Vonetta McGee

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Vonetta McGee
McGee in 1975.
Born Vonetta Lawrence McGee[1]
(1945-01-14)January 14, 1945
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died July 9, 2010(2010-07-09) (aged 65)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Cause of death Cardiac arrest
Nationality American
Education San Francisco Polytechnic High School
San Francisco State University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1968–2007
Spouse(s) Carl Lumbly (m. 1987–2010)
Partner(s) Max Julien (1974–77)
Children 1

Vonetta Lawrence McGee (January 14, 1945 – July 9, 2010) was an American actress.[2] She is best known for her roles during the 1970s, which included blaxploitation films such as Hammer, Melinda, Blacula, Shaft in Africa, Detroit 9000 and 1974's Thomasine & Bushrod alongside her then-boyfriend Max Julien. She was a regular on the 1987 Universal Television situation comedy Bustin' Loose, starring as Mimi Shaw for its first and only season (1987–88).

Early life[edit]

Born in San Francisco, California, to Lawrence McGee and Alma McGee (née Scott),[3] McGee graduated from San Francisco Polytechnic High School in 1962. She enrolled at San Francisco State University and became involved in acting groups on campus.


McGee landed her first role in 1968, when she performed alongside Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski in Sergio Corbucci's Spaghetti Western The Great Silence, and made her first released film appearance that same year as the eponymous character in the Italian comedy Faustina, which was released before the former film.[1] She later became well known for her parts in the 1972 Blaxploitation films Melinda and Hammer. In the action thriller Shaft in Africa (1973), McGee took the role of Aleme, the daughter of an emir, who teaches John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) Ethiopian geography. In 1974, McGee appeared as Thomasine, alongside Max Julien as Bushrod, in the western action film Thomasine & Bushrod, which was intended as a counterpart to the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. The next year, she starred alongside Clint Eastwood in the action thriller The Eiger Sanction (1975). She appeared in an episode of the TV series Starsky & Hutch named "Black and Blue" in 1979.

Personal life and death[edit]

McGee was in a live-in relationship with Max Julien during the early-to-mid 1970s. In 1987, McGee married actor Carl Lumbly. They had one child, Brandon, born in 1988. McGee died of cardiac arrest on July 9, 2010, at the age of 65.[2]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1968 Faustina Faustina Ceccarelli
The Great Silence Pauline Middleton
1969 The Lost Man Diane Lawrence
1970 The Kremlin Letter The Negress
1972 The Big Bust Out Nada
Melinda Melinda
Blacula Tina Williams / Luva
Hammer Lois
1973 The Norliss Tapes Mme. Jeckiel
Shaft in Africa Aleme
Detroit 9000 Roby Harris
1974 Thomasine & Bushrod Thomasine
1975 The Eiger Sanction Jemima Brown
1977 Brothers Paula Jones
1977 Foxbat Toni Hill
1978 Superdome Sonny
1984 Repo Man Marlene
1985 Hell Town Sister Indigo
1990 To Sleep with Anger Pat
1991 Brother Future Mortilla
1998 Johnny B Good Lidia
2007 Black August Georgia Jackson (final film role)
Year Title Role Notes
1979 Starsky & Hutch Joan Meredith 1 episode "Black and Blue"
1984-86 Cagney & Lacey Claudia Petrie 4 episodes
1987-88 Bustin' Loose Mimi Shaw 26 episodes
1989-90 L.A. Law Jackie Williams 7 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Vonetta McGee obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved September 15, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (July 15, 2010). "Vonetta McGee dies at 65; film actress during 1970s blaxploitation era". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  3. ^ Margalit Fox (July 16, 2010). "Vonetta McGee, Film and TV Actress, Dies at 65". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 

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