Keke Palmer

Keke Palmer Headshot

Actress

Birth Date: August 26, 1993

Age: 30 years old

Birth Place: Harvey, Illinois

Keke Palmer was a bona fide film and television star before she was old enough to take her driver's permit test. The actress charmed critics and audiences alike in "Akeelah and the Bee" (2006) as a young, urban woman who spells her way to the national competition. Palmer's career also spanned music and television, where she earned award recognition for her performance in the television movie, "The Wool Cap" (TNT, 2004).

Palmer further elevated to the top ranks of teen superstardom with a lead role on "True Jackson, VP" (Nickelodeon, 2008-2011), playing a high school teen who lands a dream job in the fashion industry. With the ability to engage her audience in various projects, while at the same time, maintain a good girl image, Palmer's early success in the industry firmly rooted her career as a multitalented entertainer and positive role model for young girls, ranging from a stint on Broadway as Cinderella to a change of pace role on Ryan Murphy's horror comedy "Scream Queens" (Fox 2015- ).

Lauren Keyana Palmer was born on Aug. 26, 1993 in Harvey, IL, a small town 20 miles south of Chicago, to a polyurethane-worker father and an elementary schoolteacher mother. Her older sister coined the nickname "Keke." Growing up, Palmer was a little girl with a big voice, belting out the gospel standard "Jesus Loves Me" at church when she was just five. Palmer was nine when she made her acting debut, playing Queen Latifah's niece in "Barbershop 2: Back In Business" (2004). Soon, Hollywood took notice of the up-and-coming star and began inundating her with offers.

After being encouraged by "Barbershop" producers, Palmer's family decided it was time to pack up and move to Los Angeles in support of her dream. Within weeks, she was cast in an episode of "Cold Case" (CBS, 2003-2010), a national advertisement with K-Mart, and a role opposite William H. Macy in The TV movie, "The Wool Cap." Palmer's portrayal of Lou, an abandoned child, earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries. It was even more remarkable that Palmer - who made history as the youngest actress ever nominated for a SAG - was up against acting powerhouses Charlize Theron, Hilary Swank, Glenn Close, and Patricia Heaton for the award.

Two years after her "Wool Cap" triumph, Palmer stepped into her first feature film-starring role, playing Akeelah Anderson in "Akeelah and the Bee." The film followed the story of a young girl from South Los Angeles who competes in the National Spelling Bee. Once again, Palmer proved she was a young force to be reckoned with, inciting veteran film critic Roger Ebert to proclaim that she deserved an Academy Award nomination for her performance.

That same year, Palmer found commercial success with "Madea's Family Reunion" (2006), a Tyler Perry-directed comedy that topped the box office for two consecutive weeks. Taking a break from big screen projects, Palmer starred in "Jump In" (2007), a Disney Channel original movie about inner city kids involved in the competitive sport of Double Dutch jump roping. Having Disney in her corner also helped Palmer pursue longed-for singing career. She signed a record deal with Atlantic Records and performed the songs "It's My Turn Now" and "Jumpin'" for the movie's soundtrack. Palmer's debut album, So Uncool, a mixture of R&B, pop and inspirational tunes, was released in September 2007.

Palmer returned to the big screen in "The Cleaner," starring opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes and Ed Harris. The young star continued her successful movie streak with the football comedy "The Longshots" (2008), in which she starred as Jasmine Plummer, the first female athlete to participate in the Pop Warner football tournament, the nation's oldest and largest youth football organization. The biographical film, directed by rock singer Fred Durst, reunited Palmer with her "Barbershop" co-star Ice Cube, who played her uncle and the team's coach.

With her movie career on the fast track, Disney and rival network Nickelodeon battled to crown Palmer its newest teen queen. Even though she had enjoyed success with Disney's "Jump In," Nickelodeon offered the young star a lead role she could simply not resist. Palmer starred in the comedy series "True Jackson, VP" as a teen who ends up working as an executive in a major fashion house. The show debuted to high ratings when it premiered in November 2008, while her all-American charm onscreen and off established Palmer as a role model for millions of young women.

In 2009, she reunited with director Perry in the comedy film "Madea Goes To Jail," and appeared opposite Kevin Spacey in the independent feature "Shrink." After "True Jackson, VP" went off the air in 2011, Palmer maintained a presence for younger audiences, playing Peaches in the animated hits "Ice Age: Continental Drift" (2014) and "Ice Age; Collision Course" (2016) and providing a leading voice for the American dubs of the hit Italian animated series "Winx Club" (Fox 2011-15). Palmer also played the title role in a Broadway revival of "Cinderella" in 2014-15 and played Marty Maraschino in "Grease: Live!" (Fox 2016). Making the transition to more adult roles, Palmer co-starred in Ryan Murphy's sardonic horror comedy "Scream Queens" (Fox 2015- ).

Credits

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True Jackson, VPStream

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The LongshotsStream

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2007

Keke Palmer Feat. Big Meech: Keep It Movin'

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Rachael Ray ShowStream

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Akeelah and the BeeStream

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Tyler Perry's Madea's Family ReunionStream

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Made in Hollywood

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The Tyra Show

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ET Canada

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Wild 'N OutStream

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Grey's AnatomyStream

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The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

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2005

Knights of the South Bronx

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2005

Fashion Police

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Second Time Around

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2004

The Wool Cap

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Cold CaseStream

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The Ellen DeGeneres Show

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2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

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2003

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Last Call With Carson Daly

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2002

Live With Regis and Kelly

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2001

106 & Park: BET's Top 10 Live

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Law & Order: Special Victims UnitStream

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Family Guy

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Kickin' It: With Byron Allen

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