Beah Richards - Rotten Tomatoes

Beah Richards

Highest Rated:   100% Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Lowest Rated:   0% Homer & Eddie (1989)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Born in Vicksburg, MS, in 1920, actress Beah Richards studied at Dillard University in New Orleans before pursuing an acting career on-stage in New York City. She appeared in Louis S. Peterson's off-Broadway play Take a Giant Step and in the film adaptation in 1959. In 1965, she received a Tony nomination for her role as Sister Margaret in James Baldwin's play The Amen Corner, and two years later she received an Academy Award nomination for her supporting role as Sidney Poitier's mother in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. She continued playing matriarch characters in the feature films Hurry Sundown, In the Heat of the Night, and The Great White Hope. During the '70s, she took over for Lillian Randolph as Bill Cosby's mother on The Bill Cosby Show, played Aunt Ethel on Sanford and Son, and played several grandmotherly characters in made-for-TV movies. More television appearances followed in the '80s, with recurring roles on Designing Women, Beauty and the Beast, Hill Street Blues, Roots: The Next Generations, and L.A. Law. In 1987, she received her first Emmy award for playing Olive Varden on Frank's Place. She has also directed plays at the Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center, appeared in her own one-woman show, and published several plays and novels, including the poetry collection A Black Woman Speaks and Other Poems. After playing the substance abuse counselor in Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy, she made a bit of a comeback as Dr. Benton's (Eriq LaSalle) mother on the NBC medical drama ER and as Grandma Baby in Jonathan Demme's Beloved, based on the novel by Toni Morrison. She received an Emmy for her final television appearance as Gertrude Turner on the ABC drama The Practice. She died of emphysema in 2000.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
78% Beloved
  • Baby Suggs
1998
No Score Yet Out of Darkness
  • Actor
1994
No Score Yet ER
  • Mae Benton
1990
0% Homer & Eddie
  • Linda Cervi
1989
100% Drugstore Cowboy
  • Drug Counselor
1989
No Score Yet Big Shots
  • Miss Hanks
1987
No Score Yet Inside Out
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet As Summers Die
  • Elvira Backus
1986
No Score Yet Acceptable Risks
  • Sally Framm
1986
No Score Yet Banjo the Woodpile Cat
  • Zazu
1982
No Score Yet The Sophisticated Gents
  • Actor
1981
No Score Yet A Christmas Without Snow
  • Wendell's Grandma
1980
No Score Yet Ring of Passion (Countdown to the Big One)
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Just an Old Sweet Song
  • Grandma
1976
23% Mahogany
  • Florence
1975
No Score Yet Dream for Christmas
  • Bessie
1973
No Score Yet The Biscuit Eater
  • Charity Tomlin
1972
No Score Yet Footsteps
  • Jessie Blake
1972
43% The Great White Hope
  • Mama Tina
1970
68% Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
  • Mrs. Prentice
1967
96% In the Heat of the Night
  • Mama Caleba
1967
29% Hurry Sundown
  • Rose Scott
1967
No Score Yet Purlie Victorious
  • Idella
1963
100% The Miracle Worker
  • Viney
1962
No Score Yet Take a Giant Step
  • May Scott
1959

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Practice
1997-2004
  • Gertrude Turner
  • 2000
No Score Yet ER
1994-2009
  • Mae Benton Mrs. Benton
  • 1995
  • 1994
No Score Yet Beauty and the Beast
1987-1990
  • Narcissa
  • 1989
  • 1988
  • 1987
No Score Yet The Facts of Life
1979-1988
  • Grandmother
  • 1988

Quotes from Beah Richards' Characters

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