Shari Headley

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Shari Headley
Born (1964-07-15) July 15, 1964 (age 52)
Queens, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1983–present
Spouse(s) Christopher "Play" Martin (m. 1993–95) (1 child)

Shari Headley (born July 15, 1964) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Lisa McDowell in the 1988 box-office hit romantic comedy film, Coming to America. Headley also has appeared in films The Preacher's Wife (1996) and Johnson Family Vacation (2004).

On television, Headley starred as Det. Mimi Reed in the ABC daytime soap opera, All My Children on regular basic from 1991 to 1994. As lead actress, she starred in the Fox short-lived drama series, 413 Hope St. (1997-1998), for which she received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series nomination. In 2014, Headley began starring as villainous Jennifer Sallison in the Oprah Winfrey Network primetime soap opera, The Haves and the Have Nots.


Headley made her acting debut appearing in an episode of NBC sitcom The Cosby Show in 1985. Headley later has appeared on Miami Vice, Quantum Leap, and Matlock. In 1988, she was cast in the female leading role opposite Eddie Murphy in the romantic comedy film, Coming to America.[1] The film was a box-office success grossing worldwide total of $288,752,301.[2] The following year, Headley had starring role alongside Louis Gossett, Jr. in the short-lived ABC drama series, Gideon Oliver. Later that year, she co-starred in the Kojak television film series.

In 1991, Headley joined the cast of ABC daytime soap opera, All My Children playing police officer Mimi Reed. At the 25th NAACP Image Awards, she received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series nomination, but lost award to Victoria Rowell.[3] She was regular on All My Children from 1991 to 1994, and returned to series in 1995 and 2005. After leaving the soap, she guest-starred on New York Undercover, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Cosby. In 1996, she had supporting role in the comedy-drama film The Preacher's Wife directed by Penny Marshall. In 1997, Headley has landed a leading role in the short-lived FOX drama series, 413 Hope St. alongside Richard Roundtree.[4] The series was cancelled after only ten episodes, but Headley received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series nomination for her performance.[5]

In early 2000s, Headley returned to daytime television playing the recurring roles on Guiding Light (2001-2002) and The Bold and the Beautiful (2004-2005). In 2004, she played Mack Johnson's (portrayed by Steve Harvey) wife Jacqueline in the comedy film, Johnson Family Vacation.[6] In 2007, she appeared in the comedy-drama film Towelhead.[7] She also had guest starring roles on Veronica Mars, House, Castle, and Switched at Birth. In 2014, she joined the cast of Oprah Winfrey Network primetime soap opera, The Haves and the Have Nots created by Tyler Perry, playing District Attorney Jennifer Sallison.[8][9][9] She was promoted to series regular as of fourth season.

Personal life[edit]

Headley was born in Queens, New York, the youngest of four children.[10] She was married to rapper/actor Christopher "Play" Martin from May 1993 until they divorced in June 1995. In April 1994, Headley gave birth to their son, Skyler Martin.[11]



Year Title Role Notes
1988 Coming to America Lisa McDowell
1989 Kojak: Ariana Trish Van Hogan Television film
1990 Kojak: None So Blind Trish Van Hogan Television film
1996 The Preacher's Wife Arlene Chattan
1997 A Woman Like That Herself
2004 Johnson Family Vacation Jacqueline Johnson
2007 Towelhead Mrs. Bradley
2008 Belly 2: Millionaire Boyz Club Alexis Direct-to-video
2013 Act Like You Love Me Tianna
2014 The Congregation Maple
2015 Ex-Free Wendy


Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Cosby Show Expectant Mother Two episodes (NBC)
1986 Miami Vice Cindy Season 2 Episode 17, "French Twist" (NBC)
1989 Gideon Oliver Zina Oliver Three episodes (ABC)
1990 Quantum Leap Violet Walters Season 2 Episode 16, "Pool Hall Blues" (NBC)
1990 Matlock Carla Royce Season 5 Episode 9, "The Cover Girl" (NBC)
1991–1994; 1995; 2005 All My Children Det. Mimi Reed (ABC)
1995 New York Undercover Leanne Season 2 Episode 4, "Brotherhood" (Fox)
1996 Walker, Texas Ranger Vanessa St. John Season 4 Episode 20, "Behind the Badge" (CBS)
1996 Cosby Nude Model Season 1 Episodes 9, "No Nudes Is Good Nudes" (CBS)
1997–1998 413 Hope St. Juanita Barnes Ten episodes (Fox)
1998 Love Boat: The Next Wave Barbara Season 1 Episode 1, "Smooth Sailing" (UPN)
1998 Getting Personal Fake Robyn Season 1 Episode 9, "Bring in 'Da Milo, Bring in 'Da Robyn" (Fox)
1998 Malcolm & Eddie Veronica Season 3 Episode 4, "Twisted Sisters" (UPN)
1998 For Your Love Maya Season 2 Episode 6, "The Sister Act" (WB)
1999 The Wayans Bros. Dawn Two episodes (WB)
2001–2002 The Guiding Light Felicia Boudreau One episode (CBS)
2003 Half & Half Barbara Season 2 Episode 10, "The Big Bitter Baby Shower Episode" (UPN)
2004 One on One Pamela Season 3 Episode 19, "Sleepless in Baltimore" (UPN)
2004–2005 The Bold and the Beautiful Heather Engle Seven episodes, (CBS)
2005 Veronica Mars Vanessa Hamilton Season 1 episode 13, "Lord of the Bling" (UPN)
2005 House M.D. Dr. Arlene Marks Season 1 Episode 19, "Kids" (Fox)
2009 Castle Nicole Cameron Season 2 Episode 9, "Love Me Dead" (ABC)
2010 10 Things I Hate About You Marcheline Season 1 Episode 15, "The Winner Takes It All" (ABC Family)
2011 White Collar Isabel Wilson Season 3 Episode 8, "As You Were" (USA)
2014 Love That Girl Maxine Season 4 Episode 25, "Gullible Is as Gullible Does" (TV One)
2014–2016 The Haves and the Have Nots Jennifer Sallison (D.A.)

Music videos[edit]


  1. ^ "Coming to America". 29 June 1988. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  2. ^ "Coming to America (1988) - Box Office Mojo". Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "The Crisis". Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  4. ^ "Wayans Takes a Detour to the Gritty Side With '413 Hope St.'". latimes. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "Image Award". Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "Johnson Family Vacation". 7 April 2004. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  7. ^ "Towelhead". 8 September 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ "About AMC: About the Actors - Shari Headley - All My Children @". Retrieved 7 February 2016. 
  11. ^ "Jet". Retrieved 7 February 2016. 

External links[edit]