Kim Wayans Biography

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Birth Name: Kim Wayans
Born: 10/16/1961
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA

Born Oct. 16, 1961 in New York City, Wayans hailed from one of the largest showbiz families, counting Keenan Ivory, Damon, Shawn and Marlon Wayans among her siblings. Raised in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, Wayans attended Wesleyan University on scholarship and wrote a book of short stories as her senior thesis. Following her older brothers Keenan and Damon to Hollywood in 1987, she soon began performing stand-up comedy at clubs like The Improv before landing a bit part in Robert Townsend's "Hollywood Shuffle" (1987). She followed that up by landing recurring roles on "A Different World" (NBC, 1987-1993) and "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-1991). As always, she could always depend on her siblings for work, as her brothers grew ever more prolific. Wayans played a nightclub singer in their Blaxploitation parody "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" (1988) and achieved a low-key stardom as a member of their groundbreaking, African-American-powered sketch series "In Living Color" (Fox, 1990-94, 2012- ). Although overshadowed by the showier antics of her co-stars, including her brothers and a young Jim Carrey, Wayans still scored with parodies of pop culture figures like Grace Jones and Whitney Houston as well as creating memorable original characters such as Benita ("I ain't one to gossip, but ") Butrell and a hard-of-hearing waitress.

Again, she notched small, colorful roles in her brothers' films "A Low Down Dirty Shame" (1994) and "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood" (1996) as well as voicing the mother on their animated series "Waynehead" (Kids' WB!, 1996-97). She landed a recurring role on the sitcom "In the House" (NBC, 1995-96; UPN, 1996-99) and when the series switched networks, she joined the cast as Tonia, a business partner of former professional athlete Marion Hill (LL Cool J). She guested on "The Wayans Bros." (The WB, 1995-99) and took a supporting role in the gender-bending basketball comedy "Juwanna Mann" (2002). The actress moved behind the camera to serve as a writer, producer and director on brother Damon's sitcom "My Wife and Kids" (ABC, 2001-05), collecting two BET Comedy Award nominations. She also earned producer and acting credits on Keenan's "Thugaboo: Sneaker Madness" (Nickelodeon, 2006) and "Thugaboo: A Miracle on D-Roc's Street" (Nickelodeon, 2006).

After a brief turn in the family's gross-out parody "Dance Flick" (2009), Wayans surprised audiences and critics when she nailed a powerful supporting role in a non-family production, the wrenchingly powerful drama "Pariah" (2011). Written and directed by Dee Rees and produced by Spike Lee, the film told the tale of Brooklyn teenager Alike (Adepero Oduye) who is beginning to explore her homosexuality. Wayans delivered a masterful performance as Audrey, Alike's exhausted, ferocious mother, who struggles with her daughter's journey. Critics and audiences alike were forced to reappraise Wayans's artistic potential after her amazing work, and she was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Best Breakthrough Performance and Best Ensemble by the Black Reel Awards, as well as earning additional award momentum.

By Jonathan Ross




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