Jenifer Lewis Biography


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Birth Name: Jenifer Lewis
Born: 01/25/1957
Birth Place: Kinloch, Missouri, USA


In 1988, Lewis relocated to Los Angeles and found herself in a decidedly dry spell, although she continued to hone her act. Finally, in 1992, she was cast as one of the back-up singers to Delores van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) in "Sister Act". Goldberg sponsored several performances of "The Diva Is Dismissed" in the hopes of producing the show for HBO and while that did not come about, Hollywood took notice of Lewis. She became Dean Davenport for one season (1992-93) on the NBC sitcom "A Different World" and had a recurring role as Will's occasionally-visiting Aunt Helen on "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air". Around the same time, Lewis and practically every other black actress was auditioning for the role of Tina Turner in the biopic "What's Love Got to Do With It?" (1993). Although she had hoped to be cast as Turner, Lewis landed the role of Turner's mother and delivered a scene-stealing turn that garnered her attention. Other strong supporting roles followed, including Mrs. Coleman the Unemployment Office lady in "Renaissance Man" and as Whoopi Goldberg's sister in "Corrina, Corrina" (both 1994) In 1995, she was cast in maternal roles to Kadeem Hardison in the explosive "Panther" and to Larenz Tate in "Dead Presidents" before she accepted the role of a lesbian judge on the short-lived CBS series "Courthouse". Lewis returned to the big screen as Theresa Randle's telephone sex line boss in Spike Lee's "Girl 6" and as Whitney Houston's mother in Penny Marshall's "The Preacher's Wife" (both 1996).




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