the moment. Whoever's hiring me at the moment...that's what I'm supposed to do. My favorite is Drama. I'm doing that now (on Scandal), but also still doing Comedy on Hot in Cleveland."
In 1985, when The Jeffersons was cancelled after 11 seasons, Gibbs began starring as the lead actress in the NBC sitcom, 227. The series aired until 1990, producing more that 100 episodes. About two decades later, Gibbs teamed up again with former 227 co-star and long-time friend, Jackée Harry, to star together in The First Family, where Gibbs had a recurring role as Harry's on-screen mother, Grandma Eddy. Then, she again worked with Harry, in another independent film, Forbidden Woman.
Gibbs had a number of supporting film roles, and guest starred on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Touched by an Angel, Judging Amy, ER, and Southland. From 1998 to 2002 she had a recurring role on The Hughleys. In 2012, Gibbs appeared in the Tyler Perry film Madea's Witness Protection, and in 2014 starred in the independent film, Grantham & Rose. In 2015, she had cameo appearance in the episode of Shonda Rhimes' drama series, Scandal.
Gibbs owned a jazz club in South Central L.A. called "Marla's Memory Lane Jazz and Supper Club" from 1981 to 1999. As singer, she released number of music albums.
She was married to her high school sweetheart Jordan Gibbs from 1955 to 1973; the couple had three children: Angela Gibbs, Dorian Gibbs and Joseph Gibbs. Her older sister is the late actress Susie Garrett. Her daughter Angela Gibbs is also an actress who appeared in movies such as Together Brothers, Drumline and Think Like A Man Too.
On June 14, 2011, she celebrated her 80th birthday.
On July 31, 2014, Gibbs attended the Leimert Park Village Book Fair in Los Angeles, California, to pay tribute to both of her longtime friends, Maya Angelou, who died on May 28, and Ruby Dee, 2 weeks later, on June 11, and 3 days, before Marla's 83rd Birthday.
|1973||Sweet Jesus, Preacherman||Beverly Solomon|
|1974||Black Belt Jones||Bartender||Uncredited|
|1975||The Missing Are Deadly||Nurse||Television film|
|1979||You Can't Take It with You||Rheba||Television film|
|1990||Menu for Murder||Marty Hallard||Television film|
|1991||Up Against the Wall||Louise Bradley|
|1991||Last Breeze of Summer||Short film|
|1993||The Meteor Man||Maxine Reed|
|1994||Lily in Winter||Maize Covington|
|1998||Border to Border||Dela|
|1999||Lost & Found||Enid|
|2000||The Visit||Lois Waters||Method Fest Independent Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated — Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
|2000||Stanley's Gig||Eleanor Whitney|
|2001||The Brothers||Mary West|
|2005||Love on Layaway||Narrator|
|2006||The Ties That Bind||Delores||Short film|
|2006||The Heart Specialist||Ms. Overwood|
|2009||The What Goes Around||Ms. Lacey||Short film|
|2009||Afro Ninja||Aunt Mary|
|2009||Just Like Family||Mabel Jenkins|
|2009||Devil's Land||Judge Martha M. Levine|
|2010||Sunnyview||Mrs. Harris||Short film|
|2012||Who Killed Soul Glow?|
|2012||C'mon Man||Mrs. Crabtree|
|2012||Madea's Witness Protection||Hattie|
|2013||Forbidden Woman||Mrs. Simmons|
|2014||Grantham & Rose||Rose Price|
|2015||The Man in 3B||Ms. Mamie|
|1975||Barney Miller||Mrs. McBee||Episode: "Vigilante"|
|1976||Arthur Hailey's The Moneychangers||Beth Euphrates||Miniseries|
|1981||Checking In||Florence Johnston||Series regular, 4 episodes|
|1981||The Love Boat||Janet Dalton||Episode: "The Incredible Hunk/Isaac, the Marriage Counselor/Jewels & Jim"|
|1984||Pryor's Place||Miss Stern||3 episodes|
|1975-1985||The Jeffersons||Florence Johnston||Series regular, 207 episodes
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1981-1985)
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1985)
Nominated — TV Land Award for Favorite Made-for-TV Maid
|1985-1990||227||Mary Jenkins||Series regular, 115 episodes|
|1993||A Different World||Principal Shaw||Episode: "To Whit, with Love"|
|1993||In the Heat of the Night||Lilly Baker||Episode: "A Baby Called Rocket"|
|1993||Empty Nest||Josephine Douglas||Episode: "Mother Dearest"|
|1995||Dream On||Mrs. Perry||Episode: "Little Orphan Eddie"|
|1995||Martin||Miss Minnie||Episode: "Housekeeper from Hell"
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
|1996||The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air||Florence Johnston||Episode: "I, Done: Part 2"|
|1997-1998||101 Dalmatians: The Series||Duchess (voice)||8 episodes|
|1999||Martial Law||Dolores Parker||2 episodes|
|1999||Dawson's Creek||Mrs. Fran Boyd||Episode: "First Encounters of the Close Kind"|
|2000||Touched by an Angel||Millie||Episode: "The Invitation"
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
|2001||Judging Amy||Zella Van Exel||Episode: "Between the Wanting and the Getting"|
|2002||The King of Queens||Nana Louise||Episode: "Patrons Ain't"|
|1998-2002||The Hughleys||Hattie Mae Hughley||16 episodes|
|2002||The Rerun Show||Dr. Beamish||Episode: "The Facts of Life: Shoplifting/The Jeffersons: A Bedtime Story"|
|2004||Passions||Aunt Irma||Recurring role
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series
|2004||Listen Up||Jackie Widmer||Episode: "Thanksgiving"|
|2005||ER||Cherise Barnes||Episode: "Only Connect"|
|2005||Cold Case||Georgie||Episode: "Best Friends"|
|2008||Lincoln Heights||Hazel Roberson||Episode: "The Day Before Tomorrow"|
|2011||House of Payne||Florence Johnston||Episode: "Curtis Jefferson"|
|2012||Southland||Ms. Miller||Episode: "Underwater"|
|2013||Mr. Box Office||Florence Johnston||Episode: "The Golden Apple"|
|2012-2013||The First Family||Grandma Eddy||11 episodes|
|2015||Hot in Cleveland||Marcia||Episode: "Cleveland Calendar Girls"|
- Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "Marla Gibbs". Yahoo Movies. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "Marla Gibbs Biography (1931?-)". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- Maudlyne Ihejirika. "HistoryMakers-bringing-actress-Marla-Gibbs-to-Phillips-High - Chicago Sun-Times". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "Interview With Marla Gibbs". BroadwayWeekly.com. 2015-02-14. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
- "Marla Gibbs to Guest-Star on Southland". TV Guide. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "Latest Church & Entertainment News". The Church Lady Blogs. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "Marla Gibbs set for ‘Grantham and Rose’". Variety. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- Tambay A. Obenson (20 November 2013). "Watch Marla Gibbs, Tessa Thompson, Jake T. Austin In Trai - Shadow and Act". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- "Happy Birthday, Marla!". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- Marla Gibbs at the Internet Movie Database
- Marla Gibbs interview video at the Archive of American Television