Tyra Ferrell

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Tyra Ferrell
Born (1962-01-28) January 28, 1962 (age 53)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Diop Kamau (m. 1992)
Website tyraferrell.com

Tyra Ferrell (born January 28, 1962) is an American actress. She is known for her roles in films Boyz n the Hood (1991), Jungle Fever (1991), White Men Can't Jump (1992), and Poetic Justice (1993).

Life and career[edit]

Ferrell was born in Houston, Texas.[1] She moved from Houston to New York after high school and began her career on stage including roles on Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music (1981) and Ain't Misbehavin on Broadway.[2] She made her screen debut in a small part in the 1981 comedy film So Fine, and later appeared in Lady Beware, School Daze, The Mighty Quinn, and The Exorcist III. On television, she guest-starred in Hill Street Blues, The Twilight Zone, and Quantum Leap, and had recurring roles on Square One Television, The Bronx Zoo, and Thirtysomething. In 1990, Ferrell was regular cast member on the short-lived CBS sitcom City starring Valerie Harper.[3]

In 1991, Ferrell played supporting roles in the films Boyz n the Hood and Jungle Fever.[1] In the same year, she was listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1991" in John A. Willis' Screen World.[4] The following year, she starred alongside Wesley Snipes in the comedy film White Men Can't Jump, and later had supporting roles in Equinox, Poetic Justice and The Perfect Score. Ferrell also played the leading role alongside Mare Winningham in the 1993 Lifetime Television movie Better Off Dead. In 1994, she had the recurring role as Dr. Sarah Langworthy during the first season of the NBC medical drama ER, and from 1996 to 1997 she co-starred alongside Corbin Bernsen on the syndicated science fiction series The Cape.

In 2000, Ferrell co-starred alongside Khandi Alexander in the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries The Corner.[5] She later guest-starred on Soul Food, The Shield and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2004, she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for her role in the ABC television film NTSB: The Crash of Flight 323.[6] She returned to acting ten years later with the leading role in Tasha Smith's directorial debut, Boxed In.[7] In 2015, Ferrell was cast in a recurring role on the second season of Fox's prime-time soap opera Empire.[8]



Year Title Role Notes
1981 So Fine Receptionist
1984 Gimme an 'F' Rocket Rafferty
1987 Lady Beware Nan
1987 Nuts Cell Woman
1988 Tapeheads Flygirl
1988 School Daze Tasha
1988 Side by Side Rita Gold Television film
1989 The Mighty Quinn Isola
1991 The Exorcist III Nurse Blaine
1991 Jungle Fever Orin Goode
1991 Boyz n the Hood Brenda Baker
1991 The Neon Empire Samantha Television film
1992 White Men Can't Jump Rhonda Deane
1992 Equinox Sonya Kirk
1992 You Must Remember This Ricki Sewell Television film
1993 Better Off Dead Cutter Dubuque Television film
1993 Poetic Justice Jessie
1993 Ulterior Motives Receptionist
2004 Coochie Olivia Potter Short film
2004 The Perfect Score Desmond's Mother
2004 NTSB: The Crash of Flight 323 Jessamyn Television film
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
2015 Boxed in Gayle


Year Title Role Notes
1985 Hill Street Blues Jonelle Robinson Episode: "Somewhere Over the Rambo"
1985 Moonlighting Hooker Episode: "Knowing Her"
1985 The Twilight Zone Maid Episode: "Dead Woman's Shoes/Wong's Lost and Found Emporium"
1986 Hunter Marguerite Montero Episode: "Love, Hate, and Sporty James"
1987 Mathnet Ginnie Carlson Episode: "The Problem of the Missing Baseball"
1987 Square One Television Ginnie Carlson Recurring role, 3 episodes
1987-1988 The Bronx Zoo Roberta Hughes Recurring role, 11 episodes
1988 Mr. Belvedere Cashier Episode: "Hooky"
1989 Quantum Leap Delilah 'Lila' Berry Episode: "So Help Me God - July 29, 1957"
1990 Full House Miss Petrie Episode: "Bye, Bye Birdie"
1989-1990 Thirtysomething Ricky Bianca Recurring role, 4 episodes
1990 City Wanda Jenkins Series regular, 13 episodes
1990 The Trials of Rosie O'Neill Loni Sanders Episode: "An Act of Love"
1994 ER Dr. Sarah Langworthy Recurring role, 6 episodes
1997 Early Edition Dr. Marks Episode: "Faith"
1996-1997 The Cape Mission Specialist Tamara St. James Series regular, 17 episodes
2000 The Corner Ella Thompson Miniseries
2000 Soul Food Frances Lester Episode: "Truth Be Told"
2002 The Shield Karen Mitchell Episode: "Two Days of Blood"
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Bethany Taylor Episode: "Futility"
2015 Empire Roxanne Ford Recurring role


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