Novella Nelson

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Novella Nelson
Born (1939-12-17) December 17, 1939 (age 77)
Brooklyn, New York United States
Years active 1978-present

Novella Nelson (born December 17, 1939) is an American actress and singer.

Nelson was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Evelyn Hines and James Nelson.[1] She established her career as a singer, both on the off-Broadway and Broadway stage[2] and in cabaret-style locales.[3] Starting in 1961, Nelson had a decades-long stage career, performing, directing and producing, primarily in New York.[1]She was a featured performer on Broadway in 1970 in the musical, Purlie. In 1975, Nelson directed the play La Femme Noire at The Public Theater.[4] Her film career began at age 39 with a small part in 1977's An Unmarried Woman, and continued for the next several decades with roles in movies and television.[5]



Year Title Role Notes
1978 Unmarried Woman, AnAn Unmarried Woman Jean
1979 Seduction of Joe Tynan, TheThe Seduction of Joe Tynan Carla Willis
1984 Cotton Club, TheThe Cotton Club Madame St. Clair
1984 Flamingo Kid, TheThe Flamingo Kid Lizzy
1987 Orphans Mattie
1990 Privilege Yvonne Washington
1991 Strictly Business Olivia
1993 Weekend at Bernie's II Mobu
1994 Dead Funny Frances
1995 Keeper, TheThe Keeper Mrs. Lemont
1995 Mercy Angela
1996 Manny & Lo Georgine
1998 Perfect Murder, AA Perfect Murder Ambassador Alice Wills
1999 Judy Berlin Carol
2001 Gilded Six Bits, TheThe Gilded Six Bits Mama Banks Short
2002 Antwone Fisher Mrs. Tate
2003 Conversations with Id Aunt Mae Short
2004 Birth Lee
2004 Dear Wendy Clarabelle
2005 Preaching to the Choir Aunt June
2006 Stephanie Daley Dr. Peterson
2006 Premium Jayme
2007 Ten, TheThe Ten Judge Sophia R. Jackson
2008 Toe Tactic, TheThe Toe Tactic Victoria Hadaway
2008 Compliments of the Serpent Barbara Stanton Video short
2010 It's Kind of a Funny Story The Professor
2011 Inheritance, TheThe Inheritance Aunt Bee
2011 Somebody's Hero Maureen
2012 Nancy, Please Dr. Bannister
2012 Bama & Fred Bama Short
2015 Sweet Kandy Bernice Boyd
2017 Collar Fiona Taylor
2017 Spell Safi Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Watch Your Mouth Mrs. King "Chicago Red and Mugger - Part 2"
1983 Chiefs Nellie Cole TV miniseries
1984 Doctor's Story, AA Doctor's Story Mrs. Thornton TV film
1984 He's Fired, She's Hired Serena Cole TV film
1986 Equalizer, TheThe Equalizer Miriam Blain "The Line"
1987 Kojak: The Price of Justice Pearl TV film
1988 Hothouse Olivia "The Subject of Sex"
1989 Man Called Hawk, AA Man Called Hawk Mrs. Webster "Never My Love"
1989 Littlest Victims, TheThe Littlest Victims Mrs. Munson TV film
1989 As the World Turns Sarah Franklin "1.8637"
1990 Law & Order Judge Gloria Crutcher "Out of the Half-Light"
1992 Citizen Cohn Second Annie Lee Moss TV film
1993 Daybreak Mrs. Chaney TV film
1995 New York News Evelyn Gates "New York News"
1995 Law & Order Mrs. Washington "Humiliation"
1995 New York Undercover Prof. Cortez "Old Tyme Religion"
1996 Harambee! Queenesther TV film
1996 Summer of Ben Tyler, TheThe Summer of Ben Tyler Rosetta Tyler TV film
1997 Oz Loretta Smith "Plan B"
1997 One Life to Live Judge Barbara Fitzwater 1 episode
1997 Dellaventura Aretha Jefferson "Music of the Night"
1998 Mama Flora's Family Pearl (1955-1970) TV miniseries
1998 Sex and the City Madame Lordes "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"
1999 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Mrs. Mosley "Sophomore Jinx"
2001 100 Centre Street Isabelle "Things Change"
2003 Third Watch Sondra Richards "In Confidence"
2004 West Wing, TheThe West Wing Gail Fitzwallace "Gaza", "NSF Thurmont"
2007 Starter Wife, TheThe Starter Wife Nana TV miniseries
2008 Army Wives Vivian Burton "Thank You for Letting Me Share", "Transitions"
2010 30 Rock Novella Nelson "The Moms"


  • Arcana A1001, made by Desto Records, NYC, unknown date, "Novella Nelson".
  • Songs: Mean World; Long Road Home; (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay; Lilac Wine; Johnny (Guns and Drums); I'm Troubled; Do What You Gotta Do; Cold Water Flat; Porgy; I Wish I Knew How It Would feel To Be Free.
  • Musicians: Phil Moore, piano; Richard Davis, bass; Frederick Waits, drums; Warren Smith, percussion; Emmanuel Green and Gene Orloff, violins; Selwart Clarke, viola; Kermit Moore, cello.
  • Information on this LP from Black Shellac, Records for Collectors, Spring City, PA


  1. ^ a b "Novella Nelson Biography". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  2. ^ THEATER; 'Electra' With a Different Dimension - New York Times
  3. ^ Cabaret - Novella Nelson - Nytimes.Com
  4. ^ Bailey, Peter A. (Apr 1975). "Annual Round-up, Black Theater in America". Black World/Negro Digest. Johnson Publishing Co. Retrieved 26 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Novella Nelson - IMDb

External links[edit]