Sheryl Lee Ralph

Sheryl Lee Ralph Headshot

Singer • Actress • Activist

Birth Date: December 30, 1956

Age: 67 years old

Birth Place: Waterbury, Connecticut

Sheryl Lee Ralph is an American actress, singer, and writer who made a name for herself starring in one of the most legendary musicals in Broadway history, before enjoying a prolific and varied career in both film and TV, paving a path for aspiring African-American performers from all walks of life. Born on December 30, 1956 in Waterbury, CT, Ralph was the eldest child and only daughter of Stanley Ralph, a college professor, and Ivy Ralph, a fashion designer. As her mother was of Afro-Jamaican descent, Ralph spent much of her childhood in Mandeville, Jamaica, before the family moved to Long Island. While attending Uniondale High School in Uniondale, NY, Ralph first got the acting bug when she starred in her high school's production of "Oklahoma!" Following her high school graduation in 1972, Ralph attended Rutgers University, where she was one of the first recipients of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and at age 19, became the youngest woman to ever graduate from Rutgers. Ralph took up acting professionally after graduation, making her film debut in "A Piece of the Action" (1977), and then a year later, making her TV debut with a cameo on "Good Times" (CBS, 1974-1979). Ralph's big break came when she was cast as Deena Jones in the original Broadway production of "Dreamgirls," the hit musical loosely based on the rise and fall of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. Critics and audiences alike were wowed by her powerhouse performance, and she was nominated the following year for a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical. Following the success of "Dreamgirls," Ralph joined the cast of the daytime soap opera "Search for Tomorrow" (CBS, 1951-1986) for the 1983-1984 season, before playing Ginger St. James on the sitcom "It's a Living" (ABC, 1985-1989). She also began appearing more often in films, voicing Rita in the Disney animated film "Oliver & Company" (1988), playing Denzel Washington's wife in the thriller "The Mighty Quinn" (1989), and earning an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her turn in Charles Burnett's indie hit "To Sleep with Anger" (1990). Ralph appeared alongside Robert DeNiro in "Mistress" (1992), Eddie Murphy in "The Distinguished Gentleman" (1992), and Whoopie Goldberg in "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" (1993), while also taking a series regular role on the final season of the sitcom "Designing Women" (CBS, 1986-1993). Her next series regular gig came when she was cast as Dee Mitchell, mother to Brandy's titular character on the hit sitcom "Moesha" (UPN, 1996-2001). The early 2000s were a slow period for Ralph, she mostly took guest roles on shows like "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) and "Barbershop: The Series" (Showtime, 2005), and even appearing as herself on the reality series "My Super Sweet 16" (MTV, 2005-2009), and "Baldwin Hills" (BET, 2007-2009). She also took a lead role in the Broadway musical version of "The First Wives Club" when original star Adriane Lenox dropped out due to health issues. Her next two series regular gigs came on the sitcoms "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" (TBS, 2006-2012) and "Instant Mom" (Nickelodeon/TV Land, 2013-2015). Ralph was next seen playing Rose on the sitcom "Fam" (CBS, 2019-).

Credits

Young LoveStream

Voice
Series
2023
100%

Live with Kelly and MarkStream

Guest
Talk
2023

Sherri

Guest
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2022

The Jennifer Hudson ShowStream

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Talk
2022

Access Daily With Mario & Kit

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2022

If We're Being Honest with Laverne CoxStream

Guest
Talk
2022

The Pulse With Bill Anderson

Guest
Show
2022

How We RollStream

Guest Star
Loretta
Series
2022
67%

Soul of a Nation Presents: X/onerated -- The Murder of Malcolm X and 55 Years to Justice

Self
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2022

Abbott ElementaryStream

Actor
Barbara Howard
Series
2021
99%

Nick Cannon

Guest
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2021

Turning the Tables with Robin RobertsStream

Self
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2021

Celebrity Wheel of FortuneStream

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Game Show
2021

Christmas in My HeartStream

Actor
Ruthie Sampson
Movie
2021

Zerlina

Guest
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2020

GMA3: What You Need to Know

Guest
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2020

GMA3: What You Need to Know

Music Performer
Show
2020

Fashionably YoursStream

Actor
Janet
Movie
2020

Christmas Comes TwiceStream

Actor
Miss Nelson
Movie
2020

The Kelly Clarkson ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2019

Access Daily

Guest
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2019

Access Daily

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2019

Tamron HallStream

Music Performer
Talk
2019

First Day Back

Executive Producer
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2019

Today With Hoda & Jenna

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2019

Fam: Extras

Actor
Rose
Show
2019

FamStream

Actor
Rose
Series
2019
40%

Christmas Hotel

Actor
Marnie
Movie
2019

Localish

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2018

No Sleep 'Til ChristmasStream

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Mrs. Wright
Movie
2018

Sister Circle

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2017

Daily Blast Live

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2017

Carpool Karaoke: The SeriesStream

Self
Reality
2017

ClawsStream

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Matilde
Series
2017
90%

Daily Pop

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News
2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

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2017

Just Getting Started

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Roberta
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2017

Christmas at Holly LodgeStream

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Nadine
Movie
2017

News One Now: 2016 Election Night Watch Party

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2016

MacGyverStream

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2016

Celebrity PageStream

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2016

One MississippiStream

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Felicia Hollingsworth
Series
2015
96%

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

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2015

Rupaul's Drag Race: RuVealed

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2015

Celebrity Family FeudStream

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Game Show
2015

The Late Late Show With James Corden

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2015

Variety Studio: Actors on Actors

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2014

Women of Power

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2014

Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & DawnStream

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Ms. Dumont
Series
2014

Hollywood Today Live

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2014

One Love

Actor
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2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

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Talk
2014

Instant MomStream

Actor
Maggie
Series
2013

The Social

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2013

The Real

Actor
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2013

The Real

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2013

The Real

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2013

Ray DonovanStream

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Claudette
Series
2013
72%

Home & Family

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2012

Parental Discretion With Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

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2012

SmashStream

Guest Star
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2012
68%

Christmas in Compton

Actor
Abuta
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2012

Ladies of the Church

Actor
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2012

2 Broke GirlsStream

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Genet
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2011

Dish Nation

Guest
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2011

Dr. Steve

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2011

Kiss and Tell: The History of Black Romance in Movie

Co-Producer
Movie
2011

The Talk

Guest
Talk
2010

Access Hollywood Live

Guest
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2010

Hollywood Uncensored

Guest
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2010

Blessed & Cursed

Actor
Lady Wright
Movie
2010

Blessed & Cursed

Executive Producer
Movie
2010

The Doctors

Guest
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2008

The Wendy Williams ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2008

The Laura Flanders Show

Guest
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2008

The Better Show

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2007

etalk

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2006

Hannah MontanaStream

Guest Star
Clarice Johnson
Series
2006

Criminal Minds: EvolutionStream

Guest Star
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2005

Kink in My Hair

Actor
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2004

InnerVIEWS With Ernie Manouse

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2004

Urban Style

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2003

Las VegasStream

Guest Star
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2003

Whoopi

Guest Star
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2003
26%

The Proud FamilyStream

Guest Voice
Diana
Series
2001

The Jennie Project

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Dr. Pamela Prentiss
Movie
2001

The District

Guest Star
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2000

Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel

Actor
Nurse
Movie
2000

The ParkersStream

Director
Series
1999

The ParkersStream

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Series
1999

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

Guest
Talk
1999

Films of Norman Jewison

Actor
Movie
1999

Unconditional Love

Actor
Linda Cray
Movie
1999

Deterrence

Actor
Gayle Redford
Movie
1999

Hook'd Up

Actor
Chantal
Movie
1999

The Wild ThornberrysStream

Guest Voice
Series
1998

The View

Guest
Talk
1997

Sabrina the Teenage WitchStream

Guest Star
Series
1996

Access Hollywood

Guest
News
1996

MoeshaStream

Actor
Dee Mitchell
Series
1996

MoeshaStream

Guest Star
Series
1996

Bogus

Actor
Ruth Clark
Movie
1996

White Man's Burden

Actor
Roberta
Movie
1995
24%

ERStream

Guest Star
Gloria Gallant
Series
1994

Witch Hunt

Actor
Hypolyta Kropotkin
Movie
1994

George

Actor
Maggie Foster
Series
1993

Sister Act 2: Back in the HabitStream

Actor
Florence Watson
Movie
1993
18%

Caballero Distinguido

Actor
Movie
1992

Mistress

Actor
Beverly
Movie
1992

The Distinguished Gentleman

Actor
Miss Loretta
Movie
1992

New Attitude

Actor
Vicki St. James
Show
1990

To Sleep With Anger

Actor
Linda
Movie
1990

The Mighty QuinnStream

Actor
Lola Quinn
Movie
1989
88%

A Espalda de la Ley

Actor
Movie
1989

Oliver & CompanyStream

Voice
Rita
Movie
1988
53%

Designing WomenStream

Guest Star
Series
1986

Code Name: Foxfire

Actor
Maggie Bryan
Movie
1985

Slay It Again Sam

Actor
Maggie Bryan
Movie
1985

V: The SeriesStream

Guest Star
Series
1984
67%

HunterStream

Guest Star
Josie Clifford
Series
1984

The Neighborhood

Actor
Doris Campbell
Movie
1982

It's a LivingStream

Actor
Ginger St. James
Series
1980

Wonder WomanStream

Guest Star
Series
1976

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

The JeffersonsStream

Guest Star
Jeanie
Series
1975

Good TimesStream

Guest Star
Vanessa Blake
Series
1974

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonStream

Guest
Talk
1962

News aboutSheryl Lee Ralph

Lisa Ann Walter and Bradley Cooper in 'Abbott Elementary'
Spoiler Alert

‘Abbott Elementary’: Bradley Cooper Drops in for Post-Oscar Episode

Quinta Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, Janelle James, and Tyler James Williams in 'Abbott Elementary' Season 3
Exclusive

‘Abbott Elementary’s Smoking Ban Policy Goes Up in Flames in First Look (VIDEO)

Josh Segarr, Kimia Behpoornia, Quinta Brunson, and Benjamin Norris in 'Abbott Elementary' Season 3 Premiere
Spoiler Alert

‘Abbott Elementary’ Season 3 Premiere: Inside Janine’s District Job, Status With Gregory & More

Tyler James Williams and Quinta Brunson in 'Abbott Elementary' Season 3

‘Abbott Elementary’ Season 3 Trailer Teases What’s Next for Gregory & Janine (VIDEO)

The cast of 'Abbott Elementary' Season 3
Exclusive

‘Abbott Elementary’ Stars Go Behind the Scenes of Season 3 (VIDEO)

Jessie T. Usher, Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Roundtree in 'Shaft'

Samuel L. Jackson & More Honor ‘Shaft’ Star Richard Roundtree: ‘The Best to Ever Do It’

‘Carpool Karaoke: The Series’ Returns With ‘Ghosts’ Cast, ‘Glee’ & ‘Community’ Reunions, and More (VIDEO)

Sheryl Lee Ralph

Sheryl Lee Ralph Alleges She Was Sexually Assaulted by TV Judge

Tyler James Williams in 'Abbott Elementary'
Exclusive

‘Abbott Elementary’: Gregory’s New Look Raises Eyebrows in Sneak Peek (VIDEO)

Sheryl Lee Ralph performs 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' prior to Super Bowl LVII

Sheryl Lee Ralph Expertly Shuts Down Super Bowl Lip-Sync Chatter: ‘Does It Matter?’

Sheryl Lee Ralph at the Super Bowl

Sheryl Lee Ralph Brings Down the House With ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ at Super Bowl 2023 (VIDEO)

Super Bowl 2023

Super Bowl 2023 Performers: Who’s Singing the National Anthem & More

Chris Perfetti and Sheryl Lee Ralph in 'Abbott Elementary' Season 2
Exclusive

‘Abbott Elementary’: Barbara Helps Jacob With Fundraising in First Look (VIDEO)

The cast of 'Abbott Elementary'

‘Abbott Elementary’ Renewed for Season 3 at ABC

Golden Globes 2023 arrivals

2023 Golden Globes Red Carpet Arrivals: Sheryl Lee Ralph, Bob Odenkirk, Jennifer Coolidge & More (PHOTOS)

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp to Make Surprise Appearance in Rihanna’s ‘Savage x Fenty Show Vol 4’

(L-R) Simu Liu, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Taraji P. Henson, and Winston Duke

Rihanna’s ‘Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 4’ to Feature Sheryl Lee Ralph, Taraji P. Henson, Simu Liu & More

Abbott Elementary Season 2 cast
Spoiler Alert

‘Abbott Elementary’: Did the Season 2 Premiere Live Up to the Hype? (POLL)

Sheryl Lee Ralph at the 74th Primetime Emmys
Emmys

Sheryl Lee Ralph on Her Emmy Win & the ‘Abbott Elementary’ Role She Originally Wanted

Lizzo on 2022 Emmys
Review

Critic’s Notebook: Big Grrls and Empowered Women Triumph at 2022 Emmys

Jackee Harry and Sheryl Lee Ralph

Jackée Harry Celebrates Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Historic Emmys Win

Emmys 2022 Jean Smart, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Michael Keaton

Emmys 2022: Who Had the Best Acceptance Speech of the Night? (POLL)

Sheryl Lee Ralph wins Emmy
Emmys

Sheryl Lee Ralph Accepts Emmy With Rousing A Cappella Performance (VIDEO)

Abbott Elementary - Season 2 - Tyler James Williams and Janelle James

‘Abbott Elementary’: The Teachers Face New Challenges in Season 2 Trailer (VIDEO)

Abbott Elementary Quinta Brunson cast Key art season 2

‘Abbott Elementary’: School’s Back in Session for Season 2 in a First Look (PHOTOS)

Abbott Elementary - Tyler James Williams and Quinta Brunson

‘Abbott Elementary’ to Stream on HBO Max & Hulu in Co-Exclusive Deal

Emmys 2022: Bob Odenkirk, Sheryl Lee Ralph & More Stars React to Their Nominations

Motherland: Fort Salem - Amalia Holm + Taylor Hickson
Preview

‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ Creator Tees Up Final Season & Teases What Could Be Next

Abbott Elementary - Sheryl Lee Ralph, Chris Perfetti, Janelle James, Tyler James Williams

‘Abbott Elementary’ Cast Talks Changing ‘Hearts & Minds’ With the ABC Comedy

Abbott Elementary - Quinta Brunson and Chris Perfetti

‘Abbott Elementary’: See the Cast Crack Up in Season 1 Blooper Reel (VIDEO)

The cast of Abbott Elementary - Janelle James, Tyler James Williams, Quinta Brunson, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti

‘Abbott Elementary’ (Finally) Renewed for Season 2 at ABC — Fans React

Abbott Elementary
Preview

‘Abbott Elementary’: Is Romance Ahead for Janine & Gregory? Quinta Brunson Weighs In

Abbott Elementary Quinta Brunson, Chris Perfetti, Tyler James Williams

‘Abbott Elementary’ Becomes ABC’s First Comedy Debut to Quadruple Its Ratings

Quinta Brunson in Abbott Elementary, Ana Gasteyer in American Auto
Review

Roush Review: Workplace Humor in ‘Abbott Elementary,’ ‘American Auto’

Abbott Elementary ABC
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‘Abbott Elementary’ Shines a Comedy Light on Urban Education (VIDEO)