Beah Richards played the part of Aunt Ethel, one of Esther's sisters during the first season of "Sanford and Son".
|Born:||July 12, 1920|
|Birthplace:||Vicksburg, Mississippi, U.S.|
|Died||September 14, 2000(aged 80)|
|Spouse(s):||Hugh Harrell Jr. (divorced)|
|Appeared on/ |
|Sanford and Son|
|Character(s) played:||Ethel Winfield|
Beah Richards (July 12, 1920 – September 14, 2000) appeared as Ethel Winfield, Fred Sanford's sister-in-law, Lamont's aunt, and Esther Anderson's sister on the series. Beah was a revered veteran actress of stage, screen and television. She was a poet, playwright and author.
Born Beulah Richardson in Vicksburg, Mississippi, her mother was a seamstress and PTA advocate and her father was a Baptist minister. In 1948, she graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans, and two years later moved to New York City. Her career started to take off in 1955 when she portrayed an eighty-four-year-old-grandmother in the off-Broadway show Take a Giant Step. She often played the role of a mother or grandmother, and continued acting her entire life. She appeared in the original Broadway productions of Purlie Victorious, The Miracle Worker , and A Raisin in the Sun.
Beah talks about some of the roles she would do, or would be reluctant to do: "There are a lot of movies out there that I would hate to be paid to do, some real demeaning, real woman-denigrating stuff. It is up to women to change their roles. They are going to have to write the stuff and do it. And they will." – Beah Richards Beah was nominated for a Tony award for her 1965 performance in James Baldwin's The Amen Corner. She received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Sidney Poitier's mother in the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Other notable movie performances include Hurry Sundown, The Great White Hope, Beloved and In the Heat of the Night.
She made numerous guest television appearances including recurrent roles on The Bill Cosby Show, Sanford and Son, Designing Women, The Practice,Big Valley and ER (as Dr. Peter Benton's mother.) She was the winner of two Emmy Awards, one in 1988 for her appearance on the series Frank's Place, and another in 2000 for her appearance on The Practice. In the last year of her life, Richards was the subject of a documentary created by actress Lisa Gay Hamilton. The documentary Beah: A Black Woman Speaks was created from over 70 hours of their conversations. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Film Festival.
Beah died from emphysema in her hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi at the age of 80.
- Beah Richards at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
- Beah Richards at the Internet Broadway Database (IBDb)
- Beah Richards at the Internet Off-Broadway database (lortel.org)
- Beah Richards at Find a Grave Memorial
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