Esther Rolle

Esther Rolle

Highest Rated: 88% The Mighty Quinn (1989)

Lowest Rated: 47% My Fellow Americans (1996)

Birthday: Nov 8, 1920

Birthplace: Pompano Beach, Florida, USA

Famous for her gruff voice and gap-toothed smile, talented and outspoken African-American actress Esther Rolle made her mark on television as Florida Evans on "Maude" (CBS, 1972-78) and then her own series, "Good Times" (CBS, 1974-79). Like many black actors and actresses of her generation, Rolle often played domestics, but she made the characters more interesting and dignified than was the norm. A staunch advocate for improving the depiction of African-American characters, Rolle demonstrated her convictions by walking off "Good Times" at the height of its popularity when she felt that the series had failed in those regards. She was also a founding member of the Negro Ensemble Company and ranked among its most distinguished alumni. Rolle initially attracted the attention of "Maude" producer Norman Lear via her laudable performances in Broadway productions like "An Evening of One Acts" (1969), "Rosalee Pritchett" (1971) and "Don't Play Us Cheap" (1972). She also went on to do fine work in movies, though rarely in the sort of intriguing lead roles offered to her on stage and television. Both "Maude" and "Good Times" confirmed that Rolle was a wonderful comedic talent even when working with variable material, but she was also an excellent dramatic actress, as evidenced by her impressive résumé of stage credits and Emmy Award-winning turn in the TV movie "Summer of My German Soldier" (NBC, 1978). An actress of great power and range who did not suffer fools gladly, Rolle was an inspiration to actors of any color or creed.

Highest rated movies

The Mighty Quinn
Driving Miss Daisy
Cleopatra Jones
Down in the Delta
How to Make an American Quilt
House of Cards
My Fellow Americans




No Score Yet No Score Yet Train Ride Unknown (Character) - 2000
79% 71% Down in the Delta Annie Sinclair (Character) $5.7M 1998
87% 83% Rosewood Aunt Sarah (Character) $13.1M 1997
47% 64% My Fellow Americans Rita (Character) $22.3M 1996
63% 63% How to Make an American Quilt Aunt Pauline (Character) $23.6M 1995
60% 69% House of Cards Adelle (Character) $102.4K 1993
No Score Yet No Score Yet Message From Nam Queenie/Elizabeth McQueen (Character) - 1993
No Score Yet 79% To Dance With the White Dog Neelie (Character) - 1993
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Kid Who Loved Christmas Esther Clayton (Character) - 1990
No Score Yet 86% Age-Old Friends Mrs. Baker (Character) - 1989
84% 81% Driving Miss Daisy Idella (Character) $105.6M 1989
88% 48% The Mighty Quinn Ubu Pearl (Character) $4.0M 1989
No Score Yet 82% Ethnic Notions Narrator - 1986
No Score Yet 81% P.K. and the Kid Mim (Character) - 1982
No Score Yet No Score Yet Grand Baby Unknown (Character) - 1981
No Score Yet No Score Yet See China and Die Momma Sykes (Character) - 1980
No Score Yet 72% I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Momma (Character) - 1979
No Score Yet 90% Summer of My German Soldier Ruth (Character) - 1978
80% 45% Cleopatra Jones Mrs. Johnson (Character) - 1973
No Score Yet 100% Don't Play Us Cheap Miss Maybell (Character) - 1972


No Score Yet No Score Yet Poltergeist: The Legacy Unknown (Guest Star) 1998
No Score Yet No Score Yet Touched by an Angel Unknown (Guest Star) 1997
No Score Yet No Score Yet Scarlett Mammy (Character) 1994
No Score Yet 66% Murder, She Wrote Unknown (Guest Star) 1985
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Unknown (Guest Star) 1985
No Score Yet No Score Yet Finder of Lost Loves Unknown (Guest Star) 1984
No Score Yet No Score Yet Fantasy Island Unknown (Guest Star) 1983
No Score Yet No Score Yet The New Odd Couple Unknown (Guest Star) 1982
No Score Yet 76% Incredible Hulk Unknown (Guest Star) 1979
No Score Yet 100% Good Times Florida Evans (Character) 1974-1979
No Score Yet No Score Yet What's My Line? Guest 1974
No Score Yet No Score Yet Maude Florida Evans (Character) 1972-1974