Isabel Sanford - Rotten Tomatoes

Isabel Sanford

Highest Rated:   75% Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
Lowest Rated:   22% Sprung (1997)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Defying her mother's wishes, African-American actress Isabel Sanford secretly worked as a nightclub performer in her teens. Upon winning 3rd prize in an Apollo Theatre amateur contest, Sanford could keep her new career a secret no longer. Married to a house painter who worked only on a seasonal basis, she held down a full-time job as a keypunch operator at the New York City department of Welfare, spending her evenings acting with such groups as Harlem Y and the American Negro Theatre. Seeking out better opportunities, Sanford packed her family into a bus and headed to Hollywood in the early 1960s. Her breakthrough film role was in Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner; she played Tillie the cook, who heartily disapproved of the upcoming interracial marriage between Katharine Houghton and Sidney Poitier (the hardest part of this assignment was not mouthing the "controversial" dialogue but preparing dinner in a key scene; Sanford had never learned to cook!) On the strength of this film, Isabel Sanford was hired for several guest spots on The Carol Burnett Show, which led to her most famous characterization: Louise Jefferson, the acerbic but loving wife of "movin' on up" Sherman Hemsley, on the immensely popular sitcom The Jeffersons (1975-82).

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
60% Hickey & Boggs
  • Nyona's Mother
2000
22% Sprung
  • Sista No. 1
1997
50% Original Gangstas
  • Gracie Bookman
1996
No Score Yet South Beach
  • Mama
1993
No Score Yet Pucker up and Bark Like a Dog
  • Actor
1989
67% Love at First Bite
  • Judge
1979
No Score Yet The Photographer
  • Actor
1975
75% Lady Sings the Blues
  • First Madame
1972
No Score Yet The New Centurions
  • Wilma
1972
No Score Yet Up the Sandbox
  • Maria
1972
No Score Yet Buffalo Soldier
  • Isabel
1970
No Score Yet The Comic
  • Woman
1969
68% Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
  • Tillie
1967

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
1990-1996
  • Louise Jefferson
  • 1996
  • 1995
No Score Yet Roseanne
1988-1997
  • Actor
  • 1995

Quotes from Isabel Sanford's Characters

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