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Esther Rolle

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Esther Rolle Biography and Filmography
Esther Rolle
Birthday: November 8, 1920
Birth Place: Pompano Beach, Florida, USA
Height: 0' 0"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Esther Rolle.
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The ninth in a family of 18 children, Esther Rolle left her family's Florida home for New York once she came of age. She worked her way through Hunter College, Spellman College and the New School for Social Research. Even after her 1962 New York stage debut in The Blacks, Esther was compelled to hold down a day job in the city's garment district. She appeared in such Broadway productions as The Crucible and Blues for Mr. Charlie, and toured extensively with Robert Hooks' Negro Ensemble Company. Her breakthrough role was Florida the maid in the 1972 Norman Lear sitcom Maude. Though she balked at playing a domestic, Rolle was impressed by Florida's independence and pugnaciousness. In February of 1973, the Florida character was spun off into her own series, Good Times, the saga of a tightly-knit black family surviving in the Chicago projects. Rolle welcomed the series as an opportunity to depict a poor but proud African-American family with a strong father figure (played by John Amos) at the center. But when Amos, upset that co-star Jimmie "J.J." Walker was dominating the series, left Good Times in 1974, Rolle echoed the words of such groups as the National Black Media Coalition in chastising the renovated series, wherein an irresponsible, wisecracking teenaged cut-up was now "head" of the household. When her contract ran out in 1977, Esther joined John Amos in bolting Good Times. After a year of pursuing other projects — one of which, the made-for-TV film Summer of My German Soldier, won Rolle an Emmy — she was back on Good Times, having been assured that she would be given full script approval and that the J.J. character had matured. But by this time, audiences had wearied of Good Times, and the series was cancelled in 1979. Since that time, Rolle has hardly wanted for work: her most recent credits include the strong role of Idella in the 1989 Oscar-winner Driving Miss Daisy, the starring part of the black owner of a Jewish deli in the 1990 sitcom Singer and Son, and a guest appearance as the dying Mammy in the 1994 Gone with the Wind sequel Scarlet. In addition, Esther Rolle has been nominated honorary chairperson of the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped, and has been honored with several Image Awards from the NAACP.
Train Ride (2000)
[ KaDee Strickland ]
Down in the Delta (1998)
[ Alfre Woodard ][ Loretta Devine ][ Anne Marie Johnson ][ Andrea Lewis ]
Amazing Grace: Part 1 (1997)
[ Loretta Devine ][ Jenifer Lewis ]
Rosewood (1997)
[ Elise Neal ]
My Fellow Americans (1996)
[ Lauren Bacall ][ Sela Ward ][ Ann Cusack ][ Marg Helgenberger ]
How to Make an American Quilt (1995)
[ Winona Ryder ][ Claire Danes ][ Anne Bancroft ][ Ellen Burstyn ][ Kate Capshaw ]
To Dance with the White Dog (1993)
[ Christine Baranski ][ Jessica Tandy ]
Message from Nam (1993)
[ Rue McClanahan ][ Vivian Wu ]
House of Cards (1993)
[ Kathleen Turner ]
Blackbird Fly (1991)
[ Whoopie Goldberg ]
The Kid Who Loved Christmas (1990)
[ Vanessa Williams ][ Cicely Tyson ]
Age-Old Friends (1989)
[ Michelle Scarabelli ]
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
[ Jessica Tandy ][ Patti Lupone ]
The Mighty Quinn (1989)
[ Mimi Rogers ]
A Raisin in the Sun (1989)
P.K. and the Kid (1987)
[ Molly Ringwald ][ Fionnula Flanagan ]
I Like to be in America/He Ain't Heavy/Abbey's Maiden Voyage (1983)
[ Charo ]
The High and the Mighty (1982)
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (1982)
See China and Die (1981)
[ Jean Marsh ]
The Physical (1979)
[ Janet Jackson ][ Janet Dubois ]
The Art Contest (1979)
[ BernNadette Stanis ][ Ja'net DuBois ]
Cousin Raymond (1979)
[ Janet Jackson ][ BernNadette Stanis ][ Janet Dubois ]
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1979)
The Snow Storm (1978)
[ Janet Jackson ][ Kim Fields ][ BernNadette Stanis ][ Janet Dubois ]
Summer of My German Soldier (1978)
[ Kristy McNichol ][ Robin Lively ]
Cleopatra Jones (1973)
[ Shelley Winters ][ Brenda Sykes ]
Don't Play Us Cheap (1973)
Every Little Crook and Nanny (1972)
[ Lynn Redgrave ][ Louise Sorel ]
Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow? (1971)
Nothing But a Man (1964)
  • Originated the role of 'Dorcas Moulineaux' in Steve Carter's play, 'Dame Lorraine, " at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago on 27 March 1981.
  • Sister of Rosanna Carter.
  • Sister of Estelle Evans.
  • Graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1942.
  • Left the series Good Times after the 1976-1977 season due to her displeasure with the what she saw as the character of J.J. being a bad role model for young blacks. She returned at the beginning of the 1978-1979 season after the producers guaranteed that they would make J.J. a more respectable character.
  • Is a honorary member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated
  • Buried at Westview Cemetery, Broward County, Pompano Beach, Florida.
  • Last film was "Train Ride", an independent feature-film written and directed by Rel Dowdell, which was shot on location at the oldest African-American college in the U.S. at Cheyney University, Cheyney, Pennsylvania. She was also in Dowdell's multi-award winning short film version of "Train Ride", done while he was a graduate student at Boston University. She was appearing in "A Raisin in the Sun" at the Huntingdon Theatre in Boston at the time.

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