January 15, 1953
The Bronx, New York, United States
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S|
|Other names||Ta Ta|
|Spouse(s)||Lee Weaver (since 1971)|
Ta-Tanisha (born Shirley Cummings on January 15, 1953 in the Bronx, New York) is an African American character actress, best known for her role as Pam Simpson on the television series Room 222, which she played from 1970 to 1972.
Ta-Tanisha later appeared in the 1973 film The Sting, and appeared on Sanford and Son as "The Sanford Arms" tenant Janet Lawrence. Ta-Tanisha also appeared on Good Times three times (in three separate roles) as well as on What's Happening!!. Her husband is veteran actor Lee Weaver. Ta-Tanisha and Weaver reside in her hometown Bronx, New York area. They have one daughter, Leis La-Te.
Ta-Tanisha arrived in Los Angeles from Detroit, Michigan in the 1960s. In the early 1970s Ta-Tanisha began studying theatre at the Performing Arts Society Los Angeles (PASLA) where she performed in several plays including Blues for Mister Charlie and A Raisin in the Sun. Ta-Tanisha also appeared in The Black Girl in Search of God at the Mark Taper Forum.
After a while, Ta Tanisha began to get roles in television shows and films such as Room 222, in a recurring role as Pam Simpson, Good Times, Sanford & Son and the Mod Squad. She co-starred as a deaf mute on the hit show Mission: Impossible (1966 TV series) and was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for this performance. Ta-Tanisha was also in the Academy Award-winning movie, The Sting.
This exposure to the production process inspired Ta-Tanisha to create a Media literacy program for inner-city youth, Ta-Tanisha named this program TechniVision and it was presented at a local art center and as an after school program in conjunction with Los Angeles City Schools and Girls, Inc.
Currently Ta-Tanisha is part of the Repertory Dance Theater of Los Angeles and is part of a team that is conducting an after school performance program. Ta-Tanisha has also written a play about Biddy Mason, an enslaved African American woman who never learned to read or write; Miz Biddy. The play is currently in development.
"The Real Anger Was Backstage" an article by Budd Schulberg published in Life Magazine Aug 21, 1970. A cover story of the final week of shooting for the 1970 American drama directed by Paul Bogart "Halls of Anger"
"Black extras get $13.20 a day -whites a minimum of $29.15." "Our dressing rooms aren't integrated." Tell'im what they did to Ta-Tanisha." Cal Told me about Ta-Tanisha, the black actress who had protested because she didn't have as nice a dressing room as her white "opposite number," Pat Stich, nor could she use the telephone on the set. To Ta-Ta, Cal said it was the same crap all over again. They can use the phones. We're still in the boondocks." Ta-Ta was so hurt, she broke down and cried, he said. We understood how she felt. She was being treated unfairly." - Budd Schulberg, Life Magazine Aug 21, 1970 
Pat Stich, a well-bred, sensitive young actress, became almost tearful as she talked: "This has been a very strange experience for me. I'm not really over it yet. I came in the first morning looking forward to meeting black actresses I'd be working with. But when I introduced myself, Ta-Ta and the others just stared at me. It was very spooky-I wanted to be friends but they wouldn't let me in. As we worked up to the scene where they tear my clothes off, I heard rumors that I would be in for a surprise that wasn't in the script. I was terrified I went to Mr. Bogart. I'd been nervous about the nude scene anyway. I'm afraid Mr. Bogart got angry with me. He said this was just a scene in a movie, that he'd stage it realistically without letting it get out of control, he'd make that clear to Ta-Ta and the others also. When he finally did the scene a strange thing happened. It didn't come off as violently as it should have. Maybe we'd all been so uptight. Ta-Ta and the black kids seemed to hold back too much. I guess we were all a little self-conscious. If all this was in a movie script, I suppose Ta-Ta and I would make up and there'd be some hope at the end. But it didn't work out that way. To be absolutely frank, after this experience I feel I have to reexamine my attitude toward black people. I don't mean hate them because they gave me a bad time. It's just so much more complex than I had anticipated." - Budd Schulberg, Life Magazine Aug 21, 1970 
Said Ta-Tanisha, "I think if I'd realized what they were putting down, I wouldn't have taken this job. Hollywood isn't ready to treat black people as people. A lot of times I felt like quitting. There's still a double standard. The studio is still Whitey's turf. Then this script I don't think white writers can ever write for blacks. They'll never know how we feel or think or talk. That scene where we we're supposed to strip the white kid in the john. I resented it. That's Whitey's idea of us. Of course, I realize it's box office, but I couldn't believe that line we had to say, "We wanna see if you're blond all over." I can see a fight, with slapping and hair-pulling, but the way it was written it didn't seem true or fair to my people-" Budd Schulberg, Life Magazine Aug 21, 1970 
In the United States Tanisha is a predominantly African-American name first popularized in the 1960s by the actress Ta-Tanisha, who appeared on the television program Room 222. Ta-Tanisha loosely translated in Swahili means "Puzzling One".
|1995||Days of the Pentecost||Melena's mother||Action/Adventure Musical Road|
|1991||The Whereabouts of Jenny||Scranton's Secretary||Drama|
|1973||The Sting||Louise Coleman||Caper film, Comedy, Drama|
|1973||The Stone Killer||Salesgirl||Crime, Action, Drama|
|1973||Frasier the Sensuous Lion||Comedy|
|1970||Like It Is (1970 film)||Randy||Drama|
|1970||Halls of Anger||Claudine||Drama|
|1971||Crosscurrent (1971 film)||Rainie Lewis||Crime Drama|
|1977||The Choirboys (film)||Melissa||Comedy Drama|
|1983||Baby Sister (film)||Night Nurse||Drama|
|1982||The First Time (1982 film)||Shari||Drama|
|1985||Star Fairies||Nightsong (voice)||Animation Fantasy|
|1987||Convicted: A Mother's Story||Drama|
|1989||The Women of Brewster Place||Tenant #1||Drama|
|1969||Mod Squad||Leora Little||Season 2, Episode 7: Confrontation!|
|1969||Room 222||Pam Arnold||Season 1, Episode 13: Seventeen Going on Twenty-Eight|
|1970||Room 222||Pam Arnold||Season 1, Episode 17: Operation Sandpile|
|1970||Room 222||Pam Simpson||Season 2, Episode 7: Only a Rose|
|1970||Room 222||Pam Arnold||Season 2, Episode 8: The Fuzz That Grooved|
|1970||Room 222||Pam Arnold||Season 2, Episode 15: Now, About That Cherry Tree|
|1970||The Bill Cosby Show||Georgianna Jones||Season 2, Episode 4: There Must Be a Party|
|1970||Mission Impossible||Maryana "Gabby" Renfrow||Season 5, Episode 10: Hunted Nominated: NAACP Image Award|
|1971||Room 222||Pam Simpson||Season 2, Episode 20: Hip Hip Hooray|
|1971||Room 222||Pam Simpson||Season 3, Episode 1: K-W-W-H]|
|1971||Room 222||Pam Simpson||Season 3, Episode 6:Suitable for Framing|
|1971||The New Dick Van Dyke Show||Judy||Season 1, Episode 3: Mid-term Dinner|
|1972||Room 222||Pam Simpson||Season 3, Episode 18: We Hold These Truths|
|1972||Mannix||Gloria Logan||Season 5, Episode 21: Lifeline|
|1972||The Partridge Family||Mary Lou Trimper||Season 3, Episode 10: Ain't Love Grand|
|1972||Emergency!||Rosie||Season 2, Episode 16: Syndrome|
|1973||Adam-12||Lizzie||Season 5, Episode 23: Keeping Tabs|
|1974||Cannon||Miranda||Season 3, Episode 23: Triangle of Terror|
|1975||Lucas Tanner||Jean||Season 1, Episode 15: What's wrong with Bobby?|
|1975||Sanford and Son||Janet Lawrence||Season 5, Episode 4: The Sanford Arms|
|1976||Sanford and Son||Janet Lawrence||Season 5, Episode 14: Can You Chop This?|
|1976||Executive Suite||Melida||Season 1, Episode 10: The Sounds of Silence|
|1976||What's Happening!!||Patrice Williams||Season 1, Episode 10: Puppy Love|
|1974||Good Times||Marcy||Season 1, Episode 13: My Son, the Lover|
|1976||Good Times||Mary Ann||Season 3, Episode 21: J.J. in Trouble|
|1979||Good Times||Zodiac Girl||Season 6, Episode 18:J.J. and T.C.|
|1980||The Jeffersons||Nurse #3||Season 6, Episode 16: The Arrival: Part 2|
|1985||Cagney & Lacey||Unknown||Season 5, Episode 9: Old Ghosts|
|1986||Hill Street Blues||Pregnant Lady||Season 6, Episode 18: Iced Coffey|
|1987||Amen||Mrs. Gordon||Season 2, Episode 4: Dueling Ministers|