Marla Gibbs

Actor, Producer, Nightclub owner
Marla Gibbs has earned her place in TV history playing Florence Johnston, the less than efficient and always wisecracking maid of George and Louise Jefferson on "The Jeffersons" (CBS, 1975-1985), and as Mary Jenkins ... Read more »
Born: 06/13/1931 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Actor (71)

Grantham & Rose 2014 (Movie)

Rose (Actor)

Pioneers of Television 2013 - 2014 (Tv Show)

Interviewee

Southland 2012 (Tv Show)

Actor

Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection 2012 (Movie)

Hattie (Actor)

The Heart Specialist 2011 (Movie)

(Actor)

Lincoln Heights 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

Back to the Grind 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

Chappelle's Show 2006 (Tv Show)

Actor

Cold Case 2005 (Tv Show)

Actor

ER 2005 (Tv Show)

Actor

TV's Greatest Sidekicks 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

CBS at 75: A Primetime Celebration 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Listen Up 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

Mouthing Off: 51 Greatest Smartasses 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Arli$$ 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Hughleys 1998 - 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

The King of Queens 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

A Different World 1992 - 1993, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Burke's Law 1992 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Dawson's Creek 1992 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Empty Nest 1992 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

In the Heat of the Night 1992 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Martial Law 1992 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Martin 1992 - 1993, 1995 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Brothers 2001 (Movie)

Mary West (Actor)

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 1992 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Touched By an Angel 1992 - 1996, 1998 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Disney's 101 Dalmatians: The Series 1997 - 2000 (TV Show)

Voice

TV Guide's Truth Behind the Sitcoms 4 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The 2000 Trumpet Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The Visit 2000 (Movie)

Lois Waters (Actor)

1998 Creative Arts Emmy Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Foolish 1999 (Movie)

Odetta Waise (Actor)

Lost and Found 1999 (Movie)

Enid (Actor)

Stanley's Gig 1999 (Movie)

Elanor Whitney (Actor)

Mother Goose: A Rappin' and Rhymin' Special 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Voice

Picture What Women Do 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Townsend Television 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

The Meteor Man 1993 (Movie)

Mrs Reed (Actor)

Burt Wolf/ Eating Well 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Math... Who Needs It?! 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The 24th Annual NAACP Image Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

A Salute to America's Pets 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Motown 30: What's Goin' On! 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Up Against the Wall 1991 (Movie)

Louise Bradley (Actor)

227 1985 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 24th Annual Victor Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 5th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The Television Academy Hall of Fame 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Drug Free Kids: A Parent's Guide 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The 12th Annual Circus of the Stars 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The Late Show 1986 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The 13th Annual People's Choice Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The 19th Annual NAACP Image Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

NBC's 60th Anniversary Celebration 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Pryor's Place 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The Jeffersons 1975 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The Real Trivial Pursuit 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Checking In 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

You Can't Take It With You 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

Arthur Hailey's "The Moneychangers" 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Sweet Jesus, Preacher Man 1971 (Movie)

Beverly Solomon (Actor)

Dream On (TV Show)

Actor

Lily in Winter (TV Show)

Actor

Menu For Murder (TV Show)

Actor

The Fire Next Time (TV Show)

Actor

The Last Breeze of Summer (TV Show)

Actor

The Missing Are Deadly (TV Show)

Actor
Music (1)

Precious 2009 (Movie)

("227 End Credits (No Place Like Home) From The Television Series 227") (Song Performer)

Biography

Marla Gibbs has earned her place in TV history playing Florence Johnston, the less than efficient and always wisecracking maid of George and Louise Jefferson on "The Jeffersons" (CBS, 1975-1985), and as Mary Jenkins, gossipy homemaker and general building yenta on the NBC series "227," which she also co-produced. Acting, let alone stardom, came to Marla Gibbs relatively late. A divorcee with three children, she worked as a receptionist, addressograph operator, switchboard operator, and was a reservations clerk for United Airlines before she even attempted acting professionally. In fact, she left Detroit, where she was working for United Airlines, and transferred to L.A. for the climate and her daughter's schooling. It was when looking into after school activities for her daughter that Gibbs herself signed up for some acting lessons at a performing arts center. She was hooked. Her first role came with the obscure independent film "Sweet Jesus, Preacher Man" (1972), and can also be spotted in the blaxploitation "Black Belt Jones" (1974). In 1975, Gibbs was hired for a guest shot on "The Jeffersons" playing one of the candidates for household domestic nouveau riche George is interviewing over the objections of his wife. Per the script, Gibbs brought down the house when she noticed that African Americans were living in this swanky East Side New York building and asked, "How come we got over and nobody told me?" Norman Lear and the powers at his TAT Communications were so taken by Gibbs, that they hired her as a regular member of the cast where for 11 seasons she shirked her maid duties and insulted Sherman Hemsley, besides earning five Emmy nominations as best supporting actress in a comedy series. Gibbs disappeared for a short while in 1981 when she was given a four-episode tryout on her own series, "Checking In" (CBS), in which Florence becomes supervisor of maid services at a hotel. When the tryout didn't click, she returned to "The Jeffersons". When "The Jeffersons" was cancelled after 11 seasons, Gibbs was ready. She had acquired the rights to a play performed in her native Chicago about an overbearing woman in an apartment building. Gibbs performed the play, also called "227" at her own Crossroads Theatre in the Leimert Park section of Los Angeles -- which she had founded in 1981 -- then sold NBC on the concept for a series. The result was "227," which ran on NBC from 1985-1990. Her popularity also made Fox take a look at Gibbs as a possible talk show host and she was one of a revolving number of hosts on "The Late Show" in 1986. Gibbs began in longforms in 1976 with a role in "The Moneychangers" for NBC, and, in 1993, she was a bureaucratic clerk causing problems for Bonnie Bedelia in the miniseries "The Fire Next Time" (CBS). Gibbs also played Natalie Cole's mother in the USA Network original movie "Lily in Winter" (1994), and returned to feature films in 1993 with a cameo in "Meteor Man" for director Robert Townsend. In 1982 Gibbs bought a club on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Los Angeles and renamed it "Marla's." For a good part of a decade it was a meeting place and performance venue for the African American community, in which Gibbs has taken a active role. She has won seven NAACP Image Awards.

Relationships

Susie Garrett Actor

Sister
Born Dec. 29, 1929 Died May 24, 2002

Jordan Gibbs

Husband
Married 1956 Divorced 1973

Douglas Gibbs

Father

Ophelia Gibbs

Mother

Dorian Gibbs

Son

Jordan Gibbs

Son

Angela Mills

Daughter

EDUCATION

Peters Business School

Chicago , Illinois 1950 - 1952

Milestones

2012

Reunited with her "227" daughter Regina King with a guest role on "Southland" (TNT)

2012

Appeared in the comedy "Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection"

2006

Appeared in "The Heart Specialist," starring Brian White and Zoe Saldana

2000

Cast as the mother of a jailed man dying of AIDS in "The Visit"

1998

Played recurring role of D.L. Hughley's mother on "The Hughleys" (ABC, UPN)

1993

Returned to the big screen as the title character's mother in "The Meteor Man"

1986

Appeared as one of rotating hosts of "The Late Show" (Fox)

1985

Starred in and co-produced the sitcom "227" (NBC); also wrote several episodes

1981

Starred on "Checking In" (CBS)

1976

Made TV longform debut, "The Moneychangers" (NBC)

1975

Played Florence, the wisecracking maid on "The Jeffersons" (CBS)

1972

Made feature film debut in "Sweet Jesus, Preacher Man"

Ran the Vision Theater Complex and Marla's Memory Lane, a jazz supper club

Bonus Trivia

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Gibbs created The Choice Foundation, a non-profit fundraising entity.

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