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Nell Carter
Nell Carter
(born Nell Ruth Hardy[11][12]; September 13, 1948 – January 23, 2003[13]) was an American singer and actress. Beginning her career in 1970, Carter started in theater; singing and later crossed over to television. Carter was perhaps best known for her role as Nell Harper on the NBC
NBC
sitcom Gimme a Break!
Gimme a Break!
which originally aired from 1981 to 1987. Carter received two Emmy and two Golden Globe
Golden Globe
award nominations for her work on the series. Prior to Gimme a Break!, Carter won a Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical in 1978 for her performance in the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin', as well as an Primetime Emmy Award for her reprisal of the role on television in 1982.[citation needed]

Contents

1 Early life 2 Career 3 Personal life 4 Death 5 Stage credits 6 Filmography 7 Awards 8 References 9 External links

Early life[edit] Born Nell Ruth Hardy in Birmingham, Alabama, she was one of nine children born to Horace and Edna Mae Hardy. When she was two years old, her father was electrocuted when he stepped on a live power line.[14][15] As a child, she began singing on a local gospel radio show and was also a member of the church choir. At the age of 15, she began performing with the Renaissance Ensemble that played at area coffee houses and gay bars. On July 5, 1965, Hardy, then 16 years old, was raped at gunpoint by a man she knew who gave her a ride home from a performance with the Renaissance Ensemble. Hardy became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter, Tracey, the following year. Hardy attempted to raise Tracey alone, but found it too difficult. She sent Tracey to live with her elder sister Willie (Carter would later claim Tracey was the product of a short lived marriage, but revealed the truth in an interview in 1994).[16] At the age of 19, Hardy left Birmingham and moved to New York City with The Renaissance Ensemble, changing her surname to Carter. While living in New York City, Carter sang in coffee shops before landing her first role on Broadway in 1971.[17] Career[edit] Carter made her Broadway debut in the 1971 rock opera Soon, which closed after three performances. She was the Music Director for the 1974 Westbeth Playwrights Feminist Collective's production of "What Time of Night It Is". Carter appeared alongside Bette Davis
Bette Davis
in the 1974 stage musical Miss Moffat, based on Davis' earlier film The Corn Is Green. The show closed before making it to Broadway. She broke into stardom in the musical Ain't Misbehavin, for which she won a Tony Award in 1978. She won an Emmy for the same role in a televised performance in 1982. Additional Broadway credits included Dude and Annie. In 1979, she had a part in the Miloš Forman-directed musical film adaptation of Hair. Her vocal talents are showcased throughout the motion picture soundtrack.[citation needed] In 1978, Carter was cast as Effie White in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, but departed the production during development to take a television role on the ABC soap opera, Ryan's Hope
Ryan's Hope
in New York. When Dreamgirls
Dreamgirls
premiered in late 1981, Jennifer Holliday had taken over the lead. In 1981, Carter also took a role on television's The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo,[18] before landing the lead role of Nell Harper on the sitcom Gimme a Break!. The series was a ratings hit for NBC
NBC
and earned Carter a Golden Globe and Emmy Award
Emmy Award
nominations. Gimme a Break!
Gimme a Break!
aired from 1981 to 1987. In August 1987, after the cancellation of Gimme a Break!, Carter returned to the nightclub circuit with a five-month national tour with comedian Joan Rivers.[19] In 1989, she shot a pilot for NBC
NBC
entitled Morton's By the Bay, which aired as a one-time special in May of that year. In this, Carter played the assistant to the owner of a banquet hall, and the focus was on her and her mad-cap staff. Alan Ruck
Alan Ruck
and Jann Karam co-starred. NBC
NBC
passed on the series development. In October of that same year, she performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to Game 4 of the 1989 World Series, played at Candlestick Park
Candlestick Park
in San Francisco, California.[citation needed] The following year, Carter starred in the CBS comedy You Take the Kids. The series, which was perceived as being the black answer to Roseanne due to its portrayal of a working-class African-American family, featured Carter as a crass, no-nonsense mother and wife.[20] You Take the Kids faced poor ratings and reviews, and had a month's run from December 1990 to January 1991.[21] During the early 1990s, Carter appeared in low-budget films, TV specials, and on game shows such as Match Game
Match Game
'90 and To Tell the Truth. She co-starred in Hangin' with Mr. Cooper from 1993 to 1995.[22] In the mid-1990s, Carter appeared on Broadway in a revival of Annie as Miss Hannigan. She was upset when commercials promoting the show used a different actress, Marcia Lewis, a white actress, as Miss Hannigan. The producers stated that the commercials, which were made during an earlier production, were too costly to reshoot. Carter said racism played a part in the decision. "Maybe they don't want audiences to know Nell Carter
Nell Carter
is black",[23] she told the New York Post. "It hurts a lot", Carter told the Post, "I've asked them nicely to stop it—it's insulting to me as a black woman."[24] Carter was later replaced by Sally Struthers.[25] In 2001, she appeared as a special guest star on the pilot episode of the new WB show Reba and continued with the show, making three appearances in season one. The following year, Carter made two appearances on Ally McBeal.[22] The following year had her rehearsing for a production of Raisin, a stage musical of A Raisin in the Sun
A Raisin in the Sun
in Long Beach, California, and filming a movie, Swing. Carter's final onscreen appearance was in the comedy film Back by Midnight. It was released in 2005, two years after her death.[22] Personal life[edit] Carter self-identified as a bisexual.[26] After Gimme a Break!
Gimme a Break!
began, Carter's life took a turbulent turn. She attempted suicide in the early 1980s, and entered a drug detoxification facility around 1985. Her brother, Bernard, died of complications due to AIDS
AIDS
in 1989.[16] Carter married mathematician and lumber executive George Krynicki, and converted to Judaism in 1982 (she had been born into a Roman Catholic family and raised Presbyterian).[27][28] Carter filed for divorce from Krynicki in 1989; which was finalized in 1992. Carter had three children: two daughters Tracey and Tiffany son Daniel. She adopted both Tiffany and Daniel as newborns over a four-month period. She attempted to adopt twice more but both adoptions fell through. In her first attempt, she allowed a young pregnant woman to move into her home with the plan that she would adopt the child, but the mother decided to keep her baby. In 1992, Carter had surgery to repair two aneurysms and married Roger Larocque in June of that year,[29] later divorcing Larocque the next year. Carter declared bankruptcy in 1995 and again in 2002. She also endured three miscarriages.[16] Death[edit] On January 23, 2003, Carter collapsed and died at her home in Beverly Hills. Her body was discovered by her son, Joshua.[27][30] Per a provision in Carter's will, no autopsy was performed. Using blood tests, X-rays and a physical examination, the Los Angeles County ruled that Carter's death was the result of "probable arteriosclerotic heart disease, with diabetes a contributing condition."[31] She is survived by her three children.[27][32] Carter is buried at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles.[33] Stage credits[edit]

Soon (1971) (Broadway) The Wedding of Iphigenia
Iphigenia
(1971) (Off-Broadway) Dude (1972) (Broadway) Miss Moffat (1974) (closed on the road) Be Kind to People Week (1975) (Off-Broadway) Tom Eyen's Dirtiest Musical (1975) (Off-Broadway) Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope (1976) (San Francisco) Ain't Misbehavin' (1978) (Manhattan Theatre Club, Broadway and US national tour) One Night Only (1979) (workshop) Black Broadway (1979) (Avery Fisher Hall) Black Broadway (1980) (The Town Hall) Ain't Misbehavin' (1988) (Broadway) Hello, Dolly! (1991) (Long Beach Civic Light Opera) Annie (1997) (Broadway and US national tour) South Pacific (2001) (Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera) The Vagina Monologues
The Vagina Monologues
(2001) (Madison Square Garden)

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1978 Cindy Olive Television movie

1979 Ryan's Hope Ethel Green 11 episodes

1979 Hair Ain't Got No/White Boys

1980–1981 The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo Sgt. Hildy Jones 15 episodes

1981 Back Roads Waitress Alternative title: Love with a Sinner

1981 Modern Problems Dorita

1981–1987 Gimme a Break! Nellie Ruth 'Nell' Harper 137 episodes

1982 The Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
Comedy Hour

Episode #1.3

1982 Tex Mrs. Peters

1986 Amen Bess Richards Episode: "The Courtship of Bess Richards"

1989 227 Beverly Morris Episode: "Take My Diva... Please"

1990–1991 You Take the Kids Nell Kirkland 6 episodes

1992 Maid for Each Other Jasmine Jones Television movie

1992 Final Shot: The Hank Gathers Story Lucille Gathers Television movie

1992 Jake and the Fatman Ethel Mae Haven Episode: "Ain't Misbehavin'"

1992 Bébé's Kids Vivian Voice role

1993–1995 Hangin' with Mr. Cooper P.J. Moore 42 episodes

1995 The Crazysitter The Warden

1995 The Grass Harp Catherine Creek

1995–1997 Spider-Man: The Animated Series Glory Grant 2 episodes

1996 Can't Hurry Love Mrs. Bradstock Episode: "The Rent Strike"

1996 The Proprietor Millie Jackson

1997 The Blues Brothers Animated Series Betty Smythe (Voice) Episode: "Strange Death of Betty Smythe"

1997 Brotherly Love Nell Bascombe Episode: "Paging Nell"

1997 Sparks Barbara Rogers Episode: "Hoop Schemes"

1997 Fakin' da Funk Claire

1998-1999 Match Game Herself, regular panelist

1999 Special
Special
Delivery

1999 We Wish You a Merry Christmas Mrs. Claus
Mrs. Claus
(Voice) Video game

1999 Follow Your Heart Bus driver

1999 Sealed with a Kiss Mrs. Wheatley Television movie

2001 Blue's Clues Mother Nature Episode: "Environments"

2001 Touched by an Angel Cynthia Winslow 2 episodes

2001 Seven Days Lucy Episode: "Live: From Death Row"

2001 Perfect Fit Mrs. Gordy

2001 Reba Dr. Susan Peters 3 episodes

2002 Ally McBeal Harriet Pumple 2 episodes

2003 Swing Juan Gallardo

2005 Back by Midnight Waitress Released posthumously

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Title of work

1978 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Ain't Misbehavin'

1978 Theatre World Award

Ain't Misbehavin'

1978 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Musical Ain't Misbehavin'

1982 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement - Special
Special
Class Ain't Misbehavin'

References[edit]

^ Venus, Volumes 8-9 - Nell Carter
Nell Carter
(1948-2003) - 2002 ^ Encyclopedia of Alabama - Nell Carter ^ BlackPast.ORG - Nell Carter ^ CNN - Actress-singer Nell Carter
Nell Carter
dies - January 23, 2003 ^ Chronicles of Old Los Angeles: Exploring the Devilish History of the City of ... - Hillside Memorial Park ^ Hollywood Death and Scandal Sites: Seventeen Driving Tours with Directions - Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery ^ JET Magazine - Nell Carter
Nell Carter
Marries Man Who Rescued Her From Emotional Crisis - May 31, 1982 ^ JET Magazine - Nell Carter
Nell Carter
Take Charge Of Life, Love And Career - September 25, 1989 ^ The Show Must Go On: How the Deaths of Lead Actors Have Affected Television ... - Nell Carter ^ InterFaith Family - Obituary of Nell Carter ^ Contemporary theatre, film, and television - Nell Carter ^ Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. - Nell Carter ^ Historical Dictionary of African American Television - Nell Carter (1948-2003) ^ McCann, Bob (2010). Encyclopedia of African American Actresses in Film and Television. McFarland. p. 74. ISBN 0-786-43790-1.  ^ Crowther, Linnea (2012-01-23). "The Highs and Lows of Nell Carter". legacy.com. Retrieved December 12, 2012.  ^ a b c Gold, Todd (February 28, 1994). "Oh, the Troubles She's Seen". People. people.com. Retrieved May 7, 2017.  ^ "Stage, Television Star Nell Carter
Nell Carter
Dies at 54". 103 (7). Johnson Publishing Company. 2003-02-10: 49. ISSN 0021-5996.  ^ " Nell Carter
Nell Carter
Joins 'Lobo' Series, And Ratings Go Up". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 60 (10): 54. May 21, 1981. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved May 7, 2017.  ^ " Nell Carter
Nell Carter
Returns To Nightclubs After TV Show". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 72 (21): 29. August 17, 1987. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved May 7, 2017.  ^ Tucker, Ken (December 14, 1990). "You Take The Kids". Entertainment Weekly. ew.com. Retrieved May 7, 2017.  ^ "'You Take The Kids' Put On Hiatus By CBS". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 79 (15): 62. January 28, 1991. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved May 7, 2017.  ^ a b c Nell Carter
Nell Carter
on IMDb ^ Nell Carter, Ain't Misbehavin' Star, Dead at 54 - Playbill Archived 2009-01-26 at the Wayback Machine. ^ " Nell Carter
Nell Carter
Speaks Out on Annie Commercials". Playbill. playbill.com. May 22, 1997. Retrieved May 7, 2017.  ^ " Sally Struthers
Sally Struthers
Takes Over as Miss Hannigan in Annie Tour Jan. 5". Playbill. playbill.com. January 5, 1998. Retrieved May 7, 2017.  ^ Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the Original Dreamgirl By Sheryl Lee Ralph p.87 ^ a b c Pfefferman, Naomi (2009-01-31). "'Pop-soul belter' Nell Carter, 54, devoted convert to Judaism, dies". jweekly.com. Retrieved December 2, 2012.  ^ "Actress Nell Carter
Nell Carter
Dies at 54". Fox News. January 23, 2003.  ^ JET Magazine - Nell Carter's Wedding - June 22, 1992 ^ Holden, Stephen (January 23, 2003). "Sitcom star collapses at home, dies at 54 - Gimme a Break!, Ain't Misbehavin -- brought her fame". SFGate. sfgate.com. Retrieved May 7, 2017.  ^ Boehm, Mike (March 5, 2003). "Ruling In Nell Carter's Death". Los Angeles Times. latimes.com. Retrieved May 7, 2017.  ^ "Carter's death natural". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 2003-05-07. p. 12B. Retrieved December 2, 2012.  ^ Wilson, Scott; Mank, Gregory William (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3 ed.). McFarland. p. 122. ISBN 1-476-62599-9. 

External links[edit]

Biography portal LGBT portal African American portal

Nell Carter
Nell Carter
at the Internet Off-Broadway Database Nell Carter
Nell Carter
on IMDb

v t e

Primetime Emmy Award
Emmy Award
for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program

Perry Como
Perry Como
/ Dinah Shore
Dinah Shore
(1959) Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte
(1960) Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire
(1961) Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
(1962) Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett
(1963) Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
(1964) Art Carney
Art Carney
(1967) Art Carney
Art Carney
/ Pat Paulsen
Pat Paulsen
(1968) Arte Johnson
Arte Johnson
/ Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
(1969) Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
(1971) Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
(1972) Tim Conway
Tim Conway
(1973) Harvey Korman
Harvey Korman
/ Brenda Vaccaro
Brenda Vaccaro
(1974) Jack Albertson
Jack Albertson
/ Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1975) Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase
/ Vicki Lawrence
Vicki Lawrence
(1976) Tim Conway
Tim Conway
/ Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno
(1977) Tim Conway
Tim Conway
/ Gilda Radner
Gilda Radner
(1978) Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
(1981) Nell Carter
Nell Carter
/ André De Shields
André De Shields
(1982) Leontyne Price
Leontyne Price
(1983) Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman
(1984) George Hearn (1985) Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
(1986) Robin Williams
Robin Williams
(1987) Robin Williams
Robin Williams
(1988) Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt
(1989) Tracey Ullman
Tracey Ullman
(1990) Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
(1991) Bette Midler
Bette Midler
(1992) Dana Carvey (1993) Tracey Ullman
Tracey Ullman
(1994) Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
(1995) Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
(1996) Bette Midler
Bette Midler
(1997) Billy Crystal
Billy Crystal
(1998) John Leguizamo
John Leguizamo
(1999) Eddie Izzard
Eddie Izzard
(2000) Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
(2001) Sting (2002) Wayne Brady
Wayne Brady
(2003) Elaine Stritch
Elaine Stritch
(2004) Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
(2005) Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow
(2006) Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
(2007) Don Rickles
Don Rickles
(2008)

v t e

Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical

Imelda de Martin (1964) no award (1965-1968) Dorothy Loudon
Dorothy Loudon
/ Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters
(1969) Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
/ Sandy Duncan
Sandy Duncan
/ Ethel Merman
Ethel Merman
(1970) Helen Gallagher
Helen Gallagher
/ Alexis Smith
Alexis Smith
(1971) Jonelle Allen (1972) Glynis Johns
Glynis Johns
/ Michele Lee
Michele Lee
(1973) Ruby Lynn Reyner (1974) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
(1975) Donna McKechnie
Donna McKechnie
(1976) Clamma Dale (1977) Nell Carter
Nell Carter
(1978) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
(1979) Patti LuPone
Patti LuPone
(1980) Lena Horne
Lena Horne
(1981) Jennifer Holliday (1982) Natalia Makarova
Natalia Makarova
(1983) Chita Rivera
Chita Rivera
(1984) No award (1985) Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters
(1986) Teresa Stratas
Teresa Stratas
(1987) Patti LuPone
Patti LuPone
(1988) Toni DiBuono (1989) Tyne Daly
Tyne Daly
(1990) Lea Salonga
Lea Salonga
(1991) Faith Prince (1992) Chita Rivera
Chita Rivera
(1993) Donna Murphy
Donna Murphy
(1994) Glenn Close
Glenn Close
(1995) Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews
(1996) Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth
(1997) Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson
(1998) Carolee Carmello
Carolee Carmello
/ Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters
(1999) Heather Headley (2000) Marla Schaffel (2001) Sutton Foster
Sutton Foster
(2002) Marissa Jaret Winokur
Marissa Jaret Winokur
(2003) Donna Murphy
Donna Murphy
(2004) Victoria Clark
Victoria Clark
(2005) Christine Ebersole
Christine Ebersole
(2006) Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald
/ Donna Murphy
Donna Murphy
(2007) Patti LuPone
Patti LuPone
(2008) Allison Janney
Allison Janney
(2009) Catherine Zeta-Jones
Catherine Zeta-Jones
/ Montego Glover
Montego Glover
(2010) Sutton Foster
Sutton Foster
(2011) Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald
(2012) Laura Osnes
Laura Osnes
(2013) Jessie Mueller
Jessie Mueller
(2014) Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth
(2015) Cynthia Erivo (2016) Bette Midler
Bette Midler
(2017)

v t e

Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical

Juanita Hall (1950) Isabel Bigley (1951) Helen Gallagher
Helen Gallagher
(1952) Sheila Bond (1953) Gwen Verdon
Gwen Verdon
(1954) Carol Haney (1955) Lotte Lenya
Lotte Lenya
(1956) Edie Adams
Edie Adams
(1957) Barbara Cook
Barbara Cook
(1958) Pat Stanley (1959) Patricia Neway (1960) Tammy Grimes
Tammy Grimes
(1961) Phyllis Newman
Phyllis Newman
(1962) Anna Quayle (1963) Tessie O'Shea
Tessie O'Shea
(1964) Maria Karnilova (1965) Beatrice Arthur (1966) Peg Murray (1967) Lillian Hayman (1968) Marian Mercer
Marian Mercer
(1969) Melba Moore
Melba Moore
(1970) Patsy Kelly
Patsy Kelly
(1971) Linda Hopkins
Linda Hopkins
(1972) Patricia Elliott (1973) Janie Sell (1974) Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater
(1975) Kelly Bishop
Kelly Bishop
(1976) Delores Hall (1977) Nell Carter
Nell Carter
(1978) Carlin Glynn (1979) Priscilla Lopez (1980) Marilyn Cooper
Marilyn Cooper
(1981) Liliane Montevecchi
Liliane Montevecchi
(1982) Betty Buckley
Betty Buckley
(1983) Lila Kedrova
Lila Kedrova
(1984) Leilani Jones (1985) Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth
(1986) Frances Ruffelle (1987) Judy Kaye (1988) Debbie Shapiro (1989) Randy Graff
Randy Graff
(1990) Daisy Eagan
Daisy Eagan
(1991) Tonya Pinkins (1992) Andrea Martin
Andrea Martin
(1993) Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald
(1994) Gretha Boston (1995) Ann Duquesnay (1996) Lillias White (1997) Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald
(1998) Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth
(1999) Karen Ziemba (2000) Cady Huffman
Cady Huffman
(2001) Harriet Sansom Harris (2002) Jane Krakowski
Jane Krakowski
(2003) Anika Noni Rose
Anika Noni Rose
(2004) Sara Ramirez
Sara Ramirez
(2005) Beth Leavel
Beth Leavel
(2006) Mary Louise Wilson (2007) Laura Benanti (2008) Karen Olivo
Karen Olivo
(2009) Katie Finneran
Katie Finneran
(2010) Nikki M. James
Nikki M. James
(2011) Judy Kaye (2012) Andrea Martin
Andrea Martin
(2013) Lena Hall
Lena Hall
(2014) Ruthie Ann Miles (2015) Renée Elise Goldsberry
Renée Elise Goldsberry
(2016) Rachel Bay Jones
Rachel Bay Jones
(2017)

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 2660768 LCCN: n78062601 ISNI: 0000 0001 0863 4540 GND: 134344324 SUDOC: 081977018 BNF: cb13938568p (data) MusicBrainz: 90147c4e-8324-4057-9e9e-

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