Beah Richards

Actor, Playwright, Poet
A veteran stage performer and character player, Beah Richards is perhaps best remembered by movie audiences for her Oscar-nominated portrayal as Sidney Poitier's proud, knowing mother in Stanley Kramer's "Guess Who's ... Read more »
Born: 07/11/1920 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA

Filmography

Actor (42)

Beah: A Black Woman Speaks 2004 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Designing Women 1989 - 1990, 1992 - 1994, 1999 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

Murder, She Wrote 1987 - 1994, 1999 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Practice 1992 - 1994, 1999 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

Beloved 1998 (Movie)

Baby Suggs (Actor)

ER 1994 - 1995 (Tv Show)

Actor

South of Sunset 1993 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

The John Larroquette Show 1992 - 1994 (Tv Show)

Actor

Hearts Afire 1992 - 1993 (Tv Show)

Actor

Drugstore Cowboy 1989 (Movie)

Drug Counselor (Actor)

Barrington 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Inside Out 1987 (Movie)

Verna (Actor)

Time Out For Dad 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Benson 1979 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The Curse 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Generation 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Too Good to Be True 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Down Home 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Mahogany 1975 (Movie)

Florence (Actor)

Outrage! 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bill Cosby Show 1969 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

The Biscuit Eater 1971 (Movie)

Charity Tomlin (Actor)

The Great White Hope 1970 (Movie)

Mama Tiny (Actor)

Hurry Sundown 1967 (Movie)

Rose Scott (Actor)

In the Heat of the Night 1967 (Movie)

Mama Caleba (Actor)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 1966 (Movie)

Mrs Prentice (Actor)

Gone Are the Days 1963 (Movie)

Idella (Actor)

The Miracle Worker 1961 (Movie)

Viney (Actor)

Take a Giant Step 1958 (Movie)

May Scott (Actor)

A Christmas Without Snow (TV Show)

Actor

A Dream For Christmas (TV Show)

Actor

Acceptable Risks (TV Show)

Actor

As Summers Die (TV Show)

Actor

Banjo, the Woodpile Cat (TV Show)

Voice

Footsteps (TV Show)

Actor

Just an Old Sweet Song (TV Show)

Actor

One Special Victory (TV Show)

Actor

Out of Darkness (TV Show)

Actor

Ring of Passion (TV Show)

Actor

Roots: The Next Generations (TV Show)

Actor

The Sophisticated Gents (TV Show)

Actor

Zora Is My Name! (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

A veteran stage performer and character player, Beah Richards is perhaps best remembered by movie audiences for her Oscar-nominated portrayal as Sidney Poitier's proud, knowing mother in Stanley Kramer's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" (1967). Like Angela Lansbury, Richards was often called on to portray the mother of actors not much younger than herself (e.g., she was a mere seven years older than Poitier and 11 years older than James Earl Jones who portrayed her son in 1970's "The Great White Hope"). TV aficionados will recall her from her many appearances ranging from Bill Cosby's mother on his first sitcom (NBC, 1970-71) to a recurring role as the ailing mother of Dr. Benton (Eriq LaSalle) on "ER" (NBC, 1994-95).

Relationships

Hugh Harrell

Husband
divorced

EDUCATION

Dillard University

New Orleans , Louisiana

Milestones

2000

Earned second Emmy Award for guest performance as an elderly woman whose daughter is seeking legal recourse to nullify her mother's marriage on "The Practice" (ABC)

1998

Made one-shot return to films in "Beloved" playing Baby Suggs

1987

Won an Emmy Award as Best Guest Actress on an acclaimed episode of the CBS series "Frank's Place"

1987

Returned to features in "Inside Out"

1979

Began appearances in one-woman show "An Evening with Beah Richards"; also wrote the piece

1979

Featured in the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generations"

1975

Last film for 12 years "Mahogany"

1972

First TV-movie, "Footsteps" (CBS)

1972

Appeared as Aunt Ethel on "Sanford and Son" (NBC)

1969

Wrote first stage play "One Is a Crowd" (also acted)

1967

Earned Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?"

1965

Won acclaim for her leading performance on Broadway in "The Amen Corner"

1962

Reprised stage role in the film version of "The Miracle Worker"

1959

Was understudy to Claudia McNeil in the role of Lena Younger in the Broadway production "A Raisin in the Sun"

1959

Made feature film debut recreating her stage role of the grandmother in "Take a Giant Step"

1959

Featured in "The Miracle Worker" on Broadway

1956

Off-Broadway debut, "Take a Giant Step"; played a grandmother

1951

Moved to NYC

1947

Apprenticed at the San Diego Community Theater (dates approximate)

TV series debut as Bill Cosby's mother in "The Bill Cosby Show" (NBC); succeeded Lillian Randolph in the part

Played recurring role on the CBS drama series "Beauty and the Beast"

Played recurring role as the ailing mother of Dr Benton (Eriq LaSalle) on the NBC drama series "ER"

Joined cast of CBS sitcom "Hearts Afire"

Began making guest appearances on episodes of TV series, including "Dr. Kildare" and "Hawaii Five-O"

Bonus Trivia

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At the time of her death, some obituaries listed 1926 as the year of Ms. Richards' birth.

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Richards was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1974.

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